Avoiding The Risk of Drug Production in Rental Properties

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Drug taking tools (Smoke Pipes) Photo – Internet

Continuing from Part Two, we look at the last part of our comprehensive PM guide on detecting drug production in rental properties. Haven’t read Part One of the article? Click here.

What Do You Do If You Come Across Drug Production in a Rental Property?

The best thing is to ‘keep your cool’. If you are in the property at an inspection and stumble across illicit drug production you must remain calm and do not appear alarmed.

Your sole aim at this point is to leave the property safely, that’s it! Stay calm and if possible pretend that you did not see anything at all!

Do not suddenly and conspicuously leave the property. In some cases just causally finish your inspection (if possible) and leave the property calmly. Hop back into your car and drive off normally. Only when you are totally out of sight and a safe distance from the property should you consider your next move.

This would be to inform your office manager/principal and then the police, followed by the landlord. You should never allow the tenant to see you making a hurried and nervous phone call on your mobile phone!

When reporting the matter to the police they will assess the situation from your information and knowledge that they may already have before deciding when it is best to take action. They may choose to leave it for a period of time so that it is not obvious that you reported the matter, considering your safety and well-being. In any case, allow the police to handle the matter and leave it with them.

Finally, if the landlord has landlord insurance, be sure to inform the insurer concerned as there may be the possibility of a future claim for damage caused by the drug production once the tenants have been removed. The landlord insurer will also advise if the property is covered for such an event and to what extent it is covered.

Drug taking tools (Bongs) Thanks to Sgt Kym Foster of SA Police for the photo

Avoiding ‘Drug’ Tenants – the 100 Point Identification Check

We must do all we can to keep this type of tenant with misguided and devious intentions away from your rental properties.

We have provided you with information to recognise the possible signs of drug production in your rental property. But how do we stop them from entering our property in the first place?

One thing that we know is that tenants who are serious about drug production will usually want to rent a property in a false name using false identification. Avoiding this type of tenant starts at the application stage and the way that we process our tenancy applications. Prevention is better than cure, so we recommend in all cases that your application form be rigid in identification requirements and detail. Let’s not make it easy for people to use false identification to apply for a property.

Asking and insisting on a 100 Point identification schedule is a sure way to make a tenant who wants to give you false identification nervous!

Placing stringent requirements will most probably result in the applicant going elsewhere to rent. They will likely go to an agent who does not ask for stringent identification or a private landlord that just goes on ‘face value’ but at least they will not want to rent with you!

Final Comments

Do all you can to keep the wolves out of your sheep paddock! Once they are in they can do a lot of damage so a lot of our focus and time should go into good tenant selection. Of course, we may still have a bad tenant ‘get through the net’ so we must also ensure regular inspections are conducted at the property and inform the tenant of regular inspections and what we look for when we conduct the initial tenant induction and sign up.

In an age where most illicit drugs are now produced in rental properties in Australia, we are the frontline to stop this from happening. Do all you can to keep drug production out of your rental properties.

All the best!

Growing marijuana under stairs (Photo – Internet)

Wall damage from drug concealment (Photo – Property Manager)

Information Credit

Credit for this Guide – I would like to thank and give credit to Detective Ed Breda from the Chemical Diversion Desk and Sergeant Kym Foster from the SA Police Drug Action Team for their seminar information for the Residential Property Management Industry in South Australia.

Also, the booklet produced by the Victorian Police- ‘Keeping Drugs out of Rental Properties’ for information and tips used to help in the writing of this article. Finally thanks to Elders for part of the useful information in the guide ‘Keeping Illicit Drugs out of Rental Properties’

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