"Mom's meth lab" - Part Two
December 4, 2010 12:54 PM   Subscribe

Related to this question. My mom can't afford to clean her property that housed a meth lab. It is somewhere around 15,000 dollars for the clean up plus whatever amount she would have to pay to replace appliances, carpet, ductwork, etc... What is the best option now?

Should she let the bank foreclose? Is the bank allowed to foreclose? What other options would be legally available?
posted by josher71 to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How much does she owe the bank, relative to the amount the property is worth as-is? She could sell it as-is, disclosing its flaws, and perhaps someone will buy it to either knock down & rebuild, or to restore it.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:24 PM on December 4, 2010

She may be able to get some assistance through the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services, with offers help with meth lab decontamination. Contact info is here.
posted by carmicha at 1:48 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

If she's within the city boundaries of Nashville, try this page and this page for a start. Look for similar things at the county and state level, and on the main Nashville page.

Basically, governments have an interest in there being well-kept housing stock and places for people to rent, for people of every income level. So, they find ways to subsidize repairs and purchases for people who can't otherwise afford to do so, and for people who agree to do so in a way that accomplishes some city goal (provide affordable housing, revitalize attractive historic buildings), particularly in a target neighborhood. Sometimes the subsidies are loans, sometimes grants. A lot will be for low-income owner-occupants, so if she would want to move there for awhile (maybe after cleanup?), it could be easier. Otherwise, just stress that she provides very affordable rents in this up-and-coming area.

You can peruse the city, county, and state websites. I'd also make a few calls to the smallest geographic area that applies, ie the City if she's officially within their boundaries and otherwise the county. Call the long-range planning / community development department (not the planning counter), the housing agency, the redevelopment agency, and if the house has architectural value, a historic preservation board. Explain the story and ask their help in finding a program she qualifies for. Depending on the agency, they may be strict about their criteria, or if their program is under-subscribed and they have some discretion, they might be a bit flexible. The City Council or other politicians might be able to help suggest an exception be made. (No matter who you're talking to, don't say "can you make an exception to the rules?" because that sounds like "would you like to waste taxpayers' money and be publicly shamed as an example of public corruption?" but just to explain how she's been a victim of these guys and wants to do right by the community but really cannot afford it, and ask if there are any programs that she might qualify for.)

Here's a brainstorm of a few other ideas:
- HUD has a few repair grant programs here, including USDA's rural grant program.
- Does her insurance not cover this?
- Is there a victims of crime fund that she might qualify for?
- Brownfield cleanup loans might be found via federal or state EPA
- If she's headed toward foreclosure anyway, she might be able to use some of the "avoid foreclosure" programs out there now. For instance, if a homeowner who had lost their job was now able to pay again, one program allows them to tack the delinquent amount on at the end, or make it up over the next few months. If she stops paying and instead uses the money for cleanup, she might be able to get back in the bank's good graces that way. As I say, last resort.
posted by salvia at 6:58 PM on December 4, 2010

Is this not something that her insurance would cover? For example if her tenants had burned the house down or left a tap on and it flooded her insurance would cover this right? Don't landlords usually get insurance to protect them from damage caused by tenants?
posted by saradarlin at 11:06 PM on December 4, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the responses and I will definitely take your advice, Salvia.

Her insurance has flatly denied paying out on this.
posted by josher71 at 8:44 AM on December 5, 2010

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