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How to check for ‘P’ in your investment property

By Simone Anderson

Meth infested properties are being described as the new ‘leaky house crisis’ across Auckland – so how do you keep your investment property safe? Here are our top tips on how to spot meth use in your property and how to prevent any future damage.

How do you detect Meth in the home
Meth can be very difficult to detect yourself, but there are some clear signs that most people can easily spot. Some of the specific things to look for include:
-Drug use paraphernalia like glass pipes, small zip lock bags, needles, swabs
-Lots of empty bottles of cleaning products around the property with labels removed
-The blinds or curtains at the property are constantly closed throughout the day
-There are dogs at the property who shouldn’t be there
-A sticky, yellow/brown residue coats the walls of the property
-Dark, brown rings surround the drains at the property (in the sinks or outdoor drains)
-A chemical smell or a smell of strong cleaning products lingers throughout the property

What are the health implications of Meth use in my property
There can be dire consequences to anyone who enters a home contaminated with Methamphetamine. Some people have severe reactions to the chemicals, causing extreme headaches, shivering, burning skin, blurred vision, nausea and restricted breathing. It is very dangerous to invite people into a home if you suspect that there has been ‘P’ manufacturing – if landlords rent out a property that is contaminated by ‘P’, they are breaching their obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, as well as other legislation such as the NZS 8510

Your best strategy is to prevent your house from being contaminated, or to protect yourself if your tenants do cause Methamphetamine damage to your property.

Get your home tested for Methamphetamine
The lab test is being credited by REINZ as the most reliable indicator of Meth presence in your home. Lab tests take samples from each section of your home to isolate the affected areas – patch tests don’t take extensive samples of the home, which can make them less reliable.

We would highly recommend that every landlord have their home tested for Methamphetamine; the monetary cost is not high, the clear result will give you peace of mind, but it will also protect you from insurance woes. If you didn’t test your property for presence of ‘P’ before your current tenants moved in and they caused ‘P’ related damage, most insurance companies would be reluctant to insure you against those tenants as you couldn’t definitively prove that they had caused the damage.

How often should you get your property tested?
It is recommended that you test your home for ‘P’ at the start of a new tenancy and at least once during the tenancy – this will ensure you are covered by your insurance company. It is currently your choice if you want to test for ‘P’ during the course of a tenancy, but you want to ensure you have the right to do this – place a Methamphetamine testing clause in your tenancy agreement to ensure you have the consent of the tenants before they move in.

If you want to avoid all of the effects of ‘P’ on your property, you can ensure you get the best possible tenants by running thorough reference and credit checks before they sign the agreement – your local Property Manager, Simone Anderson can help you find the ideal tenants, offering casual lets or full property management services to help you avoid the stress of Methamphetamine in your house.

Get in touch today if you would like further information – we’re always here to help with obligation-free advice.

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