Meth lab disclosures

Disclosure forms

MASON CITY, Iowa  –  When you buy a new home, you want to know a little something about what’s happened there.

That’s why realtors ask owners to fill out a disclosure form.

Right now in Iowa, lawmakers in the Senate are talking about a bill that would create stricter penalties for those who leave information out about past meth labs on the property or in the home.

While it may sound like a far fetched idea, it happens, and state leaders want to make sure the buyer, is protected.

Ryan Allen, Operations Manager for ServiceMaster Clean in Mason City, has been in the cleaning service for seven years now.

He’s seen just about everything.

“We’re dealing with people that are kind of down on their luck. Something happened to them, they’ve never had something happen to them that’s been this bad in their life,” said Allen.

And that includes cleaning up houses where a meth lab has been.

Allen says its hard work making sure the house is completely cleaned up and ready for potential new home owners.

“You don’t know what you’re dealing with, you don’t know what could have been left behind, what chemicals were used when they decided they were going to do whatever they were going to do in the home and stuff if left on the walls for years,” said Allen.

That’s where a new bill comes in.

It’s in a Senate committee right now at the Iowa statehouse, but those in support of the idea say it’s important.

The legislation would require homeowners to disclose any kind of meth lab in their house, or on their property, to potential buyers

But not everyone is in support.

Iowa Association of Realtors Lobbyist, Jennifer Kingland, says the board is opposed to the bill.

“We want people to move into a safe, healthy neighborhood and home. However, the seller’s disclosure form when you disclosing something like that you aren’t really ruminating the problem, all you’re doing is stigmatizing that property for the future and basically condemning,” said Kingland.

Kingland says it would only hurt business, and believes there are already certain disclosure requirements that would deal with a meth issue.

“We technically feel that there are already questions in line on the seller’s disclosure form that would cover it,” said Kingland.

But even so, Allen says a clear question on the form would provide good information to buyers.

“If you’ve got information on a home, if I myself as a buyer and had children went and bought a home I’d want to know,” said Allen.

The bill is only being talked about right now in Des Moines it has not advanced to the Senate or House.

Senator Liz Mathis from Cedar Rapids is on the subcommittee and says next week they will hear from four experts who deal with this issue.

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