Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Group formed to protect against drug-house purchases

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A working group has been created to come up with recommendations for how the Manitoba government can better protect consumers from unwittingly purchasing a property that once housed a marijuana grow-op or drug lab.

"This is a good step forward towards doing the right thing to better protect consumers and to help create safer, healthier communities," Manitoba Real Estate Association CEO Brian Collie said. "We are pleased to work together to find appropriate solutions."

The decision to form a working group composed of government and real-estate industry officials and experts was arrived at during a meeting Monday between MREA officials, provincial Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux and senior finance department staff.

It was decided that over the summer, government and MREA staff will look at what other jurisdictions and other real-estate boards and associations are doing to address the issue. The working group will then reconvene in the fall to review the information and draw up recommendations for government.

The MREA said last month it would like to establish a central registry where consumers and real-estate agents can go to see a police-generated list of properties that have been used as drug- production sites. It also wants the provincial government to establish standards for how such properties should be cleaned up.

It noted the Manitoba Securities Commission requires real-estate agents to disclose whenever they are aware a property was once used as a drug-production site. But there are no up-to-date records available realtors and consumers can check for this type of information.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 11, 2014 B5

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