Perth landlords warned on tenants

Sophie Moore

Consumer Protection is warning Perth landlords to closely vet tenants after a fire was sparked by a cannabis farm at a rental property.

Police found hydroponic and lighting equipment for growing cannabis in three rooms at an Orelia home when tenants set a roof space alight trying to bypass the power metre to steal electricity last month.

South-East Asian crime gangs were behind a scheme where private landlords were tricked by couples with children into renting their properties, then caused thousands of dollars in damages converting them to grow cannabis, acting commissioner David Hillyard told AAP.

In the seven months to April police seized $6 million worth of cannabis from 21 homes rented by the gangs, who also stole about $1 million worth of power from the grid.

The eastern states based gangs targeted private landlords on sites such a Gumtree, using fake drivers licenses with members posing as references.

Mr Hillyard recommended landlords use tenancy databases and online demerit checks to determine if licenses were fake.