As a landlord, hearing the word ‘Meth (methamphetamine) in your property’ can easily be viewed as a disaster or a nightmare but it is far from the truth. Understanding and seeking the right help can limit the damages or stress caused to landlords and or tenants.
Unfortunately the sleeping giant has woken and the meth issue effecting landlords is becoming a regular occurrence and an issue that most landlords will need to overcome with the help of their property manager. It is just such a prevalent drug more common in households that most people think.
Meth has been in New Zealand for many years but mostly off the radar during the late nineties and early 2000’s until New Zealand saw convicted murderer Antonie Dixon in court with wide eyes and the result of meth use over a long period of time. Since then New Zealanders have known about P (meth) and the dangers that come with it. Police and some gangs are waging war on meth with millions of dollars in meth busts by NZ police. But importing and manufacturing seems to be continuing at an alarming rate with it now hitting landlords and kiwis looking to purchase their own home are also being caught up in this war.
The new recommendations:
- Developed by ESR for Ministry of Health.
- 0.5 per 100sq cm level to remain for homes used as meth labs.
- Threshold increased to 1.5 per 100sq cm in houses where meth smoked which have carpet
- Threshold increased to 2 per 100sq cm in houses where meth smoked but no carpet
- New guidelines indicate houses where P has been smoked could be less dangerous than first thought - something a local real estate agent hopes will alleviate the "fear factor" around meth houses.
- For houses where meth has been smoked but not made, it recommends increasing the level of meth needed to warrant a clean-up by up to four times the previous guidelines.
- And Rotorua real estate agents hope the new regulations will provide more certainty around contamination levels.
- While the level remains at 0.5 micrograms per 100sq cm or higher where meth has been manufactured, it has been increased to 1.5 micrograms in houses where it has been used, and 2 micrograms where meth has only been used and there isn't any carpet.
- The different levels reflect the level of health risk from living in a house where someone smoked meth and living in a house used to manufacture the drug.
- Professionals McDowell Real Estate Rotorua principal Steve Lovegrove said meth contamination was something people feared and a lot didn't understand.
- He said the more government involvement there was in terms of recommendations and levels, the more they could alleviate the "fear factor".
- Landlords also needed more powers to be able to ensure people moved out almost immediately if a property had a high reading.
- First National Real Estate chief executive Bob Brereton, who was in Rotorua today, said the new figures represented "quite a radical shift".
- He said anecdotally more than half of positive tests fell under the 2 microgram level.
Your local Council will determine the extent to which these new MOH recommendations are to be considered acceptable. If you are unsure of the levels in your area contact your local council, seek advice from their environmental health officer or check in with your Inspire property manager.
So what is ‘P’ Meth
P, or pure methamphetamine, is a central nervous system stimulant made from pseudoephedrine. It stimulates the brain to release the "pleasure" chemical dopamine. A normal "high" without drugs releases 100 units and a cocaine buzz about 400 units. P releases about 1250. It creates euphoria or sense of invincibility that can last for up to 12 hours, but can cause paranoia, sleeplessness for days, agitation and hallucinations.
Meth can be abused by anyone in society so don’t judge on job title or where they currently live. As addicts come from all walks of life. Make sure you do proper background checks when finding tenants including police reports.
Inspire have almost a decade worth of experience in placing tenants. We know what to look for and would never recommend a placement unless we felt it was right. It is in our best interest to get the best fit for you and the tenant. We complete extensive checks along with gut feel on all our tenants and do our upmost to avoid placing unsuitable tenants to your property.
How do I know if my property/tenants use meth?
It is not easy to spot a house that is manufacturing or its tenants are using meth hence the reason for testing kits or lab based testing.
New Zealand Police have given a report on things that you can look out for if you suspect your tenants are manufacturing meth.
This is why it is so important to complete regular checks (ever 3 months) on the property like we do at Inspire. Also for insurance claims, some insures now require 3 monthly reports to show you have been regularly checking the property to be able to claim for meth damage.
The challenge that landlords face is having to give 48 hours’ notice to inspect the property. Tenants have time to clean up the lab and dispose of any evidence. So if your tenants are hesitant to let you view the property or won’t let you in the property, certain rooms or the garage these are potential signs there could be drug use. If you can’t get into a room because of a legitimate reason then state that you will come back at such a time to inspect when more convenient. Also another tip is to ask your neighbours if you suspect drug use by your tenants or that they have seen suspicious activity around the property and people coming and going a lot.
Inspire Property Management inspects properties every 3 months completing a thorough inspection and giving landlords a full report. If you manage your own properties and don’t do 3 monthly checks we highly recommend to speak to one of our team in your area. We are here to protect your asset.
Written by Anyos, the director who is the main driving force behind the Inspire Property Management national brand