A great post from Sussie in The Lone Star State about a situation none of us would like to experience- but many of us surely do. It's these cases that are the best of learning opportunities for the newer folks in the business as well. As for me, it immediately took me back to my native Birmingham.
The year- 2006, the street- Wonder Lane...yes, seriously. I managed 10 properties on this street- and with signs out in the yards a good bit, the elderly neighbors took down my number for "future reference"- if they ever needed to rat out a tenant of mine, one might say. One day, I got a call from one of these "concerned citizens". She said "Mr. Burgess! You've gotta get over here- the DEA is raiding your place at xxxx!" I thought she might've hit the ol' rheumatiz medicine a bit early- if you know what I mean- and said "Come on, now. How do you know it's the DEA over there?" The lady replied "Well, that's what it says on the back of their jackets!"
One tenant off to jail, one property soon to lose a bit of high-tech surveillance gear that apparently wasn't quite enough to give said tenant a lot of lead time before the raid...
Today the Houston Police Narcotics Division busted a very huge marijuana growing organization in Fort Bend, Harris, and Liberty Counties. All of the counties had several leased homes involved. This Vietnamese organized crime gang had been watched for a year prior to this morning’s raids. All of these homes were high end homes in quite neighborhoods.
These homes will take a lot of money to re-mediate back to where they need to be before they will be livable again. Some may believe that indoor growing may sound benign, but that is far from the truth. These illegal operations cause a multitude of damage to the homes in which they operate.
Growers have rows upon rows of plants growing under ultraviolet lights. These lights need electricity. Since power companies and police both watch for large amounts of power usage these growers need to improvise to stay hidden. These people will bypass the electric meter by hooking up onto the power pole or dig right through the home’s foundation to link up the main power lines.
Then there is the moisture problem. The plants need irrigation and a humid environment; all this water usage creates a big moisture problem. As you have surmised by now that mold is everywhere and is in itself a very expensive problem to deal with.
In one article on MSN REAL ESTATE, “Big-time marijuana growers also cut holes in the ceiling to provide ventilation to their plants and run water lines. Many change the duct work and rewire the house to accommodate the hot grow lights and other equipment such as humidifiers and dehumidifiers.”
This can be a nightmare for the home’s owner who may have leased out their home in efforts to avoid foreclosure.
So Realtor beware, be sure you disclose everything if you are dealing with one of these homes. Better yet consult with your states attorney to make sure you do everything right. If not you could get sued and pay some mighty big fines.