Can of Worms: Now Open

You know when big changes are happening in your life, and part of you wants to scream ‘NOOOO!!’ and halt the world on its axis to keep things the same as always, but the other part of you says ‘Grow up– it’s not so bad and it’s totally normal to feel anxious about things like this’?

And then you move into a new place and clean it and scrub it like it’s never been cleaned in 70 years, and all this time part of you is thinking ‘I don’t know if everything is OK here’ but the other part of you says ‘Grow up and stop making excuses. You’ll be fine’?’

And so you clean and scrub some more and notice that something still smells off in the house and that your eyes feel a little bit puffy. You also note, with some alarm, that your dear partner’s lungs seem to be congesting, and part of you screams ‘NOOOOOOOO!’ and thinks that something is wrong, but the other part of you says ‘Grow up and stop overreacting– there must be some perfectly logical reason for all of this’?

And then you carry on and find that you will actually enjoy living in your new house. You begin to envision everything in its place and look forward to finally having an office and studio space to call your own? There are baby lambs and produce stands everywhere, and really, what could be wrong with that?

Then the landlord drops by and casually mentions in conversation that your new rental home used to be a marijuana grow operation, and you don’t really think much of it until you talk to your father-in-law the next day, who goes on and on about mould contamination and houses being condemned in Calgary?  Then part of you screams ‘NOOOOOOOO!’ and the other part of you screams ‘GROW OP!!’?

So you do some research on the internet and find all sorts of horrible things that can befall former grow op houses (mould, toxic chemical contamination, electrical issues, corroded pipes, etc.), and then the plastic over the windows, the staples in the ceiling, and that funny smell start making a whole lot more sense?

So you phone the landlord and ask if a health and safety inspection has been performed in the house to make sure that it is safe for human occupancy. And he gets upset and tells you that he doesn’t think such a test is necessary or that he’s willing to pay for such a test to be performed. And then you remind him that such thorny issues have lots of legal implications and that he could end up losing the house altogether if something is drastically wrong with it and if he had former knowledge of this illegal grow op that took place inside the house? So he changes his mind and tells you that he will hire a private firm to do some air test for mould, but you are already thinking that things are too far gone and that you don’t feel safe breathing in all of these mould spores?

So you resolve that you will need to look for new rental spaces and start the moving process all. over. again., even though it took forever to move all your crap out here and even though you’ve spent hours and hours cleaning this wretched former grow op house? And even though this is the worst possible time of the year to be moving (again), what with Harbour season starting up and all? And even though you’re not sure if you can recover any of your moving costs or rent, even if the house is deemed unsafe?


I hate it when that happens.

7 responses

  1. dude, phone the gubment IMMEDIATELY. even faster than that. it sucks but those places are rendered inhabitable for lots of reasons. if he rented it to you knowing it was grow op, you may be able to get him to pay for your next move (if it comes to that) by movers etc.


    I’m so sorry this is happening, but at least you found out now, not 6 months from now when you are both sick.


  2. Holy crap. And here we were all loving the daffodils and lambs just mere minutes ago!!!!!!!!!

    It’s not a safe place for you guys to live there. A while ago, I saw a Marketplace episode about grow op homes being sold. Not exactly what your situation is, but a pretty intriguing story about grow op homes in general.

    Moving sucks, but it’s better than living in a grow op. I bet your new NEW place won’t have you scrubbing your oven and you’ll lots of lamby neighbours still. 🙂 Good luck!

  3. Ugh. Good for you guys to take action and get your landlord to do what should have been done before he tried to rent the place out! Good luck with the search for a new home. If you are ever om need a place to crash in the city, you are always welcome here.

  4. Good GOD, you’re kidding right?! You might want to start house-hunting right away no matter what….?! Get out of there May 1st or even April 15th if you can??

  5. This is a nightmare story, like the babysitter who has the police trace the threatening calls and they tell her ‘ They’re coming from inside the house ‘ Eeeeeeehhhh ! !

    I’m guessing your first priority now is finding something new. If you haven’t seen it before, a useful reference source:

    Good luck and if there is any way I can help, let me know.

  6. Keep good account of your costs and time spent.
    Strikes me that the landlord’s omission/delay in informing you of such an important issue should provide you with a strong claim for all your health-driven concerns, actions and expenses.

  7. I am anavid reader of your blog but have never commented…until now. We were in your position 7 years ago and I felt compelled to say I agree you should leave now. We stayed for 5 months and we were sick the entire time. It was a nightmare. Seek legal counsel and report your landlord to the landlord tenant board immediately. Good luck!!!!

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