Is Meth Property Testing Really Necessary?

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If you plan to buy or rent out a property, you may wonder if meth testing is required. Meth testing was part and parcel of most property purchases in 2015 – mid 2017, but the number of tests has fallen after new guidelines were introduced around what constitutes safe levels in June of 2017. Many properties that failed meth tests back then are now considered safe, even if meth is detected. 

It is widely believed that unless a house has been used to manufacture meth, even if it has been used to consume it, it is likely safe. But is that a fact or a myth?  Resultz Group NZ is a leading provider of workplace and property drug testing and has conducted thousands of meth screening tests on properties across NZ. We asked Managing Director Kyly Coombes what percentages of homes her team screens for meth would be deemed unsafe by today’s guidelines, “Approx. 15% of property tests we are involved with return levels above NZS 8510:2017 threshold, over 30% of properties return detections of methamphetamine contamination”.

Meth is NZ’s Drug of Choice

The use of methamphetamine is widespread in our society. Methamphetamine is the most common illicit drug in New Zealand, according to wastewater sampling conducted by the NZ government. Police in New Zealand tested 37 wastewater plants that supply 80 per cent of the country’s population over a three-month period (November to January). Methamphetamine is the dominant substance. 

Meth Decontamination is an Extremely Expensive and Time Consuming Process 

Methamphetamine contamination poses a real risk to people and properties. Decontamination costs of properties can reach in the tens of thousands of dollars. What’s more, in an already stretched construction industry trying to find contractors to decontaminate and refurbish a property can take some time. 

For peace-of-mind, it is wise to invest in a Meth Screening Test before purchasing a property. Even if Meth is detected, you don’t have to walk away from a much desired property deal; it just means you go into it with your eyes wide open. Of course you can use the results to negotiate a price that takes into account the cost of decontamination, so you’re not left out of pocket. It also means you’re aware of the health risks, and don’t expose yourself or your family to them. 

Is Rental Property Meth Testing Really Necessary?

If you discover that your property has been contaminated by meth, unless you had a baseline test performed prior to your tenants moving in, how do you know they were responsible? Meth testing pre and post tenancy creates a level of tenant accountability should contamination be found during or at the end of their tenancy.

For meth contamination, IAG which underwrites NZI, State and AMI only provides coverage up to $30,000 according to the ‘Your guide to methamphetamine contamination’ document published on their website as at October, 2021. Depending on the extent of contamination, costs to bring a property within safe levels could well exceed this. What’s more, the minimum excess is $2500 – a significant threshold to have to meet. 

Meth testing prior to renting out a property gives you a baseline for your insurance company. According to IAG “As a landlord or property manager, you should regularly check for signs of meth use or manufacture during and between tenancies”.

So, the real question rental property owners need to ask themselves is – could you afford to cover the costs of decontamination if meth is found? If not, do everything you can to protect your investment with meth testing. Meth screening costs as little as $245 which is a small price to pay to safeguard your health and property.