It’s something that all landlords dread: letting a property out to tenants who then partake in illegal activity.
The problem is that many landlords don’t even know that the tenants are involved in such things before it is too late, which means that the property could be damaged and you may even have to get involved with a court case.
Furthermore, more often than not, landlords are upstanding members of society, so they don’t even understand what types of illegal activity their tenants are involved in!
Here we look at some of the most common types of illegal activity for landlords to watch out for and what you can do about it:
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, who will go to the property and warn your tenants 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 include being overly loud or rude to those living in the same street, it also means leaving vast amounts of rubbish outside the property and generally not having any respect for surroundings.
Dealing with anti-social behaviour is an important part of being a landlord, as firstly, if your tenants aren’t treating your properties well you could end up having to pay for damages, and secondly you don’t want to get a reputation as a landlord that doesn’t care about the community their properties are based in.
Unfortunately, due to the current housing crisis, sub-letting is on the rise, meaning that more and more landlords are finding that someone else is living in their properties than who they think.
Some scammers rent a property from a landlord and then sub-let it for a more expensive price and save the money for themselves. Not only is this illegal, but it also means that your landlord insurance policy could become invalid, so if there are any damages you may have to end up paying for them.
Additionally, those that sub-let generally don’t care about the upkeep of the property, as they are only after money, so the person who unwittingly sub-lets could find themselves living in a property that is sub-standard or even dangerous.
The best way to prevent sub-letting is to make sure that you meet as many tenants who live in your properties as possible so that you know who should be living where.
Also, if you are ever suspicious, then follow your gut, arrange for an inspection or try and look out for signs that everything may not be as it seems.
Even though the likelihood of finding a drug farm in one of your properties is less than the previous two illegal activities, the damage it can cause to your property and the amount of problems they can cause for you means you really need to keep an eye out for them.
Generally, those that rent out private accommodation and plan to use a room for drug-growing purposes don’t plan on actually living in the house, so they are not likely to care about the state of the property.
Furthermore, drug farms, especially those used for growing cannabis, usually include things like lights and irrigation systems, which the tenant will illegally install in your properties.
There have been numerous news articles about landlords finding that tenants have ripped down wiring or pipes in order to set up drug farms, meaning that the cost of damages could be in the thousands. For this, ensure that your landlord insurance policy covers unauthorised alteration.
Additionally, if the police raid the property, they will break doors and other furnishings, meaning that the costs will rise and you will probably have to wait until they have finished their investigation before you start organising repairs.
If you are concerned that your tenants have a drug farm in your property, then try and arrange an inspection or talk to the local residents to see if they have noticed any suspicious behaviour. Don’t forget 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 one of the biggest fears 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 stuck with what to do, then don’t forget to contact your local police who will be more than happy to give you advice or step in and fix the problem themselves.