Thursday, June 01, 2017

Drug dens… private Landlords targeted

Recent news headlines from Perth have stated that drug dealers are strategically targeting private Landlords. 

Over the last nine months, police in Perth have uncovered up to 50 illegal cannabis crops in rental properties. Damage to some properties has been as high as $70,000, due to the severe damages caused by the set up and growing of illegal drug crops (The Real Estate Conversation, May 2017). 

The WA Consumer Protection Acting Commissioner, David Hillyard, recently warned investors, that cannabis growers are deliberately targeting Landlords who advertise their property privately through sites such as Gumtree, rather than those who manage their property through real estate agents - particularly as these properties have a strict regime of inspections. 

A few years ago, in Norwood, our team discovered a hydroponic set up in the roof space of an investment property. The set up was quite incredible - rows and rows of 'crates' spanning over 200 square metres, completely hidden from the naked eye. It was the unusual damage to the ceiling, observed at a routine property inspection, which triggered alarm bells for our Property Manager.

The matter was escalated, and as a team we effectively project managed the situation from beginning to end. This included liaising with the insurance company, providing all inspection paperwork, an accurate timeline of events, and working with tradespeople to restore the property to its original condition. 

From the insurers point of view, the level of due diligence throughout the management was crucial. We were required to disclose our internal file (including tenancy documentation) before the insurer approved and paid out the insurance claim.

With over 30 years in the property management industry, our experience is that the vast majority of tenants do not engage in such illegal practices. However despite the small proportion of wrongdoers, a lot of Property Managers across Australia would no doubt have similar stories. What is most disturbing though, is that this activity appears to be on the rise. 

Off the back of these police findings, it's clear that drug dealers are highly organised. By seeking out private Landlords, they know it is unlikely they will be exposed to the same background checks, or inspections seen in a diligent property management agency. 

We strongly believe that as Property Managers, we are here to help and support our clients when the unexpected arises. First, to minimise the risk from the outset (strict screening processes and inspection regimes) and second, having someone on-hand, ready to step in and take control of the situation, should it be required. 

Property management is no longer just 
about collecting the rent. Protecting your 
asset is crucial. 




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