Ninety-six per cent of Ottawa residents agree they want to know if the home they’re planning on purchasing was formerly used as a marijuana grow-op (MGO) or clandestine drug lab, according to a study by Ipsos Reid for the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA).
The poll found that almost one in four (24 per cent) of Ottawans report seeing or knowing of homes in their neighbourhood that have been used as MGOs or drug labs.
“The prevalence of these homes in Ottawa is quite frankly, alarming,” says Pat Verge, an Ottawa area Realtor and member of OREA’s Board of Directors. “Homes used as grow ops and/or clandestine labs pose significant health and safety risks to individuals, families, and communities all over the province.”
Locally, the City of Ottawa approved a recent bylaw regarding the prohibition, inspection and remediation of former marijuana grow-ops. The bylaw mandates the registration of work orders on the title of a property used as a former grow op. The bylaw would allow home buyers to find out if the property was a former MGO by doing a title search before they complete the purchase.
Verge says: “Eighty eight per cent of Ontarians support the creation of a province-wide registry of former MGOs and clandestine labs. As consumers they have the right to know anything and everything about the home that they are planning on purchasing – especially when not knowing could put themselves and their family at serious risk.”
Exposure to mould and toxins associated with MGOs and clandestine drug labs can cause serious health problems, including allergic (immunological) reactions, toxic effects and infection. Toronto Public Health says that MGOs are distinct from typical types of premises contaminated with mould in that they have been used for criminal activities that may have resulted in the creation of environmental hazards, as well as electrical and structural hazards. The potential presence of known hazardous, toxic and flammable substances associated with clandestine labs presents an immediate and continuing risk to anyone exposed to these substances, says Toronto Public Health.