Should the government have the 90,000 foreclosed homes that it owns tested for meth if it rents or sells them? Considering the fact that close to 2.5 million homes in the U.S. are thought to be contaminated by toxic meth lab chemicals and exposure to those chemicals is a public health threat, the answer to that question is crystal clear to me. They should absolutely test these homes to make sure they are not contaminated with meth lab chemicals.
Vacant homes, whether they’re “for sale” or they’re just sitting idle, are becoming increasingly popular with meth cooks, leaving the government with a significant problem. Using a vacant home to make meth provides meth cooks with several advantages. They don’t contaminate their own home. They avoid arousing the suspicions of the people in their own neighborhood. They don’t expose their children to their illegal activities, thereby avoiding additional charges of child endangerment should they get caught. They also avoid blowing up their own house, if their meth lab explodes.
The government, according to ABC News, is now at a loss about what to do with the tens of thousands of homes they have foreclosed on. One option would be to sell them. Another option would be to rent them. Still another option would be to demolish them. My advice would be to get them tested for meth chemicals, like they test for lead, and then sell the ones that test “clean”. For the homes that prove to be contaminated, they’ll need to weigh the cost of having them decontaminated over the cost of having the home demolished. If they opt to rent the properties, they should figure in the recurring costs of having the home tested for meth every time a renter moves out. Additionally, they should consider how much it’s going to cost them if a renter makes meth in the home they rent from them.
Personally, I’d opt not to rent out my property, considering that current laws make the property owner responsible for paying the cost of having their property decontaminated, rather than making the person who contaminated it responsible to pay those costs. Most meth cooks don’t have the money to pay the tens of thousands of dollars that it takes to decontaminated a former meth lab home. Let’s face it. You can’t get blood from a stone – even if you’re the government. My advice to the government is to do the responsible thing with your property: test, decontaminate or demolish – if need be, disclose, and sell!