Know the signs of Marijuana Grow Houses

Submitted by Jasmina on Thu, 2006-10-12 01:03.

New law steps up fight against grow ops: The Law Enforcement and Forfeited Property Management Statute Law Amendment Act 2005, “requires a local municipality to ensure that a building is inspected if it is notified by a police force that the building contained a marijuana grow operation.”

Marijuana grow houses are typically filled with mould and have faulty electrical wiring because circuits are tampered with as growers bypass metres measuring power consumption. However, it can be difficult for REALTORS® to identify a former grow op if tell-tale signs have been covered up. Depending on how new the operation is, mould may not appear for months or years.

While grow ops often require extensive cleanup and repair, it is possible that these repairs were never made and the real damage is hidden. Noticeable signs that you may be dealing with a former grow op include:

  • Mould in corners where the walls and ceilings meet
  • Signs of roof vents
  • Painted concrete floors in the basement, with circular marks of where pots once were
  • Evidence of tampering with the electric meter (damaged or broken seals) or the ground around it
  • Unusual or modified wiring on the exterior of the house
  • Brownish stains around the soffit that bleeds down along the siding
  • Concrete masonry patches, or alterations on the inside of the garage
  • Patterns of screw holes on the walls
  • Alteration of fire places
  • Denting on front doors (from police ramming the door)

Identifying or being informed that a home had been used as a marijuana grow operation is a concern for REALTORS® who want to protect their buyers, and themselves. Some communities already make the information available to the public, but there is no coordination across the province. For example, police forces in London and Durham post the addresses of homes formerly used as grow operations on their Web sites. Some Toronto police divisions, such as 42 division, also post grow op information, but only for their jurisdiction... A buyer agent should be aware that there may be no obligation on the part of sellers to voluntarily disclose that the property has been used as a grow op.