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A landlords worst nightmare is also a property managers worst case scenario. We are not talking about a vacant property that loses revenue (although not ideal either). We are talking about something that not only hurts the pocketbook but the property itself. Sometimes tenants will use a home or apartment for something other than its intended use. Namely a grow op or other illegal activity. Obviously this should be avoided at all costs. It can and will cause serious damage to the property…not to mention the clean up costs. So what can you do to protect yourself?
Tenant Screening and References
First, we want to prevent any offenders from living in our property. Number one is tenant screening and the interview process. It is your first defence against unwanted activities! Those with good track records and solid landlord references will be a good bet. Call each and every reference, this is a mandatory aspect of renting. Magnum York has processes that are meant to screen out bad candidates for a variety of reasons including the dreaded grow op.
When interviewing the tenant ask open ended questions such as “tell me about yourself”. Watch for signs of deceit and untruthful comments such as lack of eye contact. Background and credit checks are also important, so do them when possible. Let them know that you will be inspecting the property regularly, this will deter potential illegal growers from targeting your assets.
Magnum York has an application for tenancy as part of the initial process, you should too. Additionally you will always want to have a signed contract. Get a lawyer to look it over. At this stage we have hopefully prevented any bad renters from getting too far.
Keep up to date with Tenants
Make sure you stay in regular contact with tenants. Conducting lawful inspections of the property are also important, see the Landlord Tenant Act for more on how to stay within the rights of tenants.
Safety issues arise in this type of scenario and can be multiplied when in closer proximity to others such as apartments or condos. Be vigilant when renting your property and take heed to the above warning signs. Whether you are renting a condominium or home in the suburbs you do not want to fall victim to a grow op.
There are some signs that can help you spot a grow op if you weren’t able to avoid it in the first place. These include:
- Blacked out windows or the addition of window bars or condensation.
- Lack of ventilation and a hot/muggy house is another bad sign.
- Stains under the soffits and gutters that are brown in colour.
- Higher than normal electricity bills and signs of tampering.
- In winter the heat from the home may melt snow on the roof when surrounding houses are covered.
- Mould in the corners of walls and ceilings is an another indication.
- Blocked ventilation fans and removal of water tanks/furnaces is a telltale sign.
Hopefully you don’t get to the point where you spot any of these warning signs, prevention is a much better alternative.
Condominium Management from Magnum
If you are a landlord or condo owner looking for help with your rental property or condominium complex do not hesitate to contact our offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Olds and Red Deer. We are Alberta’s largest independent property manager here to serve you!