HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Realtors Combat Grow Ops
Pubdate: Wed, 21 Jan 2004
Source: Maple Ridge News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Maple Ridge News
Author: Martin van den Hemel


Before the end of the year, those wanting to sell their home may be
required to disclose to prospective buyers whether the property has
ever been used to grow marijuana, or perhaps housed a drug lab.

Both the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
Real Estate Board made a formal request last month to the B.C. Real
Estate Association to amend the property condition disclosure
statement, used during real estate sales, to include a reference to
marijuana growing operations.

"This is something that has to be nipped in the bud," Vancouver Real
Estate Board president Bill Binnie said. "Grow ops are a huge problem.
Realtors are very concerned with the health and safety of the
community. We want to make sure the buyers of property are getting
complete information."

If the provincial real estate association approves the move, Richmond
RCMP Supt. Ward Clapham said it would be an valuable tool against grow

"That would be a huge benefit for us and for the community if that
turned into reality. Absolutely I would applaud that. I would be ecstatic."

Binnie said the Vancouver board is the largest member of the
provincial real estate association, and the Fraser Valley board is the
second largest. He predicts that, barring anything unforeseen, the new
disclosure requirement will become a reality.

In the event sellers are not truthful in the disclosure, which they
would be required to sign as part of the contract of sale, it would
give the buyer an avenue for legal recourse should, for example, a
grow rip occur sometime in the future.

Binnie noted his board has for some time recommended to its member
realtors to request sellers to voluntarily disclose information about
marijuana growing operations.

David Herman, president of the B.C. Real Estate Association, said a
committee of realtors and lawyers will carefully study the proposal
and its implications during their next meeting in February. "On face
value, it's something we need to address and discuss," Herman said of
the proposal. "If the committee decided to (approve the proposal it)
certainly would happen before 2005."

"Realtors are obviously concerned about crime in our

Asked how much it would cost to make changes to the disclosure
statement, Herman said: "There's a financial investment, but it's
negligible." provincial government, we've been doing everything we can
to respond to the problem."

Plant, the MLA for Richmond-Steveston, questioned whether more
bureaucracy would have a serious impact on the problem, or if it would
instead place another burden on law-abiding citizens.

He noted that earlier this month, landlords were given the right to
terminate tenancy agreements and eventually evict tenants if illegal
activity is having on their property.

Plant said provincial law enforcement only has a "few tools in the
basket" to fight marijuana growers, and said it's time for the federal
government to act.

"Should illegal activity be disclosed by every landlord in the
province? I don't think it's a right response to this problem."

There's no question that marijuana is a serious problem, but Plant
said the justice system "doesn't take the problem seriously enough."
Plant said that in place where the price to be paid for growing
marijuana is high, the problem is not as severe as in B.C.

"Where tolerance in the justice system is lower, the problem is
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