False Grow Op Rumour Kills House Sale

Marijuana Grow OpIf you learn that your home was once owned by a drug dealer, must you disclose that to a potential buyer when you sell?

Donald and Jodi Dietrich bought a home in Winterbourne, Ont. in 2001. They were told by a neighbour several years later that an earlier owner was a drug dealer. In 2007, the Dietrichs contacted Waterloo Regional Police because they had heard that their property had been a grow house. The police told them there was no record of any grow op on the property.

They sold their home on January 31, 2010 to Mark and Elizabeth Leech for $655,000, with a $10,000 deposit. The deal was scheduled to close on May 14, 201. They did not say anything about the rumours, but before closing, the buyers also heard that a prior owner was a drug dealer.

The Leechs also went to the Waterloo Regional Police who told them the property had been identified as having a “clandestine or secret lab”. On March 29, 1995 a large quantity of hash oil was seized at the property although police did not find any grow operation or meth lab.

The Leechs wanted out of the deal. They argued that since the sellers must have known about this, they had a legal duty to disclose it and since they didn’t, the deal was off. More


It’s interesting that this wasn’t about whether there was any harm done to the house, it was about whether the owner knew about drug activities in the house and therefore should have disclosed. Even though the owners eventually won the lawsuit I wonder, if they had a chance to do it again, might they decide it’s better to disclose and avoid all the cost & stress. When in doubt, disclose!