Investors may never need to come across illegal drugs being cultivated on their properties, but it’s always best to keep an eye out for these things. The manufacture of drugs like marijuana, methamphetamines, and ecstasy show some distinct signs and there are some steps you can take to monitor suspicious activity.

Regular inspections

Quarterly inspections will increase your chance of finding evidence since a hydroponics crop takes three months to cultivate. Early detection is key as this will allow you to mitigate loss and file an insurance claim as soon as possible.

Note furnishings (or lack thereof) and neglect

Illegal drug manufacturers generally do not reside in their drug labs, so a home lacking personal effects could be one clue as well as a general sense of neglect. There will also be some unusual wear and tear, such as colour variations on walls or behind hanging pictures. Intense lights for these setups also fade paintwork.


Pipes and hoses are required for illegal drug lab setups. Note any holes in the ceiling which could be used for filters going up to the roof. Manufacturers will also rewire the property to feed a power source. Check the meter board for any signs of tampering well as in nearby walls and cupboards. Covering windows is common, but using aluminum foil for such suggests something else.

Specific items

Common drug lab items include glass flasks, beakers, rubber tubing, glass cylinders, chemical containers, drums, drain cleaner, acid garden fertiliser, and cough, cold or allergy medicine. While some of these may appear to be common household items or part of a child’s chemistry set, using your common sense trumps jumping to conclusions.


As a last resort, you might want to inspect the bills. Huge spikes in water consumption may be a clue since more water is needed for drug crops.

If evidence of a drug lab is found, investors should notify their property manager. The police must be contacted as well since obtaining insurance requires a police report.