Aug 27, 2012 / 5:00 am
The owners of grow-op homes that I meet are certainly concerned with the monetary costs of remediating their home but most are distressed by the emotional journey.
When the police identify a grow-op most often the occupancy permit for the residence is removed for safety concerns. Next, a multitude of inspectors identify bylaw infractions and safety concerns in the residence. Next, an order is given to the homeowner to carry out a supervised remediation before the house can be occupied again. To obtain a new occupancy permit, be prepared to pay for mould remediation, legal representation and a recognized air quality expert. In my experience, the starting cost of a typical remediation overseen by the authorities is $25,000 to $30,000. Often the homeowner spends $80,000 to $100,000 or more depending on the size of the home.
More and more restoration companies or general contractors are called in to perform remediation on properties where the grow-op tenant has simply vacated the building or where the police may never have been alerted. Sometimes owners of these properties don’t involve the authorities because they fear a formal investigation may result in a partial collapse of the economic value of the home. Home buyers should perform due diligence and conduct a thorough inspection before acquiring a property that might have been used as a grow-op. While a home inspection cannot eliminate your risk, it may greatly reduce it if you hire an inspector who knows how to recognize the signs.
Training and experience on grow op recognition and remediation is voluntary for home inspectors. It takes a keen eye and awareness of suspicious clues about a house's past to uncover the truth. There are some chronic tell-tale clues that often exist with the damage caused by grow ops. An infrared inspection can be very helpful in seeing clues that may have been hidden from plain sight.
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