You’ve heard of testing for mold in your home, the damage it causes and the difficulty in cleaning it up. Well thanks to the rise of methamphetamine use and the number of rental home used as meth houses, some property owners may want to (or need to) have their home tested for meth.
Why? Meth houses aren’t just dangerous because they are generally places of criminal activity—Meth houses are toxic and a health hazard. The chemicals used to produce methamphetamines and worse, the disposal of the waste is what causes the toxic environment. Sometimes, your property can become contaminated just by heavy use of smoking meth, and not by being used as a typical “meth house”.
The property that is presumably contaminated and toxic is also a full-fledged danger zone that is not available to rent, technically. And so the short-term issue for the property owner doesn’t even begin to describe the amount of cleanup ahead.
How do you know your home could be a meth house?
You’ll want to look for signs. Most meth houses have some sort of commonalities that should raise a red flag. The best way to keep it from happening—frequent inspections. Monthkly of quartely inspections on your rental will allow you to assess the property inside and out looking for lease violations, criminal activity, and maintenance and repair issues. Get you home tested for meth if you observe the following:
1. Yellow discoloration on walls, drains, sinks and showers.
2. Blue discoloration on valves of propane tanks and fire extinguishers.
3. Fire detectors that are removed–or taped off.
4. Burning in your eyes, itchy throat, a metallic taste in your mouth, or breathing problems when in the home.
5. Strong odors that smell similar to materials often found in a garage, such as solvent and paint thinner, or odors of cat urine or ammonia.
Also, look for large amounts of over the counter medications like decongestants, stimulants or asthma medication. Paint thinner, lye, Freon, acetone, iodine, hydrogen peroxide, sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid and ammonia are generally present or the trash and waste of these items could be a red flag. Meth lab equipment might include rubber hosing, duct tape, bottles and other glass containers, pressurized cylinders, camp stove fuel canisters, propane tanks and respiratory masks.
Testing for meth
There are several ways to test for methamphetamines in your home. At home meth test kits are available and reasonably priced but may not always be accurate. Some kits will give instant results while other need to be mailed into ta lab. Another option is to call a hazardous materials or decontamination company to come to the property to test and eventually clean up the decontamination, if there is any.
Again, the best defense is a good offense—proper tenant screening and frequent property inspections. Real Property Management Capital-Baltimore prides itself on fully qualifying new tenants by running credit, background, and criminal checks and we offer monthly, quarterly, and move-in/move-out inspections to avoid such problems.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.