When is Meth Testing Necessary?

July 12, 2016

Due to the increasing number of people trying and using meth in New Zealand and the popularity of shows like Breaking Bad, meth testing has become a hotly contested topic among landlords, real estate agents and property managers. I’m sure you’ve read the articles about unsuspecting homeowners who purchased a home, only to discover that it is contaminated with meth and making their family sick. While these stories tug at the heartstrings, industry members are beginning to wonder if too big a fuss has been made over the issue of meth contamination. 

If you’re a landlord, you want to protect your property and the health of future tenants. Is routine meth testing the answer? In today’s article, we’ll discuss when and how often meth testing should be performed.

Is meth contamination damaging my property?

Many landlords are understandably concerned about the impact that meth use could have on the value of their rental property. In a recent article on Stuff.co.nz, Dr. Nick Kim, an environmental chemistry professor at Massey University offers some reassuring words that may allay some concerns around meth contamination. Based on his research, he believes that meth use inside a home will not cause lasting harm to the property or affect the health of future occupants.

Let’s look at some of the points in the article. Firstly, the article suggests that less than 1% of people in New Zealand are using meth, which equates to fewer than 16,000 households. Based on this, it’s more reasonable to assume that your tenants are NOT using meth, rather than the opposite. Dr. Kim also explains that the level of contamination that requires remediation (0.5 micrograms per 100cm2) would only occur if a meth lab had been operating on the property. Even if a lab has been operating, he claims that the level would still be 24 times lower than a level that could affect the health of subsequent residents. It is important to bear in mind that this is Dr. Kim’s own personal opinion on this matter – there will be differing opinions from other experts in the field.

Our stance on meth testing

Our government is currently developing a new standard that will include recommendations around testing for meth contamination. The committee held their first meeting in late June 2016 and plans to release a draft standard for public comment in October – November 2016. Our hope is that this standard will provide landlords and property mangers with clear guidelines on when and how to conduct meth testing, which will greatly benefit to our community.

How we can help

One of the ways that First Avenue Property takes an active role in determining that the property is not being used for illegal purposes is by performing routine property inspections of each property that we manage. Every 3 months, we enter the property to ensure it is being taken care of and that everything is in good working order. If we have any concern about illegal activities being conducted on the premises, we will discuss next steps with the landlord immediately. According to the Residential Tenancies Act, legislation requires us to give 48 hours’ notice to the tenant before entering the property.

Many of our landlords would rather err on the side of caution when it comes to protecting the value of their property. MethMinder is a popular product who Meth Solutions are an advocate of, and this can be arranged through them. MethMinder is a silent alarm system designed to detect the manufacture of methamphetamine in a property. If you have any concerns about meth being used or produced on your property, we encourage you to call us so we can discuss how First Avenue Property can help. 



Home inspection by Mark Moz, CC BY 2.0



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