Pubdate: Tue, 03 Jun 2014
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2014 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Geoff Kirbyson
Page: A5


IMAGINE moving into your just-purchased home only to find out at the
first block party the previous owners cooked meth in the kitchen and
grew marijuana in the basement.

The Manitoba Real Estate Association has heard a growing number of
such stories, and it's calling on the province to help put an end to

MREA spokesman Lorne Weiss said Realtors have an obligation to inform
potential buyers about any defects a particular property may have, but
the Winnipeg Police Service only tracks information about houses
involved in the drug trade for a year. In addition, there is no
standard for what qualifies as a full-fledged drug operation.

"What's a grow-op? Is it six plants? Eighteen plants? What
classification is a house where a university student has two plants in
their bedroom and somebody phones in a tip?" he said.

Weiss said he'd like the government to provide a public registry where
people can go online and research possible drug involvement in houses
they're looking to buy. Houses that have been used as grow-ops are
prone to mould, toxic residues and gases. Some homes have undergone
dangerous structural, wiring or mechanical changes to accommodate the
drug production. There are also unknown health risks associated with
chemical-drug production sites, which are being discovered in growing
numbers across the province and for which no standards exist to clean
them up and make them safe to live in, Weiss said.

As well, there's nothing to prevent undesirables who dealt with the
previous owners from showing up on the doorstep - not knowing there's
a new owner - wanting to do business or collect on a debt.

Weiss pointed to the example in Alberta, which appointed its assistant
minister of justice to come up with a report, including 37
recommendations, all of which was accomplished in three months.

Manitoba government spokeswoman Rachel Morgan said officials are
looking forward to meeting with the MREA to discuss its ideas.

"We are going to take a serious look at everything they bring to the
table. We've got the legislation in place and we're going to be
developing regulations. We want to do that with input from the MREA,"
Morgan said.

"We want to see what other jurisdictions are doing and what

Weiss said Realtors can only provide the best information that's
available to them but once a house with defects has been sold, the new
owners have no recourse, other than to live there or potentially sell
it at a loss.
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