Skip to main content

Advice to Landlords and Letting Agents

Owning property for rental can be a very rewarding enterprise but criminals may use rental properties to commit crimes, leaving you with the bill to repair any damage. Here is some practical advice to help you keep your investment safe.

Criminals will do what they can to avoid being caught, so they try not to use their own houses to grow, store or even deal drugs from.

They can reduce the risk of getting caught by using your rental property instead.

We are concerned that organised crime gangs are doing just this. We want to work with you to protect your investment and in turn you can help us to make our communities safer.

Protect your investment from the drug dealer

The cost to you

  • Reduction in property value - reputation of the neighbourhood suffers.
  • Loss of rent - during eviction or repair periods.
  • Damage to property - set up of equipment, neglect.
  • Increased insurance premiums.
  • Complaints from neighbours.
  • A criminal conviction - allowing your property to be used to produce drugs is a crime.

What can you do?

Screen potential applicants

  • Seek photo identification
  • Check it is not fake
  • Contact referees
  • Obtain contact telephone numbers
  • Visit the property two weeks after the applicant moves in to ensure the person renting it is living there. Sometimes criminals use a 'front couple' who disappear after the rental has been agreed.
  • Check your property regularly
  • Seek payment through a standing order as opposed to cash

Speak with the neighbourhood who can contact you with their concerns. Report your concerns to the police.

Top Tips

  • Check on any tenants who you may feel are vulnerable.
  • Look out for the signs of ‘Cuckooing'.
  • Choose your new Tenants carefully.
  • Look out for the obvious signs.
  • Check tenants carefully prior to agreeing new tenancies.
  • Look out for signs of cuckooing (drug dealers taking over a vulnerable tenant’s property to deal from).
  • Ensure you make regular visits to check your premises.
  • A sickly-sweet aroma and frequent visitors to the address are key indicators that drug activity may be occurring.
  • Take action if your tenant repeatedly cancels visits and/or the neighbours report suspicious activity.

Who can help me?


If you have any suspicions please contact the police on 101 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

You can contact your local Crime Prevention Officer (CPO) for further advice. CPOs can provide advice to individuals and can also address larger audiences, if necessary.

Know what to look for

  • Strong unpleasant or chemical odours
  • Smell of air fresheners
  • Chemistry equipment
  • Sophisticated weighing scales
  • Infrequent occupation
  • Additional fortifications e.g. doors
  • Electrical wiring having been tampered with
  • Powerful lights on all day / night
  • Windows blacked out
  • A jump / fall in electricity bills
  • Condensation on windows or peeling paint
  • Domestic 'tumble dryer' tubing
  • Bin bags full of vegetable waste
  • An increase in the number of people calling at the house