Well that got your attention! And so it should because it’s becoming a real problem for home buyers, sellers and renters.
I inspected a home a while back and noticed a few things. There was some odd-looking capped off plumbing around the outside of the house, which I at first put down to someone having an enclosed garden of some sort, some odd damage to the electrical meter box and inside, unusual wet damage to the plaster cornice. After having a good look at the roof I was perplexed as to why there was so much water damage inside so I decided to grab a torch (flashlight) and ladder and take a peek through the man-hole and into the ceiling space.
I nearly fell off the ladder!
There was literally miles and miles of plumbing, electrical conduit and sprays throughout the roof space. Remnants of a very sophisticated hydroponics setup – not for tomatoes I would have thought!
Enquiries of the Agent revealed nothing so I went to the previous Managing Agent who told me that indeed the Police had raided the house some years prior and removed a lot of illegal substance from the roof and, they thought, the rest of the house.
This house was not a cheap house by any means and was located in a very solid, normal, middle class neighbourhood.
However it’s not just a bit of green vegetation that concerns us most. It’s the increasing prevalence of methamphetamine laboratories in rented and even owner occupied homes.
“Meth Labs” are never a willingly “declared” activity so hapless renters may find themselves moving into a property where the walls, ceilings, carpet and curtains are saturated in drugs and precursors. It is a distinctly unhealthy place to be.
As far as enquiries reveal, there are very few places in the World where there is any Legislation in place to protect consumers from unwittingly renting or buying a former drug lab.
Looking and smelling won’t necessarily give the game away as often a wrecked house is renovated with fresh paint and new flooring.
I think the best idea is to try and check with local Police to see if the house has ever been involved in drug related activity but, even then, most drug labs don’t get reported so even the Police won’t know.
Take a peek at the garden and look for signs of dead patches of grass where chemicals may have been dumped. If you can get under the house, look for dumped precursor packages, tubing, drums, saucepans and drink bottles – that will at least give you a “heads up” as to what MAY have been going on…
Friends overseas tell me that a standard family home can cost $25,000.00 to test and decontaminate. There is a telling youtube video HERE.
Apparently there is a group called Jena Dyco that is venturing into this terrible business of meth cleanup. If you are thinking of buying, renting or selling, I’d suggest you do your research and give them a call…