Renter Beware, A Meth Contamination Warning
With the high price of buying a home these days and with the increasing need for student housing, an ever increasing number of people are choosing to rent versus buying living accomodations. In a perfect world, you can do so with a carefree attitude knowing that the rental management have done all in their power to insure your living area is free from dirt and contamination. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.
The reality is much more dangerous. If you own a rental property, or if you are a property management company, here are a few things you should be aware of.
- With the ease of Meth production and the new portable methods of creating this harmful drug, a sharp increase in the percentage of rental properties contaminated has occurred. Don’t believe it? Well in a notable Deseret News Article, One rental property owner found that among the 148 rental units that he owned, 60% were contaminated with Methamphetamine poisons and required extensive cleaning. That’s an incredible percentage.
- Utah State law requires that rental property owners disclose the existence of meth contamination, even if the problem has been corrected. Not doing so, opens the landowner to serious lawsuits that could potentially spell disaster for them financially. (Citation: Utah Code, Chapter 27: 57-27-101 Title)
- Meth can be “cooked” in makeshift laboratories that can be moved at a moment’s notice. In addition, with the introduction of the highly dangerous meth production method known as “Shake and bake”, contamination can occur without overtly obvious signs of a lab. Testing is the only way to be sure your property is clean.
Know the Warning Signs
Fortunately, there are plenty of warning signs for the observant property owner. Here are just of few of the things to look for in your rental property.
- Unusual burn marks in the carpet.
- Deadbolts on bedroom doors
- Smoke detectors that have been removed or have tape over their detection units.
What Should You Know As A Renter?
As a renter, you have the responsibility to conduct due diligence as well. Not doing so could endanger the health of your family and result in long term consequences that could affect your family for years to come. What can you do as a renter? Well, the first step is to do your homework. Know everything there is to know about the dangers of Meth contamination. Above all, never assume that because you live in a certain “upscale environment” that your potential rental opportunity is not at risk.
College Students Beware
For students seeking affordable housing, it is especially important to know your rights. Utah law states that landlords and property owners MUST DISCLOSE prior meth contamination problems with their rental properties. However, if you don’t ask, they may not do so.
How could student housing be affected?
Well, think about it. With the unending pressure of doing well on finals and midterms, not to mention the pressure to qualify for lucrative internships, college students must often study into the wee hours of the morning. To stay awake and able to handle the following day’s rigors, they can often turn to stimulants like Meth Amphetamines to boost them up. We all know students have the least amount of money to spend on such things, so they may turn to inexpensive methods of creating the stuff in the privacy of their room. (See our blog article “Shake & Bake, not just for chicken“)
The bottom line is, as a renter, you bear the responsibility of knowing the condition of the property you are about to rent. Sure the landlord or property owner may fail to disclose dangerous conditions, and there are legal remedies for that, but you are the only one who can safeguard your health.
Who Can I Turn To For Reliable Advice?
There are many sources that avail themselves to renters. Contacting the Utah Department of Health is a great start. They offer a myriad of helpful information and links that will help you get educated about the dangers of meth contamination. You can also contact various law enforcement agencies for a list of contaminated properties. Finally, always feel free to call one of our representatives at (801) 318-1583. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have concerning the dangers of Methamphetamine contamination. Remember, knowledge is power. Don’t be a victim. Learn the facts and safeguard you and your family from lethal risks from Meth contamination.