It’s time for us to get back to basics. We’re well into the second half of the year and the attention the meth testing industry has received provides a great opportunity for us to remind everyone why we created Meth Testing New Zealand and why testing is so important.
We regularly come across properties showing levels above all internationally accepted guidelines, including the proposed 15µg/100cm2 here in NZ. Although the levels may go up, this won’t eliminate the issue of meth contaminated properties being rented out when they are uninhabitable.
While there has been increased focus and debate over the acceptable level, what has been omitted from the discussion is the reason sampling started in the first place – as a best practice measure.
Why test pre and between tenancies?
Two simple reasons – the Residential Tenancies Act and the Tenancy Tribunal.
- Failing to have a rental property tested pre or between tenancies has left many owners liable for some hefty costs.
- In the last year there has been a significant increase in tenants having their properties independently tested, with many of the results above the acceptable standard (and proposed 15µg/100cm2). This often results in the property owner and/or property manager being taken through the Tenancy Tribunal for damages.
- The RTA amendments bill seeks to add further exemplary damages for properties knowingly rented out as “contaminated”.
We have seen several tenancy tribunal orders where contamination was found during a tenancy but without a pre-tenancy test the application against the tenant was not successful. This left the owners with the cost to decontaminate and reinstate the property themselves.
If there’s one thing we want you to take away from our experience over the last 3 years, it’s that whether the acceptable level is 1.5 or 15, the duty of care you have to your owners is best covered by recommending a proactive approach.
There will always be a level of methamphetamine that is unsafe and the implications for landlords and property managers will remain the same.