Utah law requires the owner of a property, not the realtor, to disclose whether a home has been used as a meth lab. The Governor signed Disclosure of Methamphetamine Contaminated Property Act on March 24, 2009.
The Disclosure of Methamphetamine Contaminated Property Act, sponsored by Merlynn T. Newbold and D. Chris Buttars requires a property owner or landlord to disclose any knowledge that they have about methamphetamine contamination of their property. The law includes “the use, storage, or manufacture of meth on their property”. Failing to disclose meth contamination information to a buyer or renter, when a property owner has knowledge of it, will subject property owners to lawsuits by anyone who buys or rents their property. The law says that the court can award money to the buyer or renter monies for damages, court costs, and reasonable attorney fees. Real estate professionals not held responsible for non-disclosure under this law, unless they own the property that is being sold or rented.
Homes that have been used to use, store, or manufacture meth, without a police or other record, “may” report it to a government agency that is responsible for monitoring the decontamination process and documenting that the test results meet the state’s decontamination standards, according the wording included in the law.
Property owners who own contaminated meth lab homes can also be charged permit fees associated with the decontamination and the investigation of the property. Property owners can not be prevented from cleaning their own property by any government agency.
DISCLOSURE OF REAL PROPERTY
2009 GENERAL SESSION
STATE OF UTAH
Chief Sponsor: Merlynn T. Newbold
Senate Sponsor: D. Chris Buttars
This bill enacts the Disclosure of Methamphetamine Contaminated Property Act.
requires a real property owner or lessor to disclose in a property transaction that the owner’s or lessor’s property is contaminated from methamphetamine use if the owner or lessor has actual knowledge of the contamination;
creates a civil cause of action for failure to disclose methamphetamine contamination; and allows a real property owner or lessor to decontaminate the owner’s or lessor’s real property.
Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
Other Special Clauses:
Utah Code Sections Affected:
57-26-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
57-26-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953
57-26-201, Utah Code Annotated 1953
57-26-202, Utah Code Annotated 1953
57-26-203, Utah Code Annotated 1953
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
Section 1. Section 57-26-101 is enacted to read:
CHAPTER 26. DISCLOSURE OF METHAMPHETAMINE CONTAMINATED PROPERTY ACT
Part 1. General Provisions
This chapter is known as the “Disclosure of Methamphetamine Contaminated Property Act.”
Section 2. Section 57-26-102 is enacted to read:
As used in this chapter:
(1) “Contaminated” or “contamination” is as defined in Section 19-6-902 .
(2) “Decontaminated” or “decontamination” is as defined in Section 19-6-902 .
(3) (a) “Owner” means the holder of a legal or equitable title or interest in real property.
(b) “Owner” includes a shareholder, partner, operator, or other legal entity.
(4) “Real estate professional” means a licensee under Title 61, Chapter 2, Division of Real Estate.
Section 3. Section 57-26-201 is enacted to read:
Part 2. Disclosure of Contaminated Property
57-26-201. Disclosure of contaminated property required.
(1) Subject to Section 57-1-37 , if an owner or lessor of real property has actual knowledge that the property is currently contaminated from the use, storage, or manufacture of methamphetamines, the owner or lessor shall, in a real property lease, conveyance, or other transaction related to the contaminated property, disclose that the property is contaminated.
(2) (a) If an owner’s or lessor’s real property is contaminated from the use, storage, or manufacture of methamphetamines, the owner or lessor may report the contaminated property to a government agency responsible for monitoring the decontamination process and documenting that the test results meet decontamination standards.
(b) Notwithstanding Subsection (2)(a), an owner or lessor whose contaminated property is reported in a police action related to the manufacturing of methamphetamines shall be subject to the provisions of Title 19, Chapter 6, Part 9, Illegal Drug Operations Site
Reporting and Decontamination Act.
(3) (a) A person may file a civil action to enforce this chapter.
(b) A court may award a prevailing party damages, court costs, and reasonable attorney fees for an action filed under this chapter.
Section 4. Section 57-26-202 is enacted to read:
57-26-202. Real estate professional not liable.
A real estate professional is not liable for an owner or lessor of real property making, or failing to make, a disclosure required by Section 57-26-201 , unless the real estate professional is also the owner or lessor of the real property.
Section 5. Section 57-26-203 is enacted to read:
57-26-203. Decontamination of real property.
(1) A government subdivision or agency may charge an owner or lessor a fee, in accordance with the provisions of Section 63J-1-303 , for:
(a) a permit issued by the subdivision or agency to decontaminate a property; (b) the subdivision or agency to determine whether or not the property has been decontaminated; and (c) any other related service provided by the subdivision or agency, including investigation or decontamination of the property.
(2) A government subdivision or agency may not prohibit an owner or lessor from decontaminating the owner’s or lessor’s real property.
Source: Utah State Legislature, http://www.le.state.ut.us/~2009/bills/hbillint/HB0404S01.htm