“Be Careful Where You Rent”

“I am currently looking for a house to rent for my family. We refuse to buy in this market. I always google the address of the place before I even call if I am interested. A lot of times it comes up as recently sold (this happens A LOT). It is a little scary when this comes up, because the house being bought more times than not is for speculative reasons.
This one was a whole different story. The house was a grow op… twice!
Be careful where you rent!”

– from ‘anonymous’ via e-mail 1 May 2012

The address is the same in the two documents.
– vreaa

22 responses to ““Be Careful Where You Rent”

  1. Can somone enlighten me why grow op houses are to be avoided? Are they unfit to live in after being cleaned up?

    • Thanks – unsavory characters showing up at your door all hours of the day is good enough reason to avoid them unless the discount was significant.

      I had thought the buildings become structurally unsound or something along those lines.

      • Unsavory characters showing up at your door all hours of the day?? Clearly you have no idea how hard these farmers try to keep the location of their crop a secret. Also growing plants indoors will not make homes structurally unsound.

      • Depends on how long the grow op was in the house, therefore how much damage. But some can and are cleaned up. The first property we rented in W. Vancouver was a renovated one. We were unaware that it had been a grow op when we rented it (never occurred to us to ask, we were moving to an affluent neighbourhood, niave!!!) Our neighbour, with WVPD, told us that the city would have to approve it to be habitable again. After a year, the owner decided to sell (this is the downside to renting in Vancouver) so we moved a few blocks away. This house had also been renovated. Then we found out from those neighbors that the previous owner had been a mid level drug dealer and there had been a big bust in the house, guns, weapons and drugs were seized. When we asked the owner about this, he sheepishly confessed that was why there was a fortified door in the master bedroom! Quite unnerving to know that you could be mistaken for a drug dealer. Believe it or not the quality of rental stock is very poor in Vancouver. Very hard to find a 3 bedroom apartment that will take a small dog. So your only option is a house. I find it hard to hear myself say that the housing stock in Hong Kong is better than in Vancouver, but that is our experience.

        The history of the property will be an issue whether you buy or rent. Grow ops are big business in Vancouver. Next time you are in town, pay close attention to tne number of houses you see that have a notice attached to the front door. You will be surprised at how many there are. I also heard from a federal prosecutor, a neighbour, that grow ops were very common in W. Van because the houses were often set further back from the street and often hidden by trees. Go figure. I thought we moving to a nice safe neighbourhood!

      • @Joe, you’re right, I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking…

      • @DM, how did you know I was thinking of a dog too when I move back? 🙂

      • You will notice that people in HK love their dogs and renting to a dog owner is not a problem. Vancouver: very very difficult, Strangely there is quite an anti dog feeling here. Disclaimer: this is my perspective only!!

        If you want to talk more (and my intention is NOT to put you off, but rather to give you my experience as a returning Vancouverite), please feel free to contact me through VREAA. I flew in to YVR yesterday for family but will be back in HK at the end of the month and be pleased to buy you and the other half a cocktail. Cheers.

      • Damage would depend on the techniques used in the grow op, which if done properly would not cause any. A lot of these growers are willing to cut corners, not bother fixing things and when they do, its a shoddy reno and potentially hazardous one. You could label them the slumlords of the farming world.

    • I lived at 21st & Macdonald for a number of years – at one time there were four grow-ops on our one little block. The one directly next to us was described by the police as one of the most sophisticated operations they had ever seen. The plumbing had all been removed to use the sanitary sewers as vents. Long story short, after the rehab had been approved by the city and a foolish 40ish couple bought it knowing that it was an ex-grow house, it turned out that none of the hidden plumbing connections had been done correctly. The house flooded every time it rained (and sometimes when it didn’t). The new owners paid over $30,000 to have the plumbing all re-done, yard dug up etc. They also had to re-do the chimney because it had been damaged from being used as a vent as well. The house had been cosmetically re-done after the grow-op was busted but nothing substantial had been repaired – leaving a ticking time bomb of problems, so yes these houses can be unfit to live in even after being “rehabbed”.

  2. I’m sure there are several reasons. Personally, I would be concerned about a home invasion. Criminals don’t always do their research and they may still think this location is an active grow site.

  3. Aside from the obvious, even after a cleanup is done, there is no guarantee there isn’t still black mold lurking, the other downside is the unsavory characters that may show up at your door who are familiar with the house and possible entry points.
    We once went to view a place where there was a rude note to prospective visitors that so and so no longer lived there. It was clear that the previous tenants were up to something. I’m pretty sure they never rented the place until they at least took that sign down… Some people are dumber than dirt.

  4. proven income ptty … f1? t’es la?

  5. On the flip side I would add, be careful who you rent to.

  6. Very interesting!

    Such reports can be obtained by the City of Vancouver at the following link.

    There are 209 search results.

  7. I unknowningly rented and lived in a former grow op house in marpol. After months of asthma related issues we finally figured out what was the cause. The drywall in the basement was soft and musty smelling, I pushed it with the thumb and it just gave way it was so mushy. In the walls behind the drywall it was totally black with mold.
    The landlord didn’t want to deal with it. City health inspectors didn’t have the authority to do anything about it. Eventually we just moved out and walked away from the place rather than try to fight to get it fixed, as it would require a complete gutting.

  8. “A lot of times it comes up as recently sold”

    Yes, this is what we experienced recently as a renter too.

    • As I mentioned in numerous posts this past summer and fall, my husband and I almost could not find a single landlord (on the West Side; we both work there) who would guarantee a tenancy of more than a year, because we met landlord after landlord who was planning to sell the house. WHen we asked how long we could stay, “Depends on market” was the standard reply, or a version of it. One property manager who said he had multiple West Side properties for rent assured us that “The days of being able to rent as long as 3 or 4 years are over.”

      This spring we saw “For Sale” signs on a number of houses we had inquired about renting last summer!

      Anyone new to this column looking for a rental: the safest places are apartment buildings run by professional management companies. Anywhere else, no matter what the landlord says now, you may be turfed out if speculation is in the picture.

      Finally, I know of at least one nice family (mother and two teenagers) who were renting a place near I think Trafalgar and 39th (in the heart of Kerrisdale) and discovered that the sweet bungalow nearly across the street from a church at that intersection was a grow-op. (Sign appeared on the door indicating such and bungalow has since been demolished for new build.)

  9. I am a contractor, and have worked many jobs for Canstar and Edenvale and Belfor Restorations, etc. There are 2 major health concerns with grow ops: Faulty wiring that is a fire hazard (and many of the grow ops we had to rebuild were burnt to a crisp) and also black mold from the humidity which can kill you and/or create long lasting health problems such as lung disease, cognitive dysfunction, etc,. You probably wouldn’t be surprised at who runs these things. Sometimes old ladies. We had to rebuild the whole upper floor of a well known Portuguese deli on boundary street 8 or so years ago. They were selling breads downstairs the whole time and had hundreds of plants upstairs growing when a fire broke out due to faulty wiring.

  10. Finding a rental property for my son, I found the “perfect” house that I discovered was “just sold”. The rent seemed too good to be true, and when we phoned the “landlord” he told us that we could not see the property as he had not taken possession, but he would take the deposit so that we would “save our place”. A bit more research showed that this was a sham. It seemed that the “just sold” status was a pre-text to refusing entry.

  11. Be careful where you rent… and if buy you must, be really careful…

    This morning’s OutstandingGraphicTreat! is, doubtless, not a feature coming soon to the REBGV’s MLS™ network….

    [CBC] – Homicides in Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley (2009 – 2012)


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