2005 Jordan Institute
10, No. 2
When Is It Safe to Reoccupy a Dwelling that Has Been Used to Make Meth?
In January 2005 North Carolina passed a law (NCGS 130A-284) stating that property owners may not occupy or cause to be occupied (i.e., rent) a residence formerly used as a meth lab until it has been decontaminated in accordance with the rules established by the NC Department of Health. North Carolina Division of Social Services policy states that “Prior to any child’s return to the home where the meth lab was located, the home must have been decontaminated in accordance with the rules in N.C.G.S. 130A-284 effective January 1, 2005.” These rules have been developed and can be found online at <http://www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/oii/meth/>.
The point of these rules is to prevent a “potential nightmare scenario—one that has occurred in other states—of unsuspecting renters or homebuyers developing inexplicable health problems after living in a house or apartment formerly used to produce meth” (McFadden, 2003).
These rules require every county health department in North Carolina to maintain a list of local properties contaminated by meth. Health departments must keep record of these properties for at least three years. Renters, homebuyers, and child welfare agencies should be sure to call their local health department to find out if a prospective dwelling is safe to reoccupy.