5 Signs Your Listing May Have Once Been a Meth Lab

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  1. Christine Casados

    yes, and the listing agents-who are “flippers” now owned the house and had brand new agents holding open house and the brand new agents had no idea the home was a Meth lab raided by the DEA.

  2. I showed a home the other day that we are pretty sure is a meth lab. After showing the home both the Buyer and I were highly concerned. We looked up information on the internet to determine if what we suspected was indeed true. What we found was that there are several factors that can help a Buyer or agent distinquish if the home is being used as a lab or has been in the past. So hopefully you will find what we learned useful.

    Let me say first, this home was immaculate and out of the 45 homes we looked at it was in the top 10. So agents and buyers should be aware that all possilbe meth labs don’t always present badly, but you should be aware of what to look for.

    Here is what we experienced.

    Upon entering the house. We smelled an extremely strong smell, like a chemical. Except it was a really, really strong smell. It was not a smell that we had smelled before, but was almost unbearable. If the home hadn’t been in such good order, we would have left immediately. We couldn’t seem to get away from the smell, it was throughout the majority of the home. After leaving the home and prior to discusing the situation, both Buyer and I felt disoriented. The smell is one of the tell tale signs noted in articles we read.

    The Sellers were present at the showing and didn’t inform us that they would be. This isn’t unusual, but in our situation a women was sitting beside her computer guarding a door to a closet with several large locks on it. (There was know way we were looking at that closet). We discoverd from articles on the internet, that these are two signs of meth labs.

    There was also a large watch dog. This was noted in the mls. We were not suppose to enter if the dog was there. This is also a sign.

    Another thing we thought was odd was the living room was set up with a folding table and chairs and no other funiture., As if the two front rooms. the office and the living room were being used for “other” purposes.

    We didnt discover anything else, but were trying to get out of there as quick as possible.

    If it hadn’t been for the fact that I had shown 30 homes that were short sales and were badly in need of repairs. I would have never even bothered to step foot into this house because of the smell. Again the smell is the tell tale sign. However, this house presented wonderfully with the exception of the odd things I described above.

    I reported this experience to the listing agent with no response.

    If I ever smell that smell in a home again, I will not enter it and adivse my client not to. I was so glad my buyer didn’t have her 3 month old baby with her. What if she insisted on taking the baby in!

  3. Five additional clues:

    Doors busted in.
    Bullet holes.
    Owner unavailable for five to ten years.
    Roof is missing (from the explosion.) Beware of listings that advertise lots of sunlight.
    A guy named “Fluffee” makes Youtube videos about the property.

  4. Good advise unfortunately in Utah we have a law that if the home is mitigated you do not have to disclose any meth activity. That is unless you ask the seller in a addendum specifically to disclose and knkowledge or reports on Meth. Our Real Estate disclosure actually state clearly excluding meth.

    When it comes to meth, it must be disclosed unless it’s been properly cleaned up, said Ryan Kirkham, president of the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

    Utah is a weird place for buyers rights.

    salt lake homes for sale

  5. I have been concerned about meth activity homes in the past. I consulted with law enforcement and an environmental services company. It is possible to test for meth for a reasonable cost. It would be well worth it to spare a client years of illness and expensive remediation.

  6. Linda

    We should also, be aware of homes that Seller’s smoke marijana just before a showing, I couldn’t believe it that the owner requested that if anyone was to preview his property, he had to be present, we got their 20 minutes late of the scheduled time, and to make a long story short the owner tried everythiing he could to deviate our seeing the house, when my buyers just wanted to take a quick look, the smell in that house was so overbearing of controled substance, I felt so bad for my clients,who had a 6 year old boy and a 16 year old teenager, and reported it to the listing agent, that he needed to think hard in what he was going to do because this isn’t to be taken lightly, he thanked me and said he new his friend didn’t want to sell the house but had to b/c he was going through a bad divorce, he was lying and sending people away people away, without him knowing it. We must be careful of Seller such as this. for real

  7. Spot on. FYI: Mobile and manufactured homes on private land, especially in rural Southern California areas i.e. Anza, Borrego, around Barstow and the deserts throughout Riverside and San Bernardino Counties are very suspect to meth labs.

  8. James Dennison

    There are several misleading things converyed about the meth issue that I would like to help clear up. First, people are way too focused on whether a residence was a “meth lab” as opposed to “contaminated with meth” from any source including smoking. For every place where a meth lab is found, there are around 100 places where meth is present, mostly from meth use alone. Thus, 99% of the problem is “lab-less.” While there is no reason to think a meth lab is worse than meth alone, the bad news is there is no reason to assume that is meth alone is present it isnt a problem. Thus, our focus on identifying labs is misplaced, as we are thus looking for 1% of the problem and missing 99% of it. As an environmental scientist who tests houses for meth, last year 75% of the foreclosures I tested had meth, 95% of the rentals, and even 25% of owner occupied residences had it. Another myth is that spray starch or field swabs will tell you something. Spray starch will not see the 99% of the meth properties, and I saw four field swabs last year say “no meth” where meth was way above the allowable level. Only a formal test will tell you if there is a problem.

  9. erasmo garcia

    doug wolfe. that was awsome but you hit the nail on the head. if you are in one you know it. really, you will.

  10. These are all great problems So, What is the solution? Run, leave it for the next sucker, turn it over to authorites? Has anyone actually dealt with purchase and clean-up?

    Can you offer advice to newbies?

  11. FastFred

    Sign Number 6: Sparky- Your 12 year old Chiwawa is suddenly able to run the quarter mile in 10 seconds flat.

  12. Jeff Johnson

    If you think the house might be a meth house you can simply spray laundry starch on a wall. The color change will be evident as the presence of past meth use or cooking.

  13. Sassy

    Jeff Johnson will you please elaborate. I have a rental property that was recently abandoned by the tenants and is rumored to have been a meth lab. After incurring ALOT of damage to the property, I hesitate to begin clean-up and renovations until I am able to rule this out. Therefore, can you tell me what color does the starch turn once it has made contact with the applicable contaiminents? Please advise

  14. Excellent site, keep up the good work

  15. As a decontamination specialist could I give some advice. PLEASE get these homes tested . Testing is not expensive . Testing pricing ranges from 150.00 to 500.00 depending on the owner or seller.This is a serious problem with cronic health effects.
    Be sure that the testing is done by one who is certified, not a home inspector. This need’s to be a decontamination specialist or equivelant in certification. Alot is riding on testing and the report that follows, don’t sell out non certification . We test in all western states.435-531-1830

  16. Matthew Moran

    Ok, my father just found out that my meth addicted sister has been cooking Meth in his house. What should he do? He doesn’t have a lot of money at all. It’s an old farm house out in the stix that was left to him by his father and it’s a family farm. Is there anyway to help him figure out a solution on what to do. Like I said before, he doesn’t have a lot of money!

  17. Robb Richey

    Wow. 1st – The “spray starch” testing method ABSOLUTELY does not work. It should be sent to the Urban Legends or Web Hoaxes & Rumors garbage pile. Starch does react with some chemicals, but it is NOT a test for Meth.
    2nd – Reliable lab testing costs less than $100. Call your local police department or health department for recommendations.
    3rd – Houses that have been used as Meth Labs have to be stripped down to the studs, floor joists, rafters and outer shell. What has to go? Ceilings, attic insulation, all dry wall, wall insulation, carpets, sub-flooring, cabinets, wall plates, light fixtures, etc., all have to be removed and disposed of as Toxic Waste. (Just like asbestos or low level radioactive waste.) The laws in each state vary and most are lagging behind technology and medical knowledge of this growing health crisis. Most police officers and lab techs I have spoken with say, they would NEVER purchase a “remediated” or “cleaned up” Meth Lab house. Many added that they would not move into a Meth Lab home even if it were GIVEN to them.
    4th – Money, Money, Power, and Money. Real Estate and Land Development have friends in high places. Some States posted lists of Meth homes seized by the DEA. Now new legislation has taken down those sites. Who wants to cover the cost of a contaminated house? Not the Bank. Not the Developer. Not Wall Street. It is so easy to just say, “We didn’t know. It’s not our fault. You should have done your “Due Diligence.” Caveat Emptor. Buyer Beware. In other words, “You are on your own dude.” There are no consumer laws to protect you if you find your new dream home is contaminated with Meth. One state (Utah) has legislation that says the seller/agent/lender has no obligation to disclose Meth contamination unless the buyer files a specific addendum requesting Meth testing results. The law does not require the seller/agent/lender to actually do any testing. That sucks!
    5th – Who am I? My meth addict daughter has 3 children by 3 different men. Those beautiful children lived with us (grandparents) most of their young lives. My daughter would ask me to watch the kids so she could go out for a while. Sometimes she wouldn’t come back for days or even weeks. She stole, lied, went to jail, lied, wrecked cars, lied, dropped out of school, lied, can’t keep a job, and it’s always someone else’s fault. We love her. But she is not even herself anymore. This has been my life for the last 15 years. A long steep learning curve I wouldn’t wish on any parent. (or child.) I’m not a scientist, not in law enforcement, not in politics or banking or real estate. I’m just a dad who watched his young beautiful daughter self destruct on meth and systematically destroy every thing she was or could have been.

  18. Cyndie

    I have lived in the same rental house for almost 5yrs now and word is there was a Meth Lab in it for quite some time. How do I aproch this issue? I have been to the doc many times and am now on 2 inhalers just so I can breath… I have a great landlord but I’m very concerned about this and my health.

    Any One ?

  19. greyeyedgirl

    Cyndie, you need to GET OUT! while you are still alive!

  20. Sandy Shelton

    I have a house next door to me that was busted as a Meth lab. Used for over 10 years for that. My moms dog got cancer and died. My mom was sick all the time. A former mayor of our city bought the house and resold it without telling them it had been raided. I thought in the state of Kansas these houses were to be torn down. How do I find out what the law is about whether it was to be torn down or not. And how dangerous is it to be living next door to it still, as I still live next to it.

  21. David

    Find the previous seller and beat the living s?#@ out of him. Actually research the previous owners and tell them they were ratted out by the mayor so he could steal the home at auction and proffit from sale (probablly not a reach either) then at least you will have stopped the scumbag from doing it again. Sorry about your health perhaps a personal injury attorney could help you sue the listing broker?

  22. Staci Williams

    My daughter rented an apartment last month, it stinks so bad of ammonia and cat urine! She has been suffering from migraines and currently has a vey bad kidney infection and her kidneys almost stopped functioning. After looking online, we have told her to stay at our house till we can get her out of there. I would like to know if the landlord can be held accountable for this..

  23. willywilly

    How do you know the spray starch ABSOLUTELY doesn’t work….not to many reasons I would know that Iodine would be on the ceiling and something that you spray out clear turns red or purple depending on the saturation????? The Iodine used in the cooking is what makes it turn color so this wouldn’t be a good start to finding out before you go and pay for testing…………

  24. LR

    What to do if I rented an apartment with a possible Clandestine lab at neighborhood?

  25. Frannybob

    So, I have a feeling that the apartment I’m renting may have had some sort of meth activity in it. Does anybody know how long until there are serious side effects? I’ve noticed headaches, sore throat and wierd color accumulation in the ceiling of our bedroom. We are pretty much living from check to check with no money to do an actual test. We also have an 11 month old son here! I really don’t want him toget sick or worse (ok, who really wants their children to not be perfect?) would we be able to wait a couple months until our lease is up and move or should we figure out how to move now?

  26. Mel

    My husband and I moved out of state and rented our house out at the end of April. Due to breaches of the contract we evicted the tenants this past weekend (2 weeks after they took possession) and when our property manager walked through he got concerned that they may have used or were preparing to use it as a meth lab (windows always closed, only furniture appeared to have been in the living room, no use of brand new refrigerator, etc.). Now he said he didn’t smell any chemical smell though which is good. We’re still going to have it tested to be sure but I’m wondering how much remediation we’d have to do since they were there such a short amount of time. I’m hoping we got them out before it became “operational” and we won’t need to do anything.

  27. Kem

    I am seeking the advice of an attorney, because the former home that I lived in was formly a meth lab & had occured 6/2012….pleaae help I am a Alabama Resident & I have currently moved out of that house, but I am seeking damages for emotional distress for my kids & myself!!! I have the original police report & the landlord still states that he never knew anything!!!!…thanks in advance Kem

  28. Dianne

    We moved into this rental unit about 5 months ago. The furnace wasn’t working properly, and the landlord had someone take a look. It needed a part, but also, the furnace filter was packed with some kind of dust or powder. The repairman asked me if I knew anything about the white substance. The previous tenants were “military” and had to leave suddenly for his deployment. After we moved in, we kept getting medical supplies for the ex-tenants….gloves, small adult diapers,large wipes, and even some insulin pump things. My son lives in the basement and is sick all the time….even had a burning in his nose….should I be worried???

  29. Michelle Wong

    Robb Richey, my heart goes out to you. Jesus said “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Please read Bible John 10:10.
    “Behold, I give you the authority to … over all the power of the enemy…” Luke 10:19, this power belongs to everyone that obey the Word of God, being baptised in Jesus’ Name and filled with His Holy Spirit. I’ve witnessed that power working in my and others’ lives. Drug addicts can and had been delivered and set free. Jesus came to save the lost.

  30. Lisa Rowan

    Be really careful how you present yourself to authorities if you suspect meth activity in your neighborhood. I became SICK in a rural WA home, and clearly described evidence of a lab nearby. I was told the sheriff would investigate only if I had PROOF! I learned previous owner of my home contracted brain cancer and died after lifetime of perfect health. The previous owner before her also died of cancer. My three cats and I developed kidney problems at the same time. But in seeking help from authorities and agents, found myself discounted and depicted as delusional. I had to choose between saving my life or proving I wasn’t nuts. I am now living in my car. I have lingering kidney issues, respiratory issues, have developed apnea and require supplemental oxygen at night. Two of my cats died of acute on chronic kidney failure within six months of each other. Had I known local law enforcement were on a drug enforcement strike due legal conflict with new legislature, I would have run away sooner. Bad enough to have lost everything–but to be utterly discredited in the process…? I guess I’m saying there’s a backlash, as with the “sick building” issue, and the physical and fiscal costs may not be the worst of it.

  31. Sad K

    I am the mother of a 15+ year Meth Addict.
    So, if all of this happens to the HOUSE………. what happens to the HUMAN ?
    Seriously……….. he is still alive after OVER 15 years of it. I am sad and surprised.
    He lives in a Motor Home and owns a CAT. (likely to cover the reason for the smell in his place ?) His lab died a few years back at the age of 9. I think he was very much exposed to the fumes and it did him in. 🙁
    Like the sweet man/grandfather Robb R. states above.
    ” She’s not even herself anymore”
    I GET THAT ! No way is he anywhere near what he was as a young person.
    He lettered in Varsity Football and went to State in Track.
    What is going on with these ‘well – raised’ children of ours ?
    Sad K

  32. Lindsey Bloss

    Hi James Dennison I am a single mother and believe my house is heavily contaminated with meth. I tested positive for meth on a random ua for work and have not ever done it. Please help me get my home tested. I don’t have alot of money but I will pay what I have to. It is so bad please help me