The National Landlords Association says that criminal gangs are using let property to carry on a range of criminal activities ranging from cannabis farms to brothels. The gangs try to find properties to rent in quiet areas where they hope no one will notice what is going on. This can cause enormous problems for the landlord. If the criminals cause damage the property insurance might not cover the bill and there will usually be a long delay before the property is in a state to be let out again.
This story emphasises the importance of knowing who you are dealing with when letting out a property. References are essential and it is important to make sure the property is being inspected regularly.
One landlord found that he had to pay £20,000 to repair his property after it had been used as a cannabis farm. This could be a cautionary tale for people thinking about becoming “buy to let” landlords. Being a property owner can have its rewards, but only if you exercise caution in every aspect of your business venture.
It is important to gain references for your tenants and to regularly carry out internal checks on your property. It is reported quite often that tenants request longer periods between inspections, usually 6 months coming up with random reasons for this request. It is this period of know freedom when properties can be ripped apart and cannabis 'factories' installed. Criminals can make thousands of pounds a month with 6 months being quite long enough to cover all their costs and make huge profits from your property - then leaving you with a large repair bill.
Not all landlord insurance covers illegal activity which is why it is so important to check your property regularly. Let property insurance is designed to cover unforseen accidents such as fire, explosions and flood and is not a replacement for remaining prudent about your property.