How to avoid buying/renting former meth houses

By: Mario Boone Email
By: Mario Boone Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- When cops bust up a meth lab, toxic residue can be left behind. Property owners must pay for the cleanup, but not all do. Often unsuspecting renters and buyers have no idea, and the consequences can be deadly.

"I put in notice of quarantine just to see how many we had filed," said Sevier County Register of Deeds Sherry Huskey.

Dozens since a state law in 2006 requiring police to flag the deed of former meth labs. And the number is growing, "more than we would like. Of course, we don't want any," said Huskey.

It's easy to find out if the home you want to buy is a former meth lab. You simply start with your local register of deeds. "By the property owner's name. You give me that information and then I can locate the deed, I could even check the index if they think something has happened in the last 5-15 years," said Huskey.

Carl Dowdy spends hours researching deeds as a title attorney. He says a meth lab quarantine means trouble for the property owner. "That affects what a person can do with the property and certainly affects the value of the property," said Dowdy.

Quarantines can be cleared from deeds once the owner shows proof of a cleanup. Until then, Dowdy says you better do your homework.

"I would say it's very important."


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  • by Carol Location: Oak Ridge on Jul 10, 2011 at 11:58 AM
    Seems like this would be a good database to put online, searchable by address, so that it's easier for realtors and prospective renters to find. This time of year, there are a lot of college students looking for housing, and they're much more likely to use an online resource.

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