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Police urge landlords to appoint agents to vet dodgy tenants

Detectives are urging landlords to remain cautious following to discovery of a number of cannabis farms in rented properties.

In the past month alone officers in the Chester area have discovered two cannabis farms at rented homes which have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

As part of their work officers are urging landlords to be vigilant.

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Detective Sergeant Stuart Needham says: “While cannabis farms are often setup in industrial premises, in recent months we have also started to see an increase in the number of smaller scale farms in rented properties.

“In both of the two most recent cases we have seen, the landlords were offered lucrative contracts where they received six months’ rent upfront in cash.

“While it sounded like a great deal at the time, both landlords have since discovered their properties have been used as cannabis farms, leaving them with a bill for thousands of pounds.

“I would urge anyone who is renting out a property to ensure they conduct the relevant background check, including references and credit checks.

“If you’re not sure what you need to do, it may be worth appointing a letting agent. It’s also a good idea to conduct regular checks at the property to ensure that everything is in order.”

 

Signs of cannabis cultivation include:

- A strong and sickly sweet smell;

- Equipment to grow cannabis being taken into a house. For example, lighting and ventilation equipment;

- Constantly covered or blocked-off windows. Cannabis factories often have constantly closed curtains, black-out blinds or foil coverings;

- People coming and going at all hours or neighbours you never see;

- Strong and constant lighting day and night;

- High levels of heat and condensation. Cannabis factories often give off heat and the windows stay misted up;

- Constant buzz of ventilation. Listen out for a whirring sound as the growers try to create an ideal climate for the plants to grow;

- Lots of power cables. Gangs dig underground to lay cables that hook up to things like lamp posts so they don′t have to pay for the enormous amounts of electricity they use.

DS Needham adds: “I urge anyone who suspects a property is being used to cultivate cannabis to contact us on 101, or visit www.cheshire.police.uk/tua, and we will act on the information that we receive.”

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    Leave the '' dodgy'' tenants to councils and housing associations where the belong .

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    Why don't the police just tell us what they know or suspect and cut out the expensive middle man?

    A tenants' register showing previous landlord references -good or bad, defaults, criminal records etc. would help all decent law abiding tenants and only harm rogues. Hang on..... NOW I understand why Shelter, Generation Rant etc aren't pushing for this!

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    Having been a victim of this myself many years ago I am now better equipped to make sure this does not happen to me again. Credit checks etc are not effective measures against this crime, in fact when this happened to me a Chief Constable, also a Landlord, was a topic of an article in the Telegraph I believe. Like me he had all the references and checks but criminal gangs are expert at bypassing this and he too had a cannabis factory in his property.
    My advice, firstly ensure that your insurance covers this including loss of rent. I did and a bill of almost £35,000 to remedy the damage to my house and loss of rent fell to the insurance company. Secondly, whether you self manage or have agents, visit the property in the early stages to ensure all adds up. I normally do this but this property is a significant distance from me and each time I popped in nobody was at home and when I tried to arrange a visit they were always away. I am now more persistent, though not to the point of over stepping boundaries. Check information given to you. Write a letter to any addresses, you can forge an email account harder to change an address. Recently I have had an issue, wrote to the address given as a reference, they phoned me back to say that they knew nothing about renting a property and were very concerned at the contents of my letter. The Police have been informed and I would be very interested if anyone has had dealings with Round Trading Ltd based in Covent Garden. Lastly if something is unusual then put your guard up, 6 months rent up front is unusual and I would be suspicious.
    The Police are under funded and I am not sure that they will take this crime as a high priority so its down to us to be vigilant.

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    I also had a cannabis factory , mine was in a shop, notice in window saying closed for renovations, windows dripping with condensation, luckily no damage and they hadn't bypassed the meter, police took the plants away, other than that not interested.

     
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    My experience is that nobody in authority wants to know about landlords. Frankly they see landlords as a usefull sewer for their rubbish Not only that people like Shelter are cashing in on peoples misery, paying themselves large amounts of money often exarcebating the problem.

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    Always do the due diligence when renting your properties. Also, not to rely on agents to pick your tenants as they just care about the money and when these rogue tenants will destroy your property and indulge in criminal activities, the agents wont care.

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    I pick my agents with care and over the last 20years they have found me some great tenants. Don't tar them all with the same brush.

     
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    I agree with Tricia, I picked my agent very carefully, small and local, and they haven't given me a bad tenant yet. Avoid those big national agents, they're the one's that don't care

     
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    I'm glad that you both have had good agents and I have no doubt that there are good ones out there. In my experience they are very hard to find, though in fairness I have seen improvement over the years. First let a property in 1991.

     
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    Regulation’s keep LL out at all costs, don’t let he see what going on, then fine LL for not being in control.

  • Ferey Lavassani

    First the government put the burden of immigration control upon us by introducing the "Right to Rent" due to failure of Border Control Authorities. Now we are being asked to act as "Drug Squads". What next?

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    How many LL have done this right to rent checks, it’s an nightmare doing settlement checks on Government website and another layer of unpaid bureaucracy, they’ll have Passport / ID card and Home Office settlement letter, However when you check it out some of the codes don’t work, again making it more unpaid work problems for us.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    It would be a big help if Police actually prosecuted tenants for wanton criminal damage reported to them by landlords.

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