Has That House Ever Been a Meth Lab?

If this bill in the General Assembly passes, home Sellers will have to disclose if a house has ever been used as a meth lab.

What would be as good if not better would be would be if a database existed where the public could search for meth lab houses … and then not buy them.

I’ve shown only one house that I thought might have been a meth lab … so far as I know this isn’t a huge problem in the Charlottesville area (although I’ve heard some neighboring regions have had significant issues).

The National Association of Realtors has a tremendous amount of information on meth labs, including these tips:

Is there a meth lab operation on your property?

What to look for:

• Strong chemical odors (e.g., ether, cat urine, ammonia)

• Blacked-out windows

• Frequent visitors at odd times

• Rent payments made in cash

• Excessive trash (e.g., fuel cans, antifreeze containers, and other household products)

• Red-stained walls; stripped batteries; and blue, corroded valves on propane cylinders

Always something new to learn in real estate …

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  1. Simon Campbell January 10, 2013 at 13:40

    Somehow I do not believe that if a home owner was running a meth lab in their basement, that they will freely disclose that little piece of information. “Oh yes, we have been running an illegal operation from here for years. Please come arrest us before the closing.”

    I never cease to be amazed at some of the bills that are passed. Do I believe that a buyer should know if the house has contamination issues? Yes. But I believe there must be more productive ways to determine this than to only rely on Seller disclosure including home inspections, realtor impressions and public records.

    Simon Campbell – http://www.bankforeclosuressale.com

    1. Jim Duncan January 11, 2013 at 09:32

      I think that as much as anything, the onus of discovering and disclosing will fall on the shoulders of the agents rather than the sellers.

  2. David Meek January 18, 2013 at 16:34

    Hi Jim: I just had this issue on a listing that I turned away in Indianapolis. My client purchased a HUD property several years ago as a rental property and now wanted to sell it recently. Neighbors said that the yard barn on this property was a meth lab for the previous owner. Police hauled off the yard barn in 2006 after the investigation, but the seller has not performed any remediation to the soil and wasn’t inclined (can you blame her?) to spend thousands on soil tests. State law in Indiana says that the fact must be disclosed. I am not sure what the seller will do. An unfortunate circumstance for a buyers, sellers, agents, families and law enforcement. Keep up the good posts. Thanks, David

    1. Jim Duncan January 19, 2013 at 09:09

      That’s fascinating and incredibly frustrating. Thanks for sharing that. I haven’t seen anything like that in the Charlottesville area but I won’t be that surprised when I do.


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