Cannabis Farms 1st Nov 2015

Landlords have been warned by police to be on the lookout for cannabis farms, as the incidence of these have spiked over recent months.

Between April and August 2015, in Lothian’s and Borders alone, 49 cannabis operations, worth tens of thousands of pounds, have been recovered.

Plants are often being grown in rented properties, and when they are seized, landlords can be left with a huge repair bill to put right damage caused by the necessary growing conditions. Insurance may not cover the damage, and there can be loss of rent while things are being fixed. The Key Place staff are extremely vigilant during inspections, and if there was ever cause for concern, the relevant authorities would be notified.

So what are the warning signs of cannabis cultivation? The following information is largely sourced from the Scottish Association of Landlords in conjunction with Police Scotland.

• Strong smell of cannabis coming from the property.
• Plant growing equipment – lighting and ventilation equipment.
• Blacked out windows – with bin bags or heavy fabric.
• Unsociable comings and goings. Tenant may not actually live there and so may also just come and go.
• Intense lighting for 18-24 hours per day. This poses a serious fire risk.
• High heat and therefore condensation levels (look for condensation on windows, peeling paint, mildew on walls or carpet).
• Lots of cables and electrical wiring that is not normally in the property. Holes cut into walls and ceilings for the wiring.
• High electricity bills or a sudden huge drop in electricity bills.
• Significant vegetable material being thrown away (plant stalks, roots, discarded cannabis plants).
• Bags of soil or fertilizer being stored inside, in the garden or outbuildings.
• Soaking floors. Internal walls removed. Both of which may cause collapse.

Measures you can take to ensure the security of your property include regular inspections (undertaken by The Key Place if we fully manage your property). Alarm bells should be ringing if tenants are prohibitive of inspections. Please also see the accompanying newsletter article on Keeping Your Property Safe at Night for additional advice.

If you suspect your tenants, or anyone else, is growing cannabis call Police Scotland on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 1110800 555 111 FREE, or in an emergency the Police on 999.

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