09 Oct Signs your rental is a drug lab
It’s a landlord’s worst nightmare to see their investment property on the evening news. And if publicity isn’t enough it can be significantly expensive to clean up, leaving you thousands of dollars out of pocket. The best way to monitor activity occurring at your property is at the Routine Inspection. When conducting this inspection there are key signs you should look out for, these include:
1. Behaviour of the tenants
Strange behaviour from tenants can start as early as when they apply for the property. Refuse to proceed with an application if one of the adults doesn’t want to be named on the lease, as this usually means they have something to hide. Always do a tenancy background check before commencing the lease.
Another warning sign is an offer to pay a significant amount of rent in advance and pay it in cash. This is potentially a way to minimise communications with the landlord and avoid a paper trail of bank transfers. Insist on either a bank cheque or an electronic transfer of funds from their bank account to yours.
The tenant might try to avoid a routine inspection by insisting they be present and never being able to provide availability for this. Your actions are protected by the legislation in that:
- You are entitled to conduct a routine inspection at a reasonable time;
- You don’t need the tenant’s permission;
- The tenant does not have to be present.
2. Modifications to the property
Have the tenants changed the locks to the home without your permission? Is there a room in the home that is now locked? Are the windows covered? Not just with curtains, but things like cardboard or bed sheets covering windows very closely – particularly those shielding the property from the street view or the neighbour’s view.
These are signs that something might be wrong. If you observe this, issue a breach notice for the modifications to be removed. Take a look at the electricity meter box, checking for signs for rewiring or additions. If you find there have been changes report these to the police immediately.
3. Look for specific items
Keep an eye out for these items that can be used for drug manufacturing, including:
Obviously finding one of these items may not mean anything, but if found in combination with other abnormalities around the property or with the tenant’s behaviour, it is worth contacting the police.
4. View the living standards
Does the property look sparsely furnished? If the property is lacking key pieces of furniture such as beds or couches you know something is up. Try to turn on the lights as some tenants involved in drug manufacturing will take them out to avoid risking a spark (which could cause an explosion).
If you suspect there may be illegal activity don’t confront the tenants directly. Either call the local police station or ring Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.