In 2012, the BBC reported that an estimated 21 cannabis farms were being found by the police every day.
Just this July, police reported a raid on a farm in Scotland with over £235k worth of illegal product.
The number of domestic properties being pinpointed for cannabis cultivation is growing.
What can happen to your property?
According to recent reports, over 94% of cannabis farms have been located in domestic premises. Landlords whose properties have been used as a farm can expect these typical types of damage:
- Ceilings and walls knocked through and floorboards ripped out
- Severe water damage
- Fire and explosion
- Wiring ripped out or left in a dangerous condition
- Ducts and fans installed throughout the premises
- Extensive quantities of soil left in the property
- Electricity meters bypassed
Many of the above would not be covered by a standard ‘Buy to Let’ insurance policy, so it’s very important that landlords read the fine print of the policy before purchasing insurance.
What can landlords do to reduce exposure to criminal activity?
Here is our checking system offering tips to ensure that landlords are doing everything possible to protect their property:
Firstly, landlords should thoroughly vet each tenant who applies to live at the property. It’s not enough to just meet with them or speak with them on the phone. Landlords should invest in a thorough checking facility. These are available to purchase online at a typical cost of just £30.
Landlords should be vigilant when selecting tenants, by using robust referencing procedures and checking that references are real and accurate.
In addition to the reference checks, the landlord should be undertaking periodic inspections of the property – both externally (to check that the premises remain watertight and in a good state of repair), but also internally, to ensure that the premises are not being misused. If the landlord cannot carry out these basic checks themselves, they should ensure that the Managing Agent undertakes these inspections as part of their duties
Have you got the right cover?
Coverage on our Residential Property Owners policy provides up to £10,000 of cover for costs and expenses, as well as providing cover for unauthorised use of utilities for up to £5,000 (a maximum of £25,000 in any one period of insurance). Such cover can help with funds lost through illegal activity, and also lessen the impact of activities such as the bypassing of electricity meters.
Cannabis farms are cropping up everywhere. Make sure that you the landlords have the right cover to protect against criminal activity.