As Vice Pres, acquisition for Flag development My first assignment was to find developable Florida real Estate to invest approximately thirty million dollars. Of course that was the fun part of my job.
One of my responsibilities with Flag development ,after we had all The land bought, was interim use. Coming from an agricultural background ,that was a pleasant job for the most part, however there were snags from time to time.
We had 560 acres in West Palm Beach, which I would travel down and pretty much just make sure no one dumped trash on it.
The two thousand acre Orlando site I had a hunt club ,and a cattle lease going on it making sure we received an ag exemption so holding cost were kept as low as possible.
The Lakeland property I had the previous owner lease back for cattle, did some sod harvesting and also some timber.
The headache as it turned out was the Brown Ranch ,Halfway between Zephyrhills and I-75,as it had the only house on all the land we bought.
I had a cattle lease worked out on the land and the previous owner, had one of his employee’s in the house, and then the guy moved out. I was informed by our insurance company that sitting empty the house liability insurance would triple so----I ran some adds.
I had a call from a guy saying he was interested in renting the house and made arrangements to meet him. When he pulled in I could see he brought the whole family. It was he ,his wife and three small children, they were driving an older Cadillac Eldorado,the car was clean inside and out that can tell you sometimes how they take care of there house. They liked the house and we came to an agreement on rent and they were to move in the next day. Problem solved or so I thought. A few weeks went by and we received the Electric bill and it seems they had never had it switched over to their names ,so My wife drove over to the house to give them the bill and to tell them to get it switched over pronto. When she pulled in she could see that no-one was home .She went to the back door and saw that someone had covered the glass with black plastic on the inside. She had a key, so she unlocked the door to investigate and was met with a strong Odor. Stepping in the house she saw no furniture and the upstairs was completely blocked off with black plastic around the stair well. She pulled the plastic aside and was almost blinded with bright light coming from the upstairs and as she made her way to the top of the stairs she was greeted by the sight of pot after pot of pot with drip hoses going into each one, and huge stadium lights acting as the artificial sun on this indoor growing field. She made her way quickly downstairs, now fearful they might come back and find her there. She went back out side to her car and called the Sheriff on her cell phone.
When the Sheriff got there they removed over 50 plants. No arrests were ever made as the real nice guy with the nice family I rented the house to, said he sublet it to someone else and he of course was no-where to be found.
This all happened in the late 80’s so they were pioneers, I know that it is a lot more prevalent now. So if you have rentals might want to watch for tell tale clues, high electric bills, no-one ever home, lack of furniture, because over and above the legality issue, a grow house is high heat and super high humidity and will wreck your property.