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IREM chapter receives tips on combatting drug traffic.

The war on drugs must be waged not only in the streets of America but also in our office buildings and residential properties.

That was the message delivered by Kenneth McCreary, a special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, speaking at the February monthly Luncheon Seminar of the Institute of Real Estate Management Greater New York Chapter No. 26.

McCreary said American businesses are paying a high price for not properly dealing with drugs in the workplace. "Drug abusers are late to work three times as often as other workers," he said. "They have two and one-half times the rate of absenteeism, and they file five times as many workers compensation claims."

He noted, for example, that a major airline recently lost $19 million in reservations because an employee who was using drugs had entered incorrect data in the airline's computer system. "And this loss was passed on to you, the consumer," he said.

For real estate professionals, the drug problem is most acutely felt by those who manage residential properties. McCreary said rental properties that have drug dealers as tenants face decreased property values and extensive property damage from toxic contamination, fires and police raids. Some properties face seizure by federal authorities.

In order to deter drug traffickers in rental properties, McCreary offered these guidelines:

1. Keep your property visible and well lighted. Use see-through fencing

2. Screen potential tenants by asking for a photo identification, Social Security card and a credit check

3. Conduct periodic inspections of the property. Watch out for unusually large quantities of items in the garbage such as aluminum foil and baking soda which are used in homemade drug labs

4. Have your lawyer review your rental contracts to make sure they are properly worded regarding grounds for eviction

5. Keep a paper trail of all transactions with tenants

6. Know how to work with the police. Identify your local community affairs officer

7. Check with your insurance agent to make sure your property insurance policy covers for damage due to drug raids
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Title Annotation:U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Kenneth McCreary advises Institute of Real Estate Management Greater New York Chapter No. 26
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Mar 31, 1993
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