It’s hardly news anymore. Everyone now knows that methamphetamine production involves the use of a variety of noxious and toxic chemicals. Potential Minnesota home buyers are concerned about unwittingly purchasing a “meth house.” I have not had any experiences with Minneapolis real estate listings that were used for meth production. I did have experience with a townhome buyer who was concerned about a possible meth issue, even though the seller disclosed in writing that no meth production had occurred. The buyer considered having the townhome tested for the presence of meth and meth ingredients, but discovered that the costs were prohibitive. A townhome would not be an an ideal location spot for a meth lab because the processes create strong, offensive owners. However, townhomes, condos, and apartments have been used, typically for a couple of days, and then were abandoned.
How do I know if a house was used for meth production?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Call the local police department to see if there were any reports of meth production.
- Look for discarded cold remedy bottles, boxes, etc. Sudafed is a commonly used ingredient for methamphetamine production.
- Strong odors are a big clue
- Look for dark stains in bathtubs, sinks, or toilets
- Look for possible dump locations in the yard, usually indicated by dead vegetation
What do I do if I discover a meth house?
- Hold your breath and back out of the property.
- Do not touch anything, including switches or doorknobs.
- Call the police.
- The bottoms of your shoes may have toxic residues on them. Make sure you have removed them before you get into your car.
Fortunately, meth houses are relatively uncommon in urban areas, especially in the densely populated Minneapolis real estate market. Remote farmhouses and northern Minnesota cabins are better suited for clandestine meth production. Some meth labs are very portable; there have been cases where ice fishing houses have been used. When the authorities show up, the entire lab apparatus is then dropped into the lake.
Also, some law officers believe that the local meth production issue is overblown. The majority of the drug is still smuggled in from Mexico. Meth-related arrests are down. However, homebuyers should still be wary of meth houses. Living in a meth house is dangerous and unhealthy unless it has been cleaned up by trained professionals.
Fortunately, Minnesota Realtors and sellers also have duties to disclose any knowledge of meth production on a property that is offered for sale property. Pursuant to MN Statute 82.22, Realtors who have knowledge of methamphetamine production that occurred on a property they have listed, must disclose this because this is considered a material fact. Under Statute 152.075, Subd. 2(m), sellers also have a responsibility to homeowners Under MN Statute 152.075, Subd. 2(m), sellers are obligated to disclose to potential buyers and their agents that the seller’s property was the site of methamphetamine production to the extent the seller knew or had reason to know of said methamphetamine production on site.
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