Oklahoma: Be careful if you rent or buy there

Sen. Roger Ballenger, D-Okmulgee, is pushing for a new law to make landlords responsible for paying for the cleanup of their property if it has been contaminated by meth. Currently, no one is responsible for cleaning up an apartment or home if it was used as a meth lab. The landlord is supposed to tell you that it was a meth lab, but they are under no obligation to clean or paint it, never mind decontaminate it. As it stands now, a landlord could tell a renter that the apartment or home was used as a meth lab and assure them that the home is safe to live in because it’s been “cleaned”. Prospective renters may then assume that means it is “certified clean”. Don’t assume that! Slapping a coat of paint on the walls does not mean the home is safe! It must be certified clean, which you can only get by having a environmental hygienist test the home for contamination. Please be careful, if you are renting or buying in Oklahoma.

While, I agree that the property should be cleaned up before anyone else moves in, I understand the financial burden that places on the owner of the property. Cleanup costs start at $10,00 and go up from there, sometimes in the tens of thousands of dollars.

How are people supposed to pull that kind of money out of their pockets in this economy? If a landlord can’t rent the property until it’s cleaned up, he/she loses the rental income. On top of that, they now have to pay thousands of dollars to clean up the property. Many homeowners and landlords simply can’t afford the cleanup costs. Some property owners are just letting the bank foreclose on the property. The bank then tries to unload the property to recoup their money by putting the home up for auction or putting it in a rental agents’ hands. The new owner would then be responsible to pay the cost of the cleanup. If you’re thinking about buying or renting in Oklahoma know what you’re dealing with before you risk your health and savings account.

Tulsa residents who are concerned about whether a meth lab may have been on property they are renting or considering buying can contact the Tulsa Police Department’s Special Investigations Division at 669-6068.

Read more about this story at Tulsaworld.com

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