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Written by Emma Lunn

The trend for cannabis farms being set up in private rented accommodation is on the up, according to a firm of surveyors.

National surveying firm e.surv claimed it’s typically coming across one case a month where equipment for growing cannabis has been discovered in a property.

E.surv business development director Richard Sexton said: "As the buy-to-let market continues to recover landlords are increasingly keen to remortgage their properties so that they can expand their portfolios.

"This often means that the tenants are not aware a surveyor will be turning up at their home and are caught unawares."

Sexton said the company’s policy on discovering cannabis growing in a property was to inform the lender and notify the police.

Another surveyor, Ian Fergusson, managing partner at Shepherd Chartered Surveyors, said there are times when surveyors are denied access to areas of a property which could harbour drug equipment.

He said: "We are not always given access to lofts which is where a lot of the plants can be kept so there may be instances which we don't know about."

Landlords concerned about drug farms in their property should be wary of tenants who offer six months’ rent up front – it could be a sign the tenant wants to be left alone to engage in illegal activity.

Other tips from the National Landlord Association (NLA) include obtaining full references for tenants and carrying out quarterly inspections.

Landlords should look out for a strong smell of air fresheners to disguise the smell of drug production, a sudden jump or fall in electricity bills, high humidity in the property and evidence of possible rewiring.


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