What Happened in Your House?

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By Ellis Eskew


They say Home is where the heart is. But it could also be the site of something you never saw coming.  Whether it affects you or a potential buyer of your home, what you don't know could come back to haunt you.

Micki Sellers takes us on a tour of her Montgomery rental property.
Her tenants recently abandoned the house without notice...and left a lot to clean up.

But that's not the difficult part.
Trying to rent out the property in highland gardens that's close to an old grave site is more of an issue for Sellers.

"It's really hard because the market is slow in this neighborhood anyway and added the extra challenge of people thinking there may be ghosts or goblins lurking around, you kind of get frustrated because you rent it out and somebody just up and leaves. You have to wonder is something else going on??" said Sellers.

Some people want nothing to do with it.

 "When we were trying to sell the house we did have an offer and once we disclosed about this location and the cemetery here, they decided to back out," said Sellers.

Keller Williams realtor Taylor Jernigan says homeowners and realtors are obligated to come forth with certain information.

"If you are the homeowner and you know of any health or safety issues that are affecting the house, anything that could pose a threat to someone or their safety, you have to disclose that. You have to disclose that to your realtor and your realtor has to disclose that to anybody who is interested in purchasing the house," said Jernigan.

Grave sites are one thing...
But there is also another problem that is becoming more and more prevalent and costing more and more U.S. taxpayer dollars--- meth houses.

"It's a national problem," said Sgt. Wesley Richerson with the Montgomery Co. Sheriff's Office. "Sometimes people don't know what's causing the problem, they associate it with allergies or something else because they didn't know there was an actual lab actually in the home," said Richerson.


 "There is case after case where families have become sick moving into a supposedly cleaned up meth house. That to me is a health and safety issue and you should absolutely report that," said Jernigan.

In fact, it's against the law not to report it.
But the problem is there is no one to make sure the former meth houses are up to standards... because there are no standards.

"In the state of Alabama at this time there are no laws governing or report of which houses contained a meth lab incident. And there is no governing on when one is safe to reoccupy," said Richerson.

Funding to fight the meth has also been cut in the legislature.
The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office is taking a proactive approach with a fully operational meth lab response unit.
They train deputies and other law enforcement on how to investigate and detect meth labs.
Their hazmat crews will clean up the materials, but the leftover residue is left to the home owners.

As for Micki Sellers, even though her rental property was near a grave site, it's her own house that is raising eyebrows.

 "The house was hooked up to the city water in 1910... when you have that much history, 100 years of people living their lives in the house, there's going to be something. Someone probably died in the house at some point," said Sellers.

And she is actually okay with that.

"I think its fun. It makes for fun stories, you know... The creepiest thing for me was when my 4 year old daughter was playing next to me in the kitchen and no one else around and I hear this voice, a child's voice, say hello."


But if she ever wanted to sell it, Jernigan says she may want to let it be known.

 "A death, a murder, suicide in the house. Or even a house that is said to be or generally known to be haunted, for instance, you are under no legal obligation to disclose that. But common sense would tell you that you should," said Jernigan.

Making for happier buyers... sellers....and homes.

 "You want your buyers to have complete and informed consent on the way in," said Jernigan.

So the bottom line? If you are selling a home, honesty is the best policy.
And if you are looking to buy, make sure you do your homework.


 

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