6/27/2017

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Drug Houses

When you sell a home, it is your responsibility to disclose material facts that may have an effect on the health and welfare of the buyers.

One very important fact that many homeowners fail to disclose is that their home was once used as a drug house to manufacture illicit methamphetamines (meth), for the sale of cocaine and other illegal narcotics, or to grow marijuana plants.

Most people think of drug houses as run down, dilapidated old structures with broken windows, caved in roofs and floors and in need of major repairs. They conjure up images of eye sores that are run down and neglected with gang bangers and drug addicts hanging around. But that isn't always the case. In reality, illegal drugs are being manufactured and sold in all neighborhoods, even yours.

You may live in what you think is a safe and sound neighborhood with the most pleasant and peaceful neighbors you could ever want. If you could see what is really going on in some of those homes, you might not feel so comfortable living where you live.

Your next door neighbor may be a major drug dealer who is going out of his way to keep a low profile and is doing a good job of blending in. Drug dealers and other criminals are finding that it is prudent for them to move into quiet middle class and upscale neighborhoods and not bring attention to themselves or their illegal businesses.

You may be surprised at what drug houses really look like today and where they are located. Many are operated in the most beautiful, well kept neighborhoods around the country with police departments located within walking distance.

It could be the house next door to you, the house across the street, the house down the street, the house on the corner, or the house in the middle of the block. It may be the house that your children pass every day while walking to and from school. It may be the one that has people coming and going at all times of day and night or you may see very few people coming or going.

Drug dealers have become very sophisticated in the way they they operate. This is because the illegal drug industry generates billions of dollars a year and those who manufacture and sell drugs are not always who you think they are. Many are well known businessmen, politicians, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and yes, even policemen.

When you buy a home, apartment building, or other property, the question of drugs should be one of the issues that you want disclosed to you. The sellers, or current tenants, may not have been involved in the sale or manufacture of drugs, but they may know about the drug history of the home.

There may be lingering residue such as chemicals and other hazardous materials used to make drugs that is still present. These residues often seep into the drywall, insulation, floor boards, concrete, and can be found in attics, basements, soil, and other areas of a home and can be hidden for years.

If you think your home may have been used as a meth lab, crack house, marijuana plant farm, illegal drug distribution center, or any other illegal drug operation, you should find out all the information you can about it's history and disclose it to potential buyers.

Tell tale signs of drug manufacture in a home include burning eyes and throat, stains on toilets, bathtubs and sinks, the smell of chemicals such as ammonia or acetone, and if there are propane tanks, large amounts of paint thinner, lighter fluid, lithium batteries, large quantities of salt, and other products that are not normally found in homes, it may be a good idea to ask questions.

Babies, young children, and seniors are at serious risk of getting sick and possibly dying from drug related chemicals that linger in homes. So are people with respiratory, neurological, and mental illnesses.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of properties are contaminated and may cost thousands of dollars to clean up depending on the level of contamination.

If you have suspicions that your property may be contaminated in any way, get it tested and treated. It may save you a lot more money in the long run, especially in court costs, attorney's fees, and liability claims against you.

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