Surveying firm e.surv claims surprise visits by surveyors to value buy-to-let homes are uncovering secret cannabis factories.
As reported on Landlord Today, the firm reckons surveyors are coming across at least one factory a month – and the trend is increasing.
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."
Cheshire Police have commented that one of Cheshire’s biggest crime problems in recent years has been the production of cannabis. The number of cannabis farms being uncovered has leapt sharply across the UK, and in Cheshire alone it has seen a 373 per cent year-on-year increase.
A lot of this is due to the increasing trend by organised crime groups to split up their operations and have them running across a wide range of smaller properties, rather than one big industrial complex. By doing this it means that they aren’t putting “all their eggs in one basket” and if one production site is discovered, the others can go on working.
The Constabulary offers useful advice on what to look for within your neighbourhood so you’re able to spot the signs of a potential cannabis farm.
Spot the tell-tale signs...
The following list outlines the tell-tale signs that a cannabis farm is being run in your buy to let property:
- If your property is being used as a farm you may find that no-one answers the door when you visit and that the locks have been changed without you knowing
- Be aware of people who ask how often you will visit the property when renting one of your homes
- Areas with a mixture of residential and light industrial buildings are commonly used, but cannabis farms have also been found in rural locations
- Be suspicious if only offered cash and make regular checks of the property once leased
If your property is found to be have been used as a cannabis farm, you can expect to find large scale electrical problems, entire rooms filled with compost, damp conditions and fire damage.
You can visit the Cheshire Police website to find out more.
If you discover a cannabis farm in your property, the costs to make properties habitable again are considerable.
Therefore it’s vital to make sure you carry out thorough checks on everyone who applies to move into your property.