Marijuana Grow Houses: Not Ideal Neighbours

Anthea Personal Property Insurance

It’s not possible that a house in your neighbourhood could be used for growing marijuana – Is it?

There are estimated to be 50,000 marijuana grow houses in Canada. Although they can exist in any neighbourhood, organized growers seem to prefer to rent larger homes in quiet areas with unfinished basements. Now do you think it’s possible that you could have one in your neighbourhood!

Besides being illegal and driving property values down, grow houses, create health, fire, and safety risks for neighbours and future purchasers.

Grow house operators often steal electricity to power an elaborate system of lighting and fans. Rarely do these modifications meet electrical codes – instead they create hazards. It is estimated that 1 in 10 of these rewired homes will burn down.

The heat lamps used to create artificial lighting generate tremendous amounts of heat. So growers install powered ventilation systems to remove the hot humid air. This often results in damage to structural components, including roof/gable vents, chimneys and attic spaces. Improper ventilation causes dampness which leads to mould growth, mildew and rot.

The alterations made to the building for optimal plant growth, including electrical and ventilation modifications, are often impossible to reverse without great expense. Insurance companies will not cover damage caused by marijuana grow operations. According to real estate experts, once a home is used for a grow operation, it can have a dramatic negative effect on its resale value. Unless it is totally rehabilitated, a grow house may be impossible to finance or insure.

If you are a landlord, be wary of renters who pay in cash and are rarely at home. Landlords should always request a copy of the renter’s insurance policy, In addition, always ask for a credit application. The creation of a paper trail and request for insurance documents will usually deter any potential grower from your property.

Tell tale signs of a grow operation include houses that always have the blinds down or windows covered; “occupants” that are rarely seen, or come and go at unusual hours; and houses with little or no garbage for pick up. If you think there is a suspicious house in your neighbourhood, it might be worth contacting the police to have it checked out.