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New Zealand's Independent
Testing Rental Properties
DSNZ - Testing Between Tenancies to keep everyone safe
32,000 Properties have been Contaminated in the last 10 years.
Latest Ministry of Health information tells us that 10% of 18-24 year olds and almost 8% of 25-34 year olds use stimulants including methamphetamine. The numbers are three times as bad for cannabis use.
The Home Owners and Buyers Association says: “New Zealand leads the world in meth usage and 70% of the meth consumed in New Zealand is made here. Of the meth labs Police find 75% (2009 figures) are found in rental properties.
”In the last 10 years, the average number of meth labs found by Police is 160. Estimates place this as being between 5 and 10% of the number in operation at any one time. On these figures, and assuming these meth labs stay in one place, in the last 10 years, as many as 32,000 locations will have been contaminated by the toxic chemicals that are associated with meth being ‘cooked’.
“However, most meth labs in New Zealand are small and highly mobile. They literally move around. One meth ‘cook’ and their ‘lab’ have the potential to contaminate tens if not hundreds of locations in any given year.
”Hotels, motels, holiday parks, baches, even cars are all used as places in which to cook meth.
“It is investment property though which tops the ‘busted’ meth lab statistics.
“The precise number of properties contaminated by meth and meth cooking residues is unknown. It is an illegal act that attracts a decent jail sentence so it is typically not something which is advertised. What is known is that there are thousands of properties and locations around New Zealand that have been used as meth labs.
”Owning and living in these properties is both bad for your health and your wallet.”
A Drug Screen Testing Programme is your best protection.
Step 1 - Test before Buying
Save yourself time, money and loads of trouble by having Drug Safe NZ test before you buy a property.
When making a conditional offer on a property, insist on adding a clause to your offer document that you will have the property tested and that a non negative result means you will either not proceed with the purchase or the vendor can clean the property to an acceptable standard.
Drug Safe NZ have a standard clause available that you can use. John Reid, one of the owners of Drug Safe NZ, has qualifications and experience in real estate sales and property investment and can advise you about this if needed.
If buying at auction, it’s a bit trickier, because you are buying unconditionally. So before the auction, along with a builder’s report, get Drug Safe NZ to do a sceening test for methamphetamine contamination.
It really is better to be safe than sorry.
If you test before buying you can then be confident your property is safe for you, your family or your tenants to live in.
Step 2 - Test before Renting
It is really, really important that you establish a baseline before a tenant moves in. You have to be able to show that the property was uncontaminated prior the tenancy commencing.
If your property becomes contaminated, then you need to be able to show who was responsible. A conviction for cooking meth means some serious jail time. No-one is going to just put their hand up and “Yep, it was me!” Without a baseline test you cannot hold your tenant responsible for the damage.
If you have not yet taken this step, then testing at the next inspection is highly recommended.
Meth labs can be located in all kinds of rental properties, from the lower value homes to some in very nice areas with a high capital value. Cooks are more likely to be of high intelligence and are often pretty well educated. You can’t tell just by looking.
Drug Safe NZ keep a detailed record of the exact locations tested so the same locations can be tested every time - giving you proof positive of any contamination during a tenancy.
Step 3 - Test between tenants
After the baseline test has established your property to be free of contaminates, then it is essential to test after a tenant moves out and before a new tenant moves in.
You also have to make sure your tenants know the testing will take place. If they know you will be testing, the chances of them smoking or manufacturing ‘P’in your property is greatly reduced. They do not want to be caught, and they certainly don’t want to have to pay the costs of cleaning up the mess.
Drug Safe NZ adheres to Ministry of Health Guidelines and tests a minimum of five locations in every property.
Results are pretty much instant - a verbal report is available within 30 minutes and a comprehensive written report will be issued within 24 hours.
In the event of all sites testing negative for contamination, Drug Safe NZ will also issue a DRUG SAFE Certificate for your property.
This will confirm the tests have been checked and verified.
If there is a non-negative result there is a procedure to follow to have follow-up evidential tests done.Subject to the owner's approval, we will place this sticker on the front door of your rental property as a constant reminder to the tenants.