Hamilton-based alcohol and drug testing company, Resultz Group says meth testing has become essential for home buyers, property investors and landlords in New Zealand.
Between June 2016 and March 2017, the company conducted approximately 120 property meth tests in the Waikato region, and discovered 30 of those were contaminated to some degree with methamphetamine (including seven at excessive levels).
“The problem with meth (P) contamination is a lot wider than the general public think,” says Resultz Group managing director Kyly Coombes. “It is a real concern for property owners, and our testing services are increasingly in demand in this area.”
This financial year, Resultz Group’s property meth testing numbers are projected to increase by 670 standard tests and 134 detailed assessments in the Waikato region and beyond, which Coombes believes the company will meet.
“We have been so busy with requests to meth-test properties in the Waikato area alone that we’ve had to expand our operations, and have added three new testing technicians to our team.”
She advises homeowners and investors to get a full report prior to purchasing a property.
“Make sure you get a good-quality test and go with a reputable provider,” she said. “Choose one where you get more than just a detection of methamphetamine because if meth is detected and more analysis is needed, this can cost you more in the long run.”
According to Coombes, laboratory composite testing is the best meth testing option for property owners because it determines any level of methamphetamine at a property. This includes a full lab report, description of the property, photos of the areas sampled, explanations of what is included in the report, and recommendations for further action.
She added that the Government’s new standard for the testing and decontamination of methamphetamine-contaminated properties, released by Standards New Zealand in June, will help to weed ‘cowboys’ from the industry.
“The new standard is important, as it means homeowners and investors will have greater assurance that the practices used to screen, test, assess and decontaminate methamphetamine-contaminated properties are carried out to a high standard.”
Before the standards were announced, three different levels were being used in the industry, which created complexities around recommendations for remediation and insurance requirements.
The new standard has a set limit of 1.5 micrograms of methamphetamine per 100cm² of surface sampled. With the new standard in place, if methamphetamine is detected at or above that limit in high use areas of a property, the property must be decontaminated, regardless of whether it was involved in the production or use of methamphetamine.
Samples are taken from every room in the property over an area of 100cm², then sent to an IANZ accredited laboratory for analysis.
“Laboratory Composition testing will tell you the true averages across the property and calculate the worst-case scenario,” she said. “We believe that people deserve to live in meth-free properties and testing, through a reliable provider, is essential to ensure homes are safe to live in.”
Tips for landlords
As a starting point, landlords should check what the requirements are for meth claims with their insurance company as company policies can vary.
Coombes recommends getting a baseline test before tenants move in and carrying out a second test before the tenants move out.
If meth is not detected when the tenant moves in but is detected when they move out, the landlord will know exactly who has contaminated the property and will be in a better position to take action if further steps like prosecution are required.
“A baseline test at the start will also show you’re proactive as a landlord and could deter potential Meth users from renting the property,” said Coombes.