Realtors Suggest Asking Meth Question

Reported by: Amanda Stevenson
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Updated: 2/12/2013 6:38 pm
"Has there ever been a meth lab here?"

That's the question realtors said more buyers should be asking. Dianna Ackerman, a real estate broker for ERA Professional Hometown Services in Richmond, said no one in 18 years had ever asked it.

Dan Smoot, vice president of Operation Unite, an anti-drug organization in Southeastern Kentucky, said people might want to start. He said the chemicals left over from a meth lab are what do the most damage.

"They get in the carpet; they get in the drywall; they get in the ceiling tiles. And those homes are in bad shape," said Smoot.

He said law enforcement only takes out the actual labs--the rest is left up to the homeowner. But once a home has been contaminated, it can't be lived in until it's properly cleaned up.

That means a trained, private contractor has to come in to rebuild the carper, the drywall, the ceiling tiles, and anything else contaminated.

"The homeowners themselves generally get stuck having to foot the bill....and it's very, very expensive," said Smoot, adding, "It's quite frankly cheaper to tear the house or burn the house down."

As for realtors like Ackerman, they're required by law to give the seller a property disclosure form--a statement of what's wrong in the home. But there's a catch.

"I can't tell that seller what to put, how to put it...anything like that," she said.

Ackerman said if the realtor knows there was a meth lab there, they have to tell any potential buyers.  But ABC-36 spoke to a lawyer who said sellers aren't required by law to put anything on the property disclosure form...which would mean even the realtor might not know.

Smoot suggested that buyers do their homework.

"Ask neighbors. Check with the local police. Try to establish if a meth cook has ever owned the home or rented the home."

The DEA also has a list of addresses where meth labs have been seized. You can check out that list here.

To find out if your home's contaminated, you can visit this website for more information.
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