8News Investigates: Meth Labs in Homes

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RICHMOND (WRIC) – An 8News
investigation stems from this week's meth lab bust in Orange County.

Authorities arrested Toby
Sykes and charged him with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine after
finding hazardous materials inside a four bedroom home on Scuffletown Road.

Meth labs in homes is
becoming an increasing problem in Virginia and once the criminal investigation
is over often these homes end up back on the market. 

If the home you're looking
to buy or rent was once a meth lab, the seller or landlord doesn't have to tell
you – at least for now.

By law, real estate agents
have to disclose the home's drug history but other sellers and landlords do
not.

But that's about to
change. Starting July 1, 2014, if a seller or landlord knows the property was
once used to cook meth, they have to tell you.

Stacey Ricks, spokesperson
for the Virginia Association of Realtors, says the association put pressure on
the general assembly to amend the law.

“That is just another
layer of protection for the consumer,” she says. “The meth lab situation
in a home is very dangerous. It can really have potential health
problems.”

The chemicals used to make
meth can seep into the carpets, walls and air ducts. Medical research finds
exposure to the chemicals can cause nausea, fatigue, chest pain and coughs. Long
term exposure can lead to liver, brain and kidney damage even birth defects.

It's easy to understand
why sellers might not want to disclose that information.  Aside from health concerns, it hurts property
values. For instance, a home in the Fan once valued at more than $600,000, sold
for $247,000 after it was discovered it was a meth lab.

For renters
and buyers, it's a good idea to do a Google search on any address you're
looking at. But stating July, all sellers and landlords will have to come clean
with any meth lab history.

 

Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of
Richmond

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