Close to 2.5 million homes in the U.S. are contaminated with crystal meth toxins. Luckily, Colorado is one of 27 states with a meth disclosure law.
If an owner is unaware of a contaminated house and sells it to you, you’re now liable. In turn, when you put the house up for sale, should the buyer find traces of meth, they are obligated to report your home to the state, in which case the state condemns the home until it’s been cleaned and inspected. The cost? Upwards of $10,000 or more.
Just by smoking crystal meth in a room over several periods can render that room toxic. And if you’re looking to buy an apartment, check the building’s history of crystal meth arrests. If your apartment building shares a ventilation system, the entire building may become polluted.
Many times, even if you’ve searched police records, the property may not show as a meth lab house. One way to check is by asking neighbors or by getting a home testing kit. Though kits are not totally reliable, if they read positive, you can be sure the reading is good.
- Yellow discoloration on walls, drains, sinks and showers.
- Blue discoloration on propane tank valves and fire extinguishers.
- Removed or taped off fire detectors.
- Burning of the eyes, itchy throat, a metallic taste in the mouth, or breathing problems when in the home.
- Strong odors of solvent and paint thinner, or odors of cat urine or ammonia.
Not Just Foreclosures
In Colorado Springs, the Tramonto Toscano, a 5,800sqft, $1.5 million mansion in the prestigious Peregrine-Tuscany Heights neighborhood sits empty while the owners litigate the future of the home. The costs to clean up this meth mansion will run in excess of $125,000. The culprit was their 20-year-old son.
Realtors Caught in the Middle
A realtor I know disclosed to me about the home of a prominent radio figure. Rumors filtered to the realtor that the radio celebrity had been a meth smoker. The realtor had the gumption to check it out. What she found was a single room with high enough levels of meth toxins that legally forced her to report it to the state. The house was condemned and she and her company had to foot the bill before the state allowed her to put the home back on the market. It was time consuming and expensive.
Realtors at New Era Realty are taught to look for the telltale signs. But it’s not uncommon for even the best to miss the signs. Be vigilant and aware. Exposure to meth toxins could lead to respiratory illness, central nervous system failure or organ damage.
If you have any suspicions, talk to your realtor.