On a recent episode of CBC Marketplace, the crew teamed up with Canadian construction icon Mike Holmes in a hidden camera investigation to see if home inspectors would notice the obvious signs that a home had been previously used in a massive marijuana grow operation.
When a home is used as a grow-op, there are serious consequences like toxic black mould, breaking of the foundation, holes cut just about anywhere and rewiring that poses a significant fire hazard, all of which are structurally devastating. In fact, grow-ops are almost 40 times more likely to catch fire than a regular home.
The largest problem with these modifications is that they’re easy to cover up and sell off to unsuspecting buyers. Because Canada’s real estate disclosure laws are relatively undeveloped, sellers do not necessarily have to disclose certain problems to potential buyers, which is why home inspectors are summoned to make sure the house is suitable for living in and that the buyers won’t have to deal with additional problems down the road.
Even when paying money for a professional home inspection, if these factors are overlooked, it may cost the homeowner thousands of dollars to make the necessary repairs. In the CBC investigation, not one of four home inspectors brought in to conduct full inspections of the former grow-op home caught the signs: patches in the ceiling covering extra ventilation, mould in the attic caused by extreme humidity and gaping holes in the floors fixed up with nothing but flimsy plywood.
Home inspections are an unregulated industry in most of Canada, and only British Columbia requires that home inspectors are licensed. Home inspections provide some protection, but not many home inspectors are trained in recognizing the signs that a home was used in a grow-op.
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