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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
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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.

Source: http://media2.scrippsnationalnews.com/meth/

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 www.therrd.com.
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3 comments

  • Comment Link nancy brady Friday, 22 August 2014 9:41 am posted by nancy brady

    WHY does Breaking Bad TV show still airs. Shame on television and to the greed to make a buck.

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  • Comment Link Madi Tuesday, 01 July 2014 1:40 am posted by Madi

    We rented and moved into a house 3 months ago. Neihhbors told us about alot of drug use from prev tenants with pipes and that yhey destroyed house. Several burn marks in grass that wont come back. The landlords son today told us the prev tenants were cooking meth and that there was a fire in kitchen he thinks from it. None was discloaed prior to us moving in. There was a horribke smell in front bedroom and an odd amount of outlets, i demanded they change the carpet-I didnt realize at the time what that smell might be. The son told us they were trying to save money so they were onky going to change it if we complained. Our dogs are having eatting issues and one us off balance and I have headaches and what i think is a sinus infection. What should we do??? Are we responsible for testing and proving were in danger? Is there an agency that will assist us? Were barely fetting by so we dont have the money to just go find a new place-which is also hard with 3 dogs.... ugh....

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  • Comment Link Andrew Show Tuesday, 24 September 2013 10:14 am posted by Andrew Show

    Let's go beyond this:
    "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."

    And this:
    "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."

    To which I add: Regardless of what "state" law requires the only ethical and moral choice is to disclose the situation in every circumstance!

    Is a property stigmatized by meth? And is it stigmatized after a complete cleanup?

    It doesn't matter - it must always be disclosed. Not only is it the right thing to do it also has the benefit of reducing the threat of a lawsuit by a future buyer or tenant. The buyer or tenant, once disclosed, has the right to any additional reports and/or testing to satisfy themselves as to the habitability of the residence.

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