Landlords are being urged to vet tenants carefully and watch out for the tell-tale signs that a property is being used as a cannabis farm.
Apart from the old factories and derelict hospitals these cannabis farms have been found in, they are also popping up in residential rental properties.
London-based rubbish removal firm Jack Hunters recently cleared out three houses that were converted into cannabis farms. Each time, the landlord was unaware. Such was the case with their most recent client, a landlord with a six-bedroom house in Stanmore, north London.
This property owner rented out his house to two tenants from Hong Kong. Everything was done through an letting agent, and there were no problems at the beginning. The landlord was satisfied with the tenants because they paid rent on time and didn’t cause any trouble – or so he thought.
After six months, the house was busted as an illegal cannabis farm. The landlord received a call from the metropolitan police, informing him of the situation.
The police confiscated and destroyed all the cannabis, then turned the house back over to its property owner. It was in a total state of disrepair. The landlord called the house clearance group to start the long cleaning and repair process.
Cannabis farms are spread across every single borough of the city, with more concentrated in south London.
By the latest numbers, Croydon had the most illegal cannabis farms, with 30 being found.
With thousands of cannabis farms across the UK, landlords must be cautious.
Harsha Rathnayake is the founder of Junk Hunters.