Landlords urged to make detailed checks

Norwich Union has warned landlords about tenants who set up cannabis farms in their properties after the illegal practice cost the insurer £1m in claims.

The insurer said it settled about 60 cannabis-related residential claims in 2007, adding that the number of domestic farms was on the increase.

During 2006/07, police seized 5,497 cannabis plants, a 34% rise on the previous year.

Cannabis farms in homes can cause damage such as holes in the walls, water damage and fire.

Mike Colmans, underwriting manager, property owners, at Norwich Union, said landlords should vet their tenants and carry out extensive background checks, monitoring bank details and references.

“They may not be aware that if their property is damaged by tenants using it for the production of cannabis, they may not be covered if they haven’t taken ‘reasonable precautions’ to prevent it happening,” he said.