Bel Air, MD asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland

Q: In the state of Maryland do I need to be informed if there was previously a meth lab on the property I just purchased?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: No, not specifically. If this is a normal purchase of a residential property (e.g., not a foreclosure sale), then the seller must "disclose any latent defects of which the [seller] has actual knowledge that a purchaser would not reasonably be expected to ascertain by a careful visual inspection and that would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of the purchaser or an occupant." This includes any hazardous materials present in the home.

This would cover the presence of methamphetamine and chemicals used to create it, and any residual contamination present; however, there is no specific requirement to disclose that the house was once used to manufacture meth if the property was fully cleaned and decontaminated, thereby removing any hazardous materials from the property.

The above reflects the mandatory discloures required by law (more fully spelled out in a mandatory disclosure statement you were required to have been provided by the seller) even if the property was sold "as is." There is also a voluntary disclosure form that provides more details and disclosures not required by law, but if the seller elects to provide this more detailed disclosure, it must be accurate and fully filled out.

While it is too late in your situation, buyers should be aware that the the DEA maintains a National Clandestine Laboratory Database of properties used or suspected of use in the manufacture of meth and similar hazardous illegal materials.

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