Why landlords shouldn’t allow illegal activity in their rental properties

It’s something that all landlords dread: letting a property out to tenants who then partake in illegal activity.

Many landlords don’t even know that the tenants are involved in illegal activity before it’s too late. This means that the property could be damaged and you may even have to get involved with a court case.

We’ve listed certain types of illegal activity for landlords to watch out for and what you can do about it:

Anti-social behaviour

This is probably the most common type of illegal activity that your tenants will be accused of. However, as a landlord, you need to know the difference between your tenants being a nuisance and anti-social.

Often, if your tenant is causing problems for local residents you will find out from the police. Your tenants will be warned that if they don’t stop then they will be issued an official Anti-Social Behaviour Order.

Don’t forget anti-social behaviour doesn’t just mean being overly loud or rude to those living in the same street. It can include leaving vast amounts of rubbish outside the property and generally not respecting their surroundings.

Dealing with anti-social behaviour is an important part of being a landlord. Firstly, if your tenants aren’t treating your properties well you could end up having to pay for damages. Secondly, it could affect your reputation as a landlord in the local community.

illegal activity
Don’t allow illegal activity in your rental properties

Sub-letting

Some scammers rent a property from a landlord and then sub-let it for a more expensive price, saving the money for themselves. Not only is sub-letting without your agreement illegal, but it also means that your landlord insurance policy could become invalid.

The best way to prevent sub-letting is to make sure that you meet any new tenants before they move in so that you know exactly who is living there according to the tenancy agreement.

Also, if you are ever suspicious, then follow your gut. Make sure to undertake periodic inspections to check that everything is as it should be. By arranging these inspections in advance and making sure new tenants are aware of them at the beginning of the tenancy, this can work as a deterrent.

Drug farms

Even though it’s less like you’ll find a drug farm in one of your properties than the previous two illegal activities, you should still be aware of the signs.

Generally, those using rented accommodation for drug-growing purposes don’t plan on actually living in the house. This tends to mean that they have little care for the state of the property.

Drug farms – especially those used for cannabis – usually include modifications like lights and irrigation systems, which the tenant will illegally install in your properties.

There have been numerous news articles about damage from drug farms costing landlords thousands. Additionally, if the police raid the property, they will break doors and other furnishings. Make sure that the cover you have will protect you against such situations.

If you are concerned that your tenants have a drug farm in your property, then try and arrange an inspection. Talking to local residents to see if they have noticed any suspicious behaviour is also a good idea. You can also contact the local police anonymously if you are concerned about approaching the tenants yourself.

Finding out your tenants are partaking in illegal activity is a big fear for landlords, but don’t forget that you have every right to protect your property and those that live near it.

If you are ever unsure of what to do, contact your local police. They will be able to give you advice or step in and fix the problem themselves.

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