Landlords in Markham, Ontario will be charged a $1,000 administrative fee along with other costs of restoration if grow operations are found in their rental properties, according to a local news report.
The York Regional Police Superintendent said a similar strategy — of holding property owners accountable for tenant crime — worked in the past to curb illegal massage parlours.
The administrative fee is slated to go directly to the Regional Police to offset that agency’s costs, according to the report. If a property owner doesn’t pay, the fee will be added to property taxes.
However, some lawmakers questioned whether landlords can easily detect clandestine drug operations, especially where tell-tale utility bills go directly to tenants, according to the report. The Superintendent says that some criminals are sophisticated, and adapt to police practices.
The RCMP provides tips on what to look for when inspecting rental properties. For instance, RCMP suggests that landlords contact neighbouring property owners and leave their phone numbers in case anyone sees something suspicious going on in the rental.
RMCP also suggests screening prospective tenants, checking records and references, as well as looking into an applicant’s criminal background.
Obvious signs of drug activities include blacked-out windows, unusual humidity like condensation on windows or a lack of snow on the roof in winter, or signs of tampering with hydro meters, piping or electrical wires.
Often, grow operators hide their trash, or have unusual items like pots or bottles, PVC piping or fertilizer bags in the trash.
Humming sounds emanating from inside may indicate electrical equipment used by grow ops.
Some clever tenants will camouflage the activity by placing children’s toys outside although no children live at the property, or place ‘beware of dog’ signs around to scare away onlookers.
Tenants may never be around, but the lights or a TV runs 24/7.
If you suspect drug activity in your rental property, seek advice from local law enforcement.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.