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Are You Obligated to Disclose Previous Meth Contamination on Your Property?

Written by Elizabeth Whited on Monday, 23 September 2013 2:03 pm

Meth labs have been found in some pretty strange places. To name a few: college campuses, hotel rooms, vehicles, and even inside a nursing home. But the most common, and logical (if setting up a meth lab anywhere could be considered logical) place is in a rental property, or home. After all of the cleanup, and the extensive procedures to take care of a previous meth lab on a property, is it still necessary to inform new renters, or potential buyers?

The answer, of course depends on the state. The Scripps Howard News Service conducted a searchfor states that require meth contamination disclosure to potential home buyers, and tenants. They found that only a little over half of the states in America require disclosure (with varying laws).

Real estate agents and home owners in Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, West Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Alaska, or Hawaii, are obligated to disclose meth contamination in a home for sale. Some states require written notices, some require no disclosure if the site has been properly cleaned and treated, while others allow disclosures to be undone, once the site is off of the state’s contamination list.

Even fewer states require disclosure for rental properties or units. Property managers and leasing agents in Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, and New Hampshire need to disclose the creation of methamphetamines in the unit. In Arizona, it is even illegal for anyone other than the owner to enter the unit, until it has been cleaned in accordance with the law (Scripps Howard).

If a rental unit is suspected of housing a meth lab, it needs to be inspected by professionals. The hazardous toxins and chemicals need to be cleaned and treated, as the side effects on humans, and especially children can be disastrous. Not to mention, the explosive tendencies of the chemicals themselves. The website www.methlabhomes.comupdates property owners on meth contamination cleanup news.

Now would be a good time to make sure all property management staff have been trained in identifying classic meth lab red flags, since as Breaking Bad has taught us - it can happen anywhere, by anyone.


About the Author: Elizabeth Whited is the Operations Coordinator at the Rent Rite Directory. She has written educational articles for multifamily magazines and Real Estate websites to help Property Managers and Owners improve their properties, in an effort to reduce crime in their communities. The Rent Rite Directory educates Property Managers and Owners at Crime Watch Meetings, and Crime Free Association Conferences, and works closely with law enforcement nationwide. For more information, visit
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