Back Print

Is there a database of Winneshiek County homes that have been used as meth labs?

Posted: Thu, Aug 2, 2018 1:45 PM
(Photo courtesy of DEA)

(Elly e-mails Mr. Answer Person: "How do people in need of rental housing know the home they hope to live in is a safe environment? Is there a Winneshiek County database or listing of all the drug or meth houses in the last 10 years? What process related to this does the county or city take in certifying rental homes? City of Decorah Code 5.28.130 - Minimum property standards does not address environmental considerations such as meth or drugs, or even mold, that I could find... None of the addresses where multiple busts have occurred are listed on the national registry:  In fact, none are listed for Decorah at all, which seems to be a misrepresentation. All humans and pets deserve safe, affordable housing."):

"Mr. Answer Person says: "I have a confession--my name isn't 'Mr. Answer Person,' it's actually 'Mr. I'll try to find someone with the Answer Person.'  And what a fascinating search it has been to get an answer to your question, Elly!

Because the answer to your question appears to be that no such database and no such procedures exist in Iowa to inform people trying to rent or buy a house whether that home was used as a meth lab by the previous tenants.

Yes, there are companies in Iowa that will do meth lab decontamination: is one, for instance.  But there's no Iowa law requiring property owners to hire such a company.

That means if you're looking to rent or buy a building in Iowa, you won't know what the past history of that property has been.  Iowa is not alone in this "Buyer Beware" approach to former meth lab properties.  A Scripps-Howard News Service investigation ( into whether any of the 50 states have laws specifically requiring home sellers, landlords, car sellers and hotel owners to disclose meth contamination to prospective buyers and renters found that 22 states do not require home sellers or real estate agents to tell buyers of previous meth contamination; 33 do not require landlords to tell renters of previous meth contamination; 42 states do not require car sellers to tell buyers about possible meth residue in the vehicle; and 36 states do not require hotels to disclose meth contamination.

Where does Iowa fall in these categories?  It's one of a handful of states which doesn't require notification in any of these four categories.  Sounds like a topic to discuss with your state legislators!

So thanks for your question, Elly!"