My rental’s a drug lab! ’
TODAY’S topic might totally freak out a few real estate investors, man.
Drugs, specifically drug laboratories and hydroponic set-ups within your rental property, can really ruin your day.
Hundreds of drug labs are discovered each year in Australia and they can cost landlords thousands of dollars in repairs or lost rent.
Aterri Scheer Insurance spokeperson says drug makers will often target rental properties, but there are ways to protect your property.
Terri Scheer’s top five drug detection and prevention tips for landlords:
Avoid secluded locations. High fences, dense foliage, and no windows visible from the street can help sneaky people be sneaky.
Conduct property inspections quarterly and look for signs the property is being lived in, as drug manufacturers often don’t live at the properties they use to cultivate crops.
Look out for unusual items that might not appear to have a practical use, such as rubber tubing, drums, chemical containers, fertiliser and lots of cough and allergy medicines.
Use your nose. Drug manufacturing can cause some unpleasant fumes and chemical odours that can sometimes be smelled from the street.
Check for modifications such as the meter board being tampered with, holes in the ceiling, or windows being constantly covered or sealed.
If a tenant refuses you entry to a bedroom (‘‘My grandma’s sleeping in there, man’’), warning bells should start ringing.
Remember that it’s not always drug-making operations that will damage your property.
Regular loud parties, a menagerie of pets at the property, or indoor darts tournaments without dart boards can cost you plenty. If you can strike up a relationship with nosey neighbours, they can help you keep an eye on things.
Otherwise find a good property manager or take an active interest in your tenants (without being seen as a stalker). Afew acts of random kindness – such as small gifts at Christmas or Easter or making unexpected improvements – can dramatically improve your relationship with most, but not all, tenants.
Agood landlord insurance policy is also vital to protect you against wilful and accidental damage from tenants, plus those who skip town without paying rent.
If you are struck by the bad luck of bad tenants, don’t take it personally. Chances are they’re not doing it to attack you, they’re just idiots.
And don’t be freaked out to find a clandestine drug laboratory in your prized investment property. It can happen to any landlord. The key is to be prepared, be protected from financial loss, and be on the lookout for signs of trouble.