Could you tell the difference between cannabis and tomatoes?
One Scottish letting agent was caught out recently when she found a tenant growing what she thought was cannabis in the bedroom of a rented property in West Lothian. In fact, the letting agent was left red-faced when the plants turned out to be tomatoes! However, the agent was right to be vigilant and right to report her suspicions when she got back to the office. Cannabis farms are on the increase and growers often choose rented properties to grow their plants. The bad news for landlords is that the law holds you responsible if you allow your rented property to be used for the production, cultivation, possession or supply of cannabis. Weed is a Class B drug and the penalties under section 8 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971 are severe. You could end up with a criminal record or a hefty fine. So what are the warning signs to look out for? Here are a few pointers:
If you or your property agent does become suspicious, call the police immediately. Don’t tackle any of the occupants yourself as they could respond violently. The moral of this story is that not only should landlords and property agents be vigilant and be aware of the tell-tale signs of illegal activity in rented properties – but they also need a rudimentary knowledge of horticulture!
Mary-Anne Bowring FIRPM FRICS FARLA FCABE Founder/Head of Asset Management
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Ian Barber MD BTR Mobilisation & Leasing
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Jon Curtis MRICS Head of Building Engineering
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Anthony Kingdon MIRPM AssocRICS MD Blocks/FM Management (North Region)
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