RICHMOND (WRIC) - An 8News investigation stems from this week's meth lab bust in Orange County.
Authorities arrested Toby Sykes and charged him with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine after finding hazardous materials inside a four bedroom home on Scuffletown Road.
Meth labs in homes is becoming an increasing problem in Virginia and once the criminal investigation is over often these homes end up back on the market.
If the home you're looking to buy or rent was once a meth lab, the seller or landlord doesn't have to tell you - at least for now.
By law, real estate agents have to disclose the home's drug history but other sellers and landlords do not.
But that's about to change. Starting July 1, 2014, if a seller or landlord knows the property was once used to cook meth, they have to tell you.
Stacey Ricks, spokesperson for the Virginia Association of Realtors, says the association put pressure on the general assembly to amend the law.
"That is just another layer of protection for the consumer," she says. "The meth lab situation in a home is very dangerous. It can really have potential health problems."
The chemicals used to make meth can seep into the carpets, walls and air ducts. Medical research finds exposure to the chemicals can cause nausea, fatigue, chest pain and coughs. Long term exposure can lead to liver, brain and kidney damage even birth defects.
It's easy to understand why sellers might not want to disclose that information. Aside from health concerns, it hurts property values. For instance, a home in the Fan once valued at more than $600,000, sold for $247,000 after it was discovered it was a meth lab.
For renters and buyers, it's a good idea to do a Google search on any address you're looking at. But stating July, all sellers and landlords will have to come clean with any meth lab history.
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