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Landlords warned over criminal tenants

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More and more criminals are using residential, privately-rented properties to operate illegal practices at major cost to hard working landlords, according to the National Landlords Association (NLA).

Numerous instances of criminals running prostitution racquets and drug ‘warehouses’ are beginning to appear across the country and landlords have been warned that criminals are targeting such properties due to the usually quiet nature of residential neighbourhoods.

But there are severe dangers associated with criminal tenants.

The NLA has revealed that a number of home insurance policies are made invalid by criminal activity and landlords are being left with substantial repair, legal and unpaid rental bills.

Recently, one NLA member lost £20,000 after tenants ripped out internal walls and electrical wiring in two of his properties to grow vast swathes of cannabis, while landlords who find brothels in their properties have been told to report them or face criminal charges.

“It is vital landlords are aware of the threat these criminals pose,” said David Salusbury, NLA Chairman. “Criminal activity not only has an impact on the landlord’s property, but on the community as a whole.”

The NLA has provided landlords with a five point checklist to try and limit criminal damage. The advice is as follows:

• Take detailed references. These should include a credit check, and references from their employer and current landlord.

• Don’t take rent up front. Often criminals offer this as a way to ensure they are left alone.

• Check on the property regularly. This can be done at least quarterly and more regularly if you have concerns, provided you have given sufficient notice.

• Get to know the neighbours, as they can alert you to any suspicious activity.

• If you have suspicions of criminal behaviour do not confront your tenant. Go straight to the police.

“You may think ‘it will never happen to me’, but these incidents are on the increase. The checks you make before a tenant moves in are a key way to prevent becoming a victim of these crimes,” added Mr Salusbury.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

February 15, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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