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Paulo123
20-09-2011, 16:48 PM
Hi there,

I have recently discovered that our tenants are growing cannabis in the conservatory of a ground floor flat. Nothing serious but there are three very large plants growing away.

It doesn't bother me as it seems to be for personal consumption but someone told me that as the landlord I have some responsibilities that I should check out as I may be liable.

I need to get rid of them anyway as they are terrible rent payers but I am more concerned with this at present. I will be issuing a section 8 notice soon so its only really the drugs that I need advice on.

Does anyone have any idea what my position is?

Many thanks

Paul

sparkie
20-09-2011, 17:26 PM
Interesting, would have thought you might need to report to the local council or police?

theartfullodger
20-09-2011, 17:32 PM
I'd report to local Police without hesitation. (You are sure they ain't tomato plants...)??).

Interesting, not sure what one should do from an Insurance point of view (anyone else??). It seems daft to suggest it but would a letter to T be sensible advising them of tenancy contract's prohibition on doing illegal things on premises>?? (Usually a standard clause..).

Yes, S21 & S8 immediately. There is a discretionary ground for doing things outwith the contract, G14 I think, but unlikely to get you possession

You have someone else you can tell if you don;t want to go to Police: Crimestoppers, confidential, don'[t have to give a name, you can always go by a PAYG SIM if paranoid.
http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/

freefone 0800 555 111

'cors, large Policeman kicking down door (unlikely for 3 dope plants..) is not to be welcomed...

Snorkerz
20-09-2011, 17:42 PM
Are they behind on rent at all?

I would suggest a section 8 under grounds 10, 11, 12 & 14. Because you're including g14 (naughty stuff!) you don't need to give any notice - serve it one day, start the court process the next.

Are tenants on housing benefit?

sparkie
21-09-2011, 04:30 AM
One other thought, is they could be growing for 'medicinal purposes'? - maybe your T has a doctors prescription or something of the like? -- I mean its a long shot but you never know. Maybe ask/enquire with T?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_cannabis

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/emotional_health/addictions/cannabis.shtml

Three plants does sound like a lot of ganga for medicinal treatment though LOL :D:

Paulo123
26-09-2011, 15:10 PM
Are they behind on rent at all?

I would suggest a section 8 under grounds 10, 11, 12 & 14. Because you're including g14 (naughty stuff!) you don't need to give any notice - serve it one day, start the court process the next.

Are tenants on housing benefit?


Hi there,

Yes the Tenants are on housing benefit. They've never actually paid a penny unfortunately.

The monthly amount is £530.00 but the housing benefit only covers £415.00 so there is a £115.00 per month shortfall that they need to be paying on the 31st of every month. So far they owe three month's but in 4 days it will be four months. They also have refused to confirm whether they are covering the bills at the property.

To make matters more interesting, I live in the flat above them and they keep sneaking in and out as well which is obviously concerning.

The guy has his kids to stay quite regularly and I feel really bad about starting eviction proceedings but I can't afford to be out of pocket as we hope to convert the property back into a house in the future and at the moment we are way off.

Oh well.

Cheers

theartfullodger
26-09-2011, 15:19 PM
Sneeking in & out of where, their own home?

sparkie
26-09-2011, 15:44 PM
Sneeking in & out of where, their own home?

..with bags of weed :(nod):

Cheech
26-09-2011, 17:52 PM
Hi, I didn't want to post this on the forum as I'd probably get lots of silly comments.

I don't have any legal advise so you may think I'm wasting your time but I do have information topical to your situation with your tenants.

May I say that I admire your considerate, open minded approach to this.

About the cannabis - I too am liberally minded regarding personal consumption & consider personal prohibition an insanity.

However, medical cannabis does not exist in the UK & there although sentences are often more lenient for those who can prove a medicinal need (MS, glaucoma, muscular dystrophy etc), there is no legal defence as such.

And I think you need a little insight into the indoor cultivation of cannabis...

It is not possible to grow a large, smokeable cannabis plant in a conservatory in England. As it is unlikely that your tenant is growing the plants for their aesthetic value there are only two realistic e explanations for their existence in the conservatory.

The first is that your tenant has no clue how to grow cannabis, decided to try & grow some plants in his conservatory & has ended up with 3 useless giants. Unlikely.

Far more likely is the fact that in one of the rooms there are more plants being grown under HID lights. Unless they're really professional (which they're not if they've got dope plants in the conservatory!) you should be able to see the signs - these lights generate a lot of heat & the plants generate a lot of moisture, so dampness, heat, leaking light & of course the smell are giveaways. As I say it's possible to eliminate these but the equipment is expensive & the grower needs to be proficient for it all to work properly.

I would guess that your tenant has an amateurish set up in the bedroom that's not making him anything like the amount of money he expected & he's now in a financial hole, especially as he's probably been smoking most of it himself.

I'd say he's sneaking around because he owes you rent, knows he's growing dope, knows you want him out, but he's probably waiting for his plants to be ready before he either a, pays you, or b, does a runner!

Involving the police would be a bad idea. If they find dope plants in there they'll take them away & destroy them. Then your tenant will probably receive a slap on the wrist from your local magistrate, or in an extreme case these days, he may receive some prison time. Something that would obviously be highly detrimental to his family & disproportionate to his debt to society. Unfortunately his debt to you would remain forever in this case!

Another side effect being that once you local CID have identified your property as having had dope grown in it, they'll be pestering all your future tenants (regardless of the circumstances surrounding the initial discovery).

No, far better to take steps to ensure everybody's needs are addressed & everybody parts happy.

Tell your tenant that you know he's growing weed in the flat. You an afford to call his bluff here because you do already know about the ones in the conservatory. There is no need to be fearful - he's not a gangster, he just sounds like a stoner! And he'll be more fearful than you because he knows he's a sneaky chap.

You should reassure him that you are not inclined to involve the authorities, as you have no objection to cannabis consumption & no desire to see him or his family suffer needlessly. You should however remind him that it is very rude & inconsiderate to use somebody else's property for business purposes. Obviously you can understand why he didn't tell you, as his particular business purposes are illegal. But as you now know, it's ok, you can both talk about it.

Once he has levelled with you & showed you how many plants he has, you can come to an agreement. It goes without saying that nothing should be written down & if anybody ever asks you, you should deny all knowledge.

Only agree to let him stay until the current crop is ready. If he's a good grower, which he's probably not, you could bank on anything upto £1000 per plant but in reality he'll probably get nearer £500.

At this point you do have him by the testicles so you can afford to ask for whatever you like. But I get the impression you'll only ask for the money you're owed. That's your prerogative.

Have him agree that you can use your key to go in the flat if he's not there - so you can keep your eye on your money.

Trust me, he'll be as relieved as you are top get this all straightened out & to be able to finish his crop without worry of eviction, prosecution & having to sneak round.

The thing is, if he's only been there a few months he's probably waiting now for his main crop, so your timing is perfect because if he has to bail out now, he'll lose everything (& so will you)!

And you never know, you might strike up a beautiful friendship & get your house finished out of this!

If you're feeling nervous, take your toughest looking mate with you to see him, although I do think you'll be best of on your own, because then you can keep it all secret between yourselves.

Good luck pal!

By way of a personal disclaimer I stress that the information I have given is not from personal experience, rather it is from the well documented experience of others.

jta
26-09-2011, 18:31 PM
So you are expecting the OP to commit a crime himself in order to get his rent.

I'm sorry but that does not count as good advice in my opinion.

I know people suffering from mental illness' that started off because they used this 'innocuous weed'.

grouse
26-09-2011, 18:45 PM
Only agree to let him stay until the current crop is ready. If he's a good grower, which he's probably not, you could bank on anything upto £1000 per plant but in reality he'll probably get nearer £500.

At this point you do have him by the testicles so you can afford to ask for whatever you like. But I get the impression you'll only ask for the money you're owed. That's your prerogative.

Have him agree that you can use your key to go in the flat if he's not there - so you can keep your eye on your money.

Trust me, he'll be as relieved as you are top get this all straightened out & to be able to finish his crop without worry of eviction, prosecution & having to sneak round.





Priceless:D:

tyneview
26-09-2011, 19:46 PM
You as a landlord can not be held responsible for the tenants wrong doing. However if you are using a management company who carry out regular inspections on regular intervilles they can be held responsible

midlandslandlord
27-09-2011, 15:40 PM
You as a landlord can not be held responsible for the tenants wrong doing.

Yes you can, as someone involved in the "management" of a property, if you are shown to be aware of it and do nothing.

"Section 8 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
A person commits an offence if, being the occupier or concerned in the
management of any premises, he knowingly permits or suffers any of the
following activities to take place on those premises that is to say
(a) producing or attempting to produce a controlled drug
(b) supplying or attempting to supply a controlled drug to another…or offering
to supply a controlled drug to another;
(c) preparing opium for smoking
(d) smoking cannabis, cannabis resin or prepared opium."

Commentary from http://drugsandhousing.co.uk/

Ref: http://www.drugsandhousing.co.uk/Tenants%20and%20Drugs%20-%20Guidance%20for%20Landlords%202006.pdf

"For a landlord to be committing an offence under Section 8 they must both know that a prohibited activity was taking place and permitted or suffered it by failing to take reasonable and available steps to stop it."

Presumably the Proceeds of Crime Act comes in as well (you can lose the rent - already been used in many prosecutions), as may Building Closure Orders (you can't rent it out for a period) and loss of Fit and Proper Person status (you lose your Landlord Licences).

I'm not aware of any prosecutions, but it's another elephant trap waiting to be found by the Mad Landlord Bashers.

;-)

ML

sparkie
27-09-2011, 15:52 PM
Hi, I didn't want to post this on the forum as I'd probably get lots of silly comments.

etc etc...

Thank you for an entertaining read. And that's about it.

One word comes to mind.

complicit |kəmˈplisit|
noun

involved with others in an illegal activity or wrongdoing : all of these people are complicit in some criminal conspiracy.

ORIGIN 1940s: back-formation from complicity .

westminster
28-09-2011, 13:57 PM
Yes the Tenants are on housing benefit. They've never actually paid a penny unfortunately.

The monthly amount is £530.00 but the housing benefit only covers £415.00 so there is a £115.00 per month shortfall that they need to be paying on the 31st of every month. So far they owe three month's but in 4 days it will be four months. They also have refused to confirm whether they are covering the bills at the property.

They've never paid any rent? Or just not the £115 top up? (if the former, have you applied for the benefit to be paid direct to you)?

If rent is payable monthly in advance, and there is at least two months owing and unpaid (i.e. if £530 is due and unpaid on 1st Jan, and again on 1st Feb, then on 2nd Feb there will be two months owing and unpaid), then you can serve a s.8 notice citing the mandatory ground 8 (as well as 10 & 11, and maybe 14, see http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/50/schedule/2 ). The court has no option but to make a possession order if there is still two months owing and unpaid at the time of the hearing.

westminster
28-09-2011, 14:05 PM
Presumably the Proceeds of Crime Act comes in as well (you can lose the rent - already been used in many prosecutions), as may Building Closure Orders (you can't rent it out for a period) and loss of Fit and Proper Person status (you lose your Landlord Licences).

This is only relevant to HMOs. OP's let does not appear to be a licensable HMO.

midlandslandlord
29-09-2011, 00:00 AM
This is only relevant to HMOs. OP's let does not appear to be a licensable HMO.

Fair point, though Fit and Proper also usually applies - I think - to the various 'registered landlord' schemes, and to other council services for landlords, as well as to Selective Licensing areas.

ML