Direct Line Business Insurance has outlined seven tell-tale signs of cannabis cultivation, which it says is an increasing problem for landlords across the UK.
Last week the company gave details of its analysis showing there were 1,427 suspected cases of illegal drug manufacture or cultivation in 2019 and 2020 in the UK.
Nearly half of investigations into the theft of utilities, where people have tampered with a gas or electricity meter so it doesn’t record the energy usage properly, are suspected to relate to the cultivation or manufacture of illegal drugs.
And there was a 36 per cent increase in suspected cases from 2019 to 2020 - an escalation while lockdown restrictions were in place and the chances of being caught, through being spotted by visitors or passers-by, would have been reduced.
The insurer also says the average insurance claim for repairing a landlord’s property damaged by cannabis cultivation stood at £9,471 in 2020.
Now it is warning landlords that they should monitor their properties for signs of cannabis cultivation by looking out for the following:
- Windows and vents sealed or blocked off to prevent heat or the smell of cannabis escaping;
- Tampering with the electricity meter or wiring;
- Mould, condensation and excess humidity in a property;
- The tenant wishes to pay cash upfront for the lease and is keen to discourage any inspections of the property;
- Fortification of the building, such as an increased number of locks or window bars installed;
- Noise and light pollution from ventilation fans and lamps;
- Fertiliser and an excess of gardening equipment for the size of the property’s garden.
Overall, one in nine landlords who submitted an insurance claim to Direct Line for malicious damage to their properties last year did so due to the tenant using the property for the illegal cultivation of cannabis.
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