Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

January 26, 2014

Buyer beware: Meth-contaminated homes could be on the market

City officials combat onslaught of illegal drug labs, but home buyers still susceptible to toxic exposure.

(Continued)

The vagueness of Indiana’s meth disclosure laws caught the attention of State Rep. Wendy McNamara, a Republican from Posey County, who this month introduced a bill requiring owners to explicitly say if a house has been used in “the manufacture of methamphetamine or dumping of waste from the manufacture of methamphetamine (even if the owner does not know whether the property is contaminated).”

"My intention is to protect the public from others who don’t seem to care," McNamara said in a press release.

The bill received its first reading earlier this month and was referred to the Government and Regulatory Reform Committee.

Even if the bill passes, it doesn’t guarantee home buyers won’t move into a residence where someone cooked or smoked meth.

Jim Horton, owner of HyTek Home Inspection in Kokomo, said checking for meth residue isn’t a standard test when doing a home inspection for a buyer. He said he might suggest it if he had a strong suspicion of meth activity, but generally the owner or buyer has to specifically ask for it.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of (meth use) going on, but few request to have a home tested,” he said.

Amy Pate, executive vice president of the Realtors Association of Central Indiana, said area real estate agents are becoming more savvy at spotting potential meth activity in a house thanks to training offered by law enforcement agencies at Realtors’ conferences.

“It’s a real issue in real estate and in our community,” she said. “Part of it is just making people aware of what a suspicious scenario is. A lot of people wouldn’t know that a 2-liter bottle and tubing could be an issue.”

Pate said if a real estate agent suspects a home has been used to cook meth, they call police.

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