Minnesota meth lab bill could require disclosure.

Originally Posted By: gromicko
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.

(April 28, 2004) – The Minnesota legislature is considering a bill (S.F. 1863) that would require real estate licensees to try and determine whether a property was ever used to make methamphetamine, an illegal drug widespread in the Midwest. The chemical processes required to create meth can create an environmental hazard.

"This would be a new level of duty for licensees," says Susan Dioury, vice president of government relations and regulatory affairs at the Minnesota Association of REALTORS?. "We are trying to get this language removed from the bill." The group worries that if they were enacted, new requirements would trigger a number of additional disclosure duties. The bill also affects only real estate licenses not FSBO properties. Dioury expects the bill to be voted on sometime in May.

By Jane Adler for REALTOR? Magazine Online

Originally Posted By: janderson
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.

Due to time constraints, this bill may not become law in this legislative session. Unfortunately, a unsuspecting home buyer became a victim of non-disclosure. Since this is a manufactued home, I’m not sure if the language in the proposed bill would apply since this type of housing is classified as personal property in MN.

Below is a news story that ran recently on a local television news station regarding a manufactured home that had been the site of a meth lab. This story alleges that the presence of a meth lab was not disclosed to the potential buyer, who did eventually purchase the home. It appears that the owner has been in the home for about a year now.

The Meth Crisis

By: Trish Van Pilsum
If somebody told you your home or apartment had a dangerous drug hidden somewhere inside, would you believe it. In fact, you may be exposing your family to the effects of the drug and not and even know it. It's a hazard the fox 9 investigators uncovered.
The drug is methamphetamine, one of the most addictive narcotics on the streets. Because it's so easy to make, meth labs are being set up in homes and apartments all over the metro area. You've seen the guys in haz mat suits cleaning up after a meth raids. But it's what's left behind that unsuspecting home buyers really have to worry about.
Meth lab clean ups are usually done by the experts who are trained and know the hazards. But one recent cleanup was done by a mother who moved into a meth house and didn't know it.
Tina Walker/Mom: "I feel like a horrible mom because I put them in there."
Actually, Tina Walker is a good mom, recently divorced. She had to find a new home for her children in a hurry.
Tina Walker/Mom: "They showed me this place. I said, I need a place to live. I need a place to bring these three babies to and I have four days to find it." The mobile home was filthy when they moved in. It had an odd chemical smell. Enough to give them headaches. She fixed up the place as best she could. Hand painted the boys bedroom. It took weeks. Tina Walker/Mom: i just want to have a nice place that my kids can be proud of.
In the meantime, neighbors clued her in on something the realtor and the manager of the mobile home park hadn't. Tina Walker/Mom: "The neighbors were all, oh you're the people who bought the meth trailer."
A meth trailer. Meaning the people who lived there before cooked meth. That's bad because meth is a volatile mixture of toxic chemicals. Cooking produces toxic fumes. You sure wouldn't want your kids around the stuff.
Tina Walker/Mom: I was more scared than anything. worried about what my kids could get into.
Tina bought the house. She rents the lot from Centennial Square. She says she confronted the park manager about the lab and what that might mean to her kids. She says he told her not to worry. Tina Walker/Mom: he told me it wasn't a meth lab. they had all the material to make a meth lab but didn't actually have it up and running. But that's not how this search warrant, obtained by Fox 9 investigators, lays it out. In the warrant, police describe a busy lab, meth cooking at least weekly. A detective smelled strong chemical odors coming from the home, a good sign meth's being made there.
In March of last year the cops seized the dangerous meth making chemicals and equipment. Tina and her family bought it just 10 days later, not knowing that danger stays even after the lab is gone. Here's how we know that.
Fox 9 Investigators hired an environmental testing company that specializes in meth clean up to check Tina's home. Business for this company is booming. all over the state. in the metro, too.
Bay West will take four samples from different parts of Tina's home. One from the carpet in the children's playroom, one from the carpet in Tina's bedroom, one from the bathroom ceiling and another from the heating duct.
Bay West worker: "Children, being children, are going to be crawling around in the carpet and the principle routes of exposure are contact and inhalation."
Dr. Paul Kubic/Children's Hosp. & Clinics: If these substances are in the carpet and children are in diapers or bare skin, they may be absorbing chemicals throughout their skin.
And not just for Tina's family. We'll have those test results in a couple of minutes. But first consider this: the number of meth labs in homes, apartments or motels .
Police raided 15 meth homes in Stacy, Minnesota alone. Fox 9 investigators obtained this health department list. It identifies 379 homes that have housed meth labs across the state in the past few years. That's a lot of homes. If you put them together in one place, you'd have a town the size of Stacy. And the state doesn't know who's living in those homes and doesn't know how many of them have been cleaned up.
The Isanti County sheriff's office raided a house in Isanti and the first officers on the scene were overwhelmed by fumes. They became very sick, feeling like they were going to throw up or pass out because of the odor from the lower level where the lab was.
The county seized the home and doesn't know quite what to do with it. They let Fox 9 Investigators take samples there, too from the carpet and furniture. The lab was in the basement. The house has been empty for a year and a half. and yet: our tests find 900 times the acceptable levels of meth, the actual drug, in the carpet and 800 times the acceptable level of meth in the couch.
Now the results from Tina's home. It's been two days since Bay West took samples. What they found alarmed them so much they left her a message right away.
Bay West Worker: I would advise you not to go into that room. Levels there were very high. Close the door. Don't let your children or your cat into that room.
The room he's talking about is the play room. The kids have used it for 9 months. Tina Walker/Mom: "I want to know, do I need to take them to the doctor."
The next day, Bay West is back, explaining the results, measured in micrograms.
Bay West Worker: "The carpet in the back bedroom came back at 11 thousand 900 which is very high. The bathroom ceiling was 14.2. The furnace was 38.5. The state health department guideline from the exposure standpoint is one microgram per square foot."
Dr. Paul Kubic/Children's Hosp. & Clinics, St. Paul: Remember that if something sits in the carpet, you can walk over it and if flops up in the air and easily breathed or absorbable.
Any old carpet has to be ripped up. Any surfaces that haven't been cleaned and painted will have to be. And the furnace needs to be cleaned so meth doesn't continue to circulate.
Bay West Worker: Immediate concern for her children and herself. Those were extremely high levels. The highest i've ever seen.
Just how Tina's kids might be hurt by meth hasn't really been studied. Doctors suspect kids who come in contact with the drug are affected in much the way they're affected by second hand smoke. The airways in their lungs and airway tissue and their blood vessels most vulnerable. coughs, trouble breathing.
Dr. Paul Kubic/Children's Hosp. & Clinics, St. Paul: Cardiac affects. Rapid heart rate. but problems with blood vessels are that they tighten up. When you tighten blood vessels, blood doesn't flow.
That's why Tina is tearing up carpet. washing everything. She hasn't turned her heat on. She's fearful she'll spread the meth. Tina Walker/Mom" It makes me really mad and more worried.
Worried about her kids. Mad no one warned her. Who should have? Police records show Anoka county posted a warning on the house after the meth raid. The red warning note says hazardous materials may have been left behind. Tina says it wasn't posted when she saw the house. No one seems to know where it went.
And, remember the park manager Tina claims played down the dangers when she learned about the lab? That's Rick Sorenson. Police say they told him there was a meth lab in the house Tina bought. We wondered why he didn't tell Tina.
Company owner, Mike Shrader talks with us instead of Sorenson. He told us that it wasn't the park's responsibility. they didn't sell the house to her. he says his park manager doesn't remember what he told Tina about a lab. And what of the people who sold Tina her home?
Pioneer Mobile Homes listed it for the previous owners who'd been kicked out of the mobile home park after the drug raid.
Trish Van Pilsum: "Are you comfortable with the fact your company sold that house to a woman with three small children? Jeff Comiskey: Obviously not. Not with the information you're telling me. But this is the first I've heard about it. No I'm not. And if that's the case the county should have red-tagged the house.
Jeff Comiskey insists nobody at his company was aware of the warning tag. Jeff Comiskey: "I'd be happy to replace the carpet. Clean the heating ducts. Do whatever needs to get it done."
Tina Walker/Mom: As far as the health of my kids, that's not something he can do anything about. The damage is already there. I can buy new things but if something happens to my kids I can't buy that back. If they're sick, if they have something wrong with them, that's nothing Pioneer Mobile homes or Rick or any lawyer can ever fix. What's done is done.
How do you know whether the house you buy or the apartment you rent is contaminated by meth? You might not. It depends where you live. A few cities make property owners clean up before selling or re-renting. Many other cities or counties require testing and recommend clean up but don't make sure it happens. There is no state law that prevents meth from being left behind for unsuspecting renters or homebuyers. No law requiring that the presence of a lab even be disclosed.

Within the seeds of ignorance lie the fruits of denial