Landlords can see their insurance claims go up in smoke if they don’t grass up criminal gangs running cannabis factories in letting property, says insurance giant Aviva.
As cannabis farming reaches a new high, according to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Aviva is warning property investors and their agents that more vigilance is needed to weed out offenders.
ACPO says last year police detected more than 6800 cannabis farms– a huge increase from 3,000 the year before.
About 1.3 million cannabis plants were seized from the drug farms that had an estimated street value of £150 million in the two-year survey period.
Aviva says cannabis farming is putting landlords at an increased risk of costly repairs because of the damage caused when cannabis is grown in a property.
Typically, cannabis needs a hothouse environment with a good water supply.
Growers reroute electric supplies in a home, often bypassing meters. Weight from plant containers stresses floors and joists while condensation and overflowing water can cause damp.
Matthew Gordon, underwriting manager at Aviva, said: “As with most insurance policies, the duty of care element means landlords must protect their investment and minimise their losses. It is important to be aware of the warning signs and make sure all ‘reasonable precautions’ are taken.
“Employing a managing or letting agent can be money well spent. They will manage the tenant vetting process and carry out the inspection service on behalf of the landlord.
“Cannabis farming brings many increased risks and insurers could refuse a damage or fire claim, for example, if the landlord has neglected his responsibilities and not thoroughly vetted the tenant.”
Cannabis factory giveaways are:
- Condensation on the inside of windows even in hot weather
- Sealed letterboxes, windows and doors
- External walls are often warm to the touch due to high temperatures required to farm cannabis
- Curtains drawn all day and night to stop heat and light escaping
- A distinctive smell the comes from the plants
- Tampering with electrical supplies and meters
Anyone with suspicions about homes used for farming drugs should contact their local police.