It's not easy buying a home in King County. That's why Jason and Amanda Gates considered themselves lucky after finding a dream home in Maple Valley. Turns out, the deal was too good to be true.
"Our house wasn't safe. We needed to evacuate, we needed to leave," Jason said.
Ten days after moving into the home with their 7-year-old daughter, 5-year-old son and baby, the Gateses 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.
The home was auctioned off after a foreclosure. A neighbor happened to mention to the Gateses that the prior occupants could 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 have a newborn.
Meth can be cause health problems for adults and can cause developmental issues for children.
The results from the home came back positive for meth, with some of the highest traces coming from the 5-year-old child's bedroom upstairs. His toys and glasses needed to be thrown away.
"We were horrified. I can't believe this is such a serious issue and it's not covered by the home inspection." Amanda said.
Testing for meth is not required during a home inspection in the state of Washington, so it can be tough to know how many homes are contaminated by meth.
"As a parent, you feel guilt for exposing your children to that kind of situation and environment," Jason said.
It may not be their fault but fixing the problem will be costly for the family. The home needs to be stripped down to the studs. Cleaning and repairs will cost upwards of $11,000. If they can't raise the money, they won't move into their dream home.
The family hopes homeowners and renters consider purchasing a $50 meth testing kit online. Experts told them toxins from meth can linger even after just using it once. It's better to be safe than sorry, they said.
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