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Elizabeth Biberger: Real Estate in Duncan & Cowichan

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Marijuana “Grow Op” and Your Property. What are the Risks?

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I recently had a client who viewed a home where there had been a “Grow Op” in the lower part of the home.  I spoke to an experienced mortgage broker to find out the options for this buyer and part of the discussion turned to a “Grow Op” that is in an accessory building or shed. 

A “Grow Op” in a home requires the home to be fully remediated.  To add insult to injury, to remediate the home will be costly, it will be difficult to finance, may attract a higher interest rate, and may have to have an insured mortgage.

What about an accessory building? If it is a “Grow Op” you have stigmatized the entire property even if it is not in the home and I have been advised that you will have to remediate, and the property will be equally hard to finance.

Now I understand the absolute need for remediation if the “Grow Op” is a “Grow Op”. However, that led me to the question of what constitutes a “Grow Op”?  I never got to the bottom of that one. From a finance point of view, it seems that the mortgage companies consider anything where plants have been grown a “Grow Op”. 

This information led me to my next question. What if you have a Seller who is growing a few plants for personal use either in his garden, a small green house or an old shed? And I am talking about very few plants and I am talking strictly personal use.  If the plants were only for personal use does this really constitute a “Grow Op”?  Really?? What part of the property now needs to be remediated?  Can one just remove the offending structure?  Does the soil have to be removed from the garden area? Where do you do air quality tests?

So – the point of this blog is really to inform. If you think that growing a few plants on your property (and I am NOT talking about plants in your home as that is simply a different conversation) for personal use does not make it a “Grow Op” you might be right, or you might be wrong.  But the consequences are significant and potentially costly.

Stay tuned as my next blog will have information that could be life changing!