The number of remediated grow-op houses in the Alberta market is rising and there’s no guarantee they’re safe.
Bill Fowler, a consultant on industry and government relations for the Alberta Real Estate Association did an interview recently on Alberta Prime Time and below are some main points I wanted to highlight:
“Do we know that these properties are safe? We do know that there are existing standards for the remediation of mechanical, plumbing, electrical and construction standards, but what we don’t have is a remediation standard for air quality. It’s almost like the orphan in the situation.”
“You can have a home that looks like it’s quite beautifully remodelled, remediated, nothing looks amiss. But the spore mold, there’s 3-4 different types of toxic mould which can lie dormant for years to come.”
“Would I sell one of these [remediated] homes to my kids, the answer is ‘no, I wouldn’t’ because I don’t have confidence in the standards that are currently practiced.”
According to AREA’s backgrounder dated October 2009, there are no consistent remediation standards in place for mould or air quality in properties previously used as marijuana grow-ops or other drug operations.
Currently, Alberta municipalities may allow a property to be re-inhabited when local standards are met. However, the conditions under which a local authority grants re-habitation differ from community to community. Universal standards for the province of Alberta are needed.
The potential also exists for a property to become ‘sick’ after re-habitation. There are currently no provisions in place provincially to protect the consumer should this situation arise.
As well, there are no guidelines in place to handle properties that cannot be remediated to the satisfaction of local authorities.
AREA has been working to get the Provincial Government to implement 2 main points:
- All grow-ops to be registered on Land Titles so buyers can do due diligence
- Alberta Gov’t to adopt a standard for the remediation of the air quality
AREA commissioned U of C Professor Tang G. Lee to come up with a remediation strategy and is now looking towards the provincial government to adopt it.
Read the entire 57 page report (PDF) entitled “Recommendations for the Assessment and Remediation of Properties Used as Illegal Drug Operations.”
Related article: Buyer’s Guide: Protecting Yourself From Former Grow-Ops
Whether you’re looking to buy or rent a house, be sure to search Alberta Health’s Services Website.
Regardless of whether the listing states: “COMPLETELY REMEDIATED AND CLEARED BY THE ALBERTA HEALTH REGION,” “The house has been remediated and has met all of the Calgary health region requirements,” “remediated and declared safe by the Calgary Health Region,”- I would never purchase one of these properties. I believe the substantial health risks outweigh whatever financial benefits could be gained.
But not everyone feels the same way. 3 are C/S today.