Is Your Home a Former Drug Lab? What Can You Do?

Meth_lab     Earlier today I read an article in the New York Times about a family that, unbeknownst to them, purchased and moved into a home which was formerly a methamphetamine lab.  So?  They moved in five years ago, what’s the big deal?
    The big deal is, as it turns out, that these houses are contaminated by the meth.  The contamination can permeate drywall, carpets, insulation and air ducts.  And?  Well, this contamination can cause respiratory ailments and other health problems.

    The case in point is described in the NYT article Illnesses Afflict Homes With a Criminal Past which describes the Rhonda and Jason Holt family’s ordeal.  The Holts moved into a former meth lab in 2005 and began  experiencing mysterious illnesses. 

    Their three babies were “ghostlike and listless” with breathing problems that required respirators, trips to the ER and, for one child, the maximum steroid dose that a toddle can take.  Mr. Holt experienced kidney problems.

    The solution: Costly remediation which can top 10's of thousands of dollars. 

See Meth-Contaminated Home Slide Show

    I am currently handling a matter wherein my clients bought a foreclosure property which had previously been used to cultivate marijuana.  The humidity required to cultivate the marijuana caused severe mold problems throughout the house and, of course, the mold problems have caused health problems for my client.

What can you do?

    In California, disclosure laws are such that person or entity (i.e., bank) selling or renting the property must advise you that the house you’re about to purchase was used as a drug lab under the following circumstances:

    In the event that toxic contamination by an illegal controlled substance has occurred on a property and upon receipt of a notice from the Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) or other agency—or if the seller has actual knowledge of the toxic contamination—the seller must disclose this information to the buyer by checking item II.C.1 of the TDS form and attaching the DTSC notice, if there is one.

    In the case of rental property, the landlord must give a prospective tenant written notice of the toxic contamination. Providing the tenant with a copy of the DTSC notice will suffice if there is such a notice.

    Therefore, if you find yourself in a situation where your property is contaminated by an illegal controlled substance and you were not given notice of the contamination, you may have a cause of action for, among other things, Fraud, Failure to Disclose Material Facts, Breach of Contract, Intentional Misrepresentation and/or Negligence and may be entitled to recover for your property damage as well as any physical or emotional injury that you and your family may have suffered.  Who may be responsible?  Who can you sue?  The seller, real estate broker, real estate agency, title insurance company, inspectors and the list of responsible parties goes on and on.


Related Links

Meth Lab Cleanup: Minnesota Dept. of Health

Clandestine Drug Labs and Removing Toxic Waste by Karen Lotter

Cleanup of Clandestine Methamphetamine Labs Guidance Document Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Methamphetamine Facts
 
Methamphetamine Abuse: Hurts More than Just the Addict: Methabuse.net

Methamphetamine Abuse Recovery Chat Room: KCI- The Anti-Meth Site

If you, or someone you know, has been a victim of unscrupulous sellers and/or representatives of those sellers, please call me, Lowell Steiger, immediately at

(323) 852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at lowell@steigerlaw.com

I Can Also Be Reached on SKYPE for a Video Conversation at Lowell_Steiger

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

Estate P.A.C.T.: A Service For Preparing Probate Property for Sale

Lou_woolf I was having lunch with Los Angeles Real Estate genius Lou Woolf a couple of weeks ago.  Lou handles probate properties in a unique fashion.  Oftentimes probate properties are in grave disrepair and, as a result, are almost unmarketable.  Lou Woolf has a solution for this problem:  Hire tradespeople who, because of Lou’s stellar reputation earned during 30+ years in the Los Angeles Real Estate Market, are willing to repair and beautify the downtrodden home and wait to be paid until after the home is sold.  In so doing,  Lou is able to maximize the results for his probate clients. 

In Lou Woolf’s own words:

It can be a royal pain for an estate representative to sell the decedent’s house.  In many cases the house needs extensive cleaning and some repairs (often cosmetic) before it can be sold.  But where does the money for these services come from?  If the house is the major asset of the estate, then the representative will often wind up paying for services out of his or her pocket, and then getting reimbursement when the house is sold.  That’s not always a good idea (and if your representative doesn’t have a bunch of cash sitting around, it may not even be possible).

A Los Angeles-based Realtor at Coldwell Banker, Lou Woolf, has a new service (called Estate P.A.C.T.) that could help in this area.  If you hire Mr. Woolf to sell your probate property, you gain access to a group of tradespeople who will (a) perform the necessary work on the house and (b) defer their fees until the house is sold.  (The fees are payable at the closing.)  Here is the press release and his web site site is www.EstatePact.com Mr. Woolf has indicated that His Estate Pact program will be made available to the general public (non-probate properties) on a limited, and case by case basis. 

Probate issues are tough enough without having to then go through the emotion and expense of rehabbing your deceased parents’ home in order to sell it.  I’ve known Lou Woolf for over 35 years and can vouch for his dedication, passion and integrity when it comes to selling homes.  Call him at (818) 728-3911 or (866) Get-Wolf or send him an e-mail Lawoolf@aol.com.

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The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at (323) 852-1100

or via e-mail at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

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