Bill would require sellers to inform home buyers if drugs were manufactured there

VIDEO: Potential homebuyers could soon get new protections

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A bill introduced in Olympia is pushing for new homeowner protections after a family in Maple Valley bought a home they later discovered was used to manufacture methamphetamine.

Testing for methamphetamine or other illegal drugs is not required during a home inspection in the state of Washington.

The concern is that a home used to manufacture illegal drugs, such as methamphetamine, can make the people who are living there sick.

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Senate Bill 5391 says the seller of a residential real estate property must inform the buyer in writing whether the property being sold was ever used to manufacture illegal drugs.

A KIRO 7 story from last May about a Maple Valley family who discovered their home was contaminated with meth was played for state legislators in Olympia Tuesday morning.

One of the legislators behind the bill, Hans Zeiger (R) 25th District, is friends with that family – the Gates.

Ten days after moving into the home with their 7-year-old daughter, 5-year-old son and baby, the Gates learned their home was contaminated with crystal meth. Traces of meth were found deep in the structure of the home, forcing the family to evacuate immediately.

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The home was auctioned off after a foreclosure. A neighbor happened to mention to the Gates that the prior occupants may have used meth, which is why the couple decided to test the house. They thought the test would be negative but wanted to make sure, since they had a newborn.

The contamination can cause health problems for adults and developmental issues for children.

The costs to clean up contamination, as testified by a legislative aid, can be prohibitive, running from $10,000 to $30,000 or more, depending on the severity. In some cases, like the Gates, the home may need to be stripped down to the studs.

State officials told KIRO 7 the issue is becoming more common, especially with rental and foreclosed homes like the Gates family bought.

The bill will be discussed more in committee before being voted on.