HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Landlords To Pay For Grow Ops
Pubdate: Wed, 17 Nov 2004
Source: Maple Ridge News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Maple Ridge News
Author: Phil Melnychuk, Staff Reporter
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Allowing rented houses go to pot could cost landlords far more than they 
make in rent.

Property owners who allow their buildings to be used for meth labs or 
marijuana grow operations in Maple Ridge will be stung with hefty bills for 
cleanup costs, because of a bylaw whisked through council on Monday.

Council gave three readings to bylaw that will get final reading Nov. 23.

"I think there is a pressing need for this to get done as soon as possible, 
so that's good," said Mayor Kathy Morse after council OK'd the new measures.

Included in the bylaw is a charge of $300 any time district staff have to 
inspect the property; the same amount will apply if a home has to be 
reinspected, while a $250 reoccupancy fee will be charged for a home that's 
had to be repaired following a grow-op. But that's just the start.

Once a grow-op has been dismantled, a home's carpets and curtains must 
either be removed or cleaned professionally, at the property owner's 
expense. As well, all duct work has to be cleaned.

After that, the home has to be inspected.

Police and firefighter costs involved in dismantling a grow op are passed 
on as well, requiring a charge of $61.36 [minimum two hours] for every RCMP 
constable involved in dismantling a grow op, while firefighters are billed 
at $30 an hour. Dismantling requires a health officer at $100 an hour and a 
bylaw officer is $64 an hour.

The bylaw also requires building owners to inspect their premises every 
three months. However, if a landlord voluntarily reports a grow-op, he or 
she will be spared the costs, bylaw director Brock McDonald said.

Realtors now ask the district to check to see if a home used to be a 
grow-op before listing the properties, he added.

While the bylaw is aimed to recoup costs, it doesn't reflect all the costs 
involved investigating a drug lab, Cpl. Dave Walsh told council. Usually, a 
grow-op dismantling that takes 12 hours would require about 150 hours of 
file preparation for processing charges, after the lab is taken out of 
action, he said.

And while the RCMP get up to 150 tips a year of grow-ops, they can only 
respond to about 25 a year, he said.

One way for landlords to dissuade a potential marijuana producer is to get 
the prospective tenant to agree to inspections of the home every six weeks. 
That would disrupt the three-month marijuana crop cycle, Walsh pointed out.

Grow-ops can affect neighbours by increasing the risk of fires, explosions 
and by causing higher insurance premiums. Children can also be hurt by 
wandering on to properties that have been fixed with booby traps.
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