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July 20, 2009

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 [email protected]

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

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"


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Thank you so very much for sending me this in my e-mail! A picture is truly "worth a thousand words" when one looks upon the meth lab that is presented in this pic. The effects of these chemicals that remain in the air must be staggering! Thank you for informing the public as well as helping the victims that have had to endure suffering due to these senseless acts.
Brenda (whiskeyrose7)

Drug abuse can be defined as the use of any chemical substance that causes physical, mental, emotional, or social harm to an individual or to the people close to him/her.


Great – I should certainly say I’m impressed with your blog. Nice job..

Dan Statlander
(Real estate experts in Boca Raton Florida)

[email protected]

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