The Nightmare of Meth Labs in Rental Properties

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on November 16, 2011 under Landlord Tips, Tenant Screening & Background Checks | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenant screening, tenant background checkIf methamphetamine-manufacturing tenants in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio get busted, they are expected to pay the costs of cleaning up their labs and disposing of the hazardous waste. If they cannot pay for cleanup after their labs are discovered, their landlords are now responsible, thanks to a new amendment to an existing law.

Until recently, state and federal funds paid for dismantling and removing labs, but that money has come to an end. The local police chief estimated cleanup costs of $1,000 to $5,000 for each meth lab. From removing traces of chemical residue, to dismantling and moving meth-related paraphernalia, landlords are on the hook for everything.

While recognizing that the majority of landlords don’t knowingly lease to drug manufacturers or dealers, the city council that passed the new law stated that it’s simply a cost of doing business.

Some landlords have attended training sessions about meth labs, including lessons on how to identify a lab and what to do if they find one. Meth labs are quick to set up, and the process of manufacturing meth uses easily acquired chemicals.

The real problem for landlords with meth lab cleanup costs is that insurance generally will not reimburse the expense. Not dealing with the problem is not an option. The chemicals used to make meth are extremely dangerous, and even traces of residue pose numerous health hazards, including liver, kidney and neurological damage, and increased risk of cancer.

What Is Involved in Cleaning Up a Meth Lab?

  • The entire rental unit must be cleaned
  • All traces of chemicals must be removed.
  • Walls and ceilings painted
  • Carpeting removed,
  • All air filters replaced
  • Ventilation systems cleaned
  • Sinks and plumbing should be replaced

As the landlords of Cuyahoga Falls are discovering, meth labs are not a big-city problem. They are everywhere. The best way to avoid renting to drug manufacturers is to conduct thorough background checks and tenant screening on every applicant. If there is a history of drug convictions or other criminal records, you have the right to turn down the applicant.

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