Would You Know if You Owned a Drug House?

by Chris on August 22, 2011

In recent years, the number of marijuana grow-ops has increased dramatically. 

Police agencies across North American have noted that the most likely location for these illegal operations is in residential rental properties. 

Police also find that in most cases landlords are unaware their tenants are criminals, and are devasted when they discover thousands of dollars in damage to their property caused by the operations.

And even though a landlord may not know what the tenant is up to, turning a blind eye still can give rise to fines and other penalties. 

By simply screening prospective tenants and conducting regular inspections of the rental property, landlords can virtually eliminate the likelihood of  owning a drug house and the loss of income that goes with it.

It is important to note that if at any time you suspect a grow-operation in your property, don’t confront your tenant. Instead, call the police.

In addition to tenant screening and regular inspections, it is wise to strike up some rapport with the neighbours.  Make sure they have your phone number in the event they see something suspicious.  Let the tenants know you–and the neighbours, will be keeping an eye on the place.

Offer to come by and pick up the rent–it’s a good excuse to check up on the tenant.  Make sure the tenant you rented to is the one you see at the property. 

Police recommend having some contact with the property every four or five weeks.  Many signs of illegal activity can be seen from the outside.  In addition, schedule regular inspections.  Be sure to give notice to the tenant before you come by,  as required by law.  If you are not able to get by the property easily, consider hiring a property manager. 

Here are some signs of a drug operation:

Windows that are always dark, boarded up or blacked out.
Condensation on darkened or blacked-out windows.
“Skunk” smell in the air, often at the same time each day/night.
Humming noise or motorized fan-like noises.
Discarded potting soil, small plastic “bedding” plant type pots, 1 gallon plastic pots.
Lack of garbage put out to the curbside.
Bright high intensity bulbs– used by growers to accelerate the plant growth.

Also, frequent visitors who stay only a short time can be a bad sign.

Don’t hesitate to contact the police if you fear the tenant is up to no good. 

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to ReceiveLandlord Credit Reports.

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.

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