As property managers, we work for owners and investors of property and so it is our job to ensure their property provides consistently good returns and doesn’t decrease in value over time. But, there’s something quietly taking place all over New Zealand, something invisible, and it has the potential to turn a great investment into a bad one – methamphetamine!
On 29 June 2017, Standards New Zealand released NZS 8510:2017, relating to “Testing and Decontamination of Methamphetamine Contaminated Properties”
Application of this standard will provide assurance that activities such as screening, testing, assessing, and decontamination of contaminated properties and disposal of their contents are carried out following set procedures.
The standard was developed by a committee of 21 experts across relevant industries in the public and private sector. These included sampling and testing operators, decontamination contractors, property investors and property managers, the insurance sector, local authorities, public health authorities and laboratories. Central and local government were also represented.
Download the New Zealand Standard NZS 8510:2017
Methamphetamine Risk Management
We believe best practice in this area is underpinned by ensuring that every house has a baseline methamphetamine test to determine that it is methamphetamine free or should there be any methamphetamine present that it is under the habitability level of 1.5mcgs. To achieve this, we test each new house as it comes into our property management portfolio and then continue to test each property in between tenancies. In doing this we can ensure that tenants are residing in houses that are safe from uninhabitable methamphetamine levels and therefore there is no risk to a landlord of a claim for compensation for providing accommodation which was contaminated with Methamphetamine.
Secondly, should a tenant engage in the illegal activity of using or manufacturing methamphetamine in one of our properties, baseline testing ensures that we can clearly demonstrate that the methamphetamine damage has been caused by the incumbent tenant. We are much more likely to be successful at the tenancy tribunal in achieving an order against a tenant for such damages with quality baseline evidence demonstrating that the damage occurred during the current tenancy.
The potential cost to you if your property is found to be contaminated is far too great to avoid the relatively much lower cost of having pre and post tenancy tests carried out. Through this process, stringent tenant selection processes and good record keeping it’ll be straight-forward to prove which tenants are responsible, making your cost recovery much more likely.
We are advising all our landlords to seek independent advice, particularly from their insurer, if they are not willing to have their property included in the new testing regime.