2017 was a big year for the meth testing industry with the introduction of NZS 8510.
In this month’s blog, we’re offering our top tips for smarter, more efficient testing decisions in the hopes they’ll save you time and money. MTNZ will continue to adhere to NZS 8510, and be actively involved in changes to our industry because we believe our industry should strive for consistency and best practice.
We’ve divided our tips into sections depending on whether you own, manage or sell property. These tips are applicable to all areas of the property industry so we encourage property managers and real estate agents to share them with their clients.
Tips for property managers:
· Understand the different sampling methods available.
Since MTNZ was established in 2015, we’ve sampled over 7500 properties. We’ve heard countless horror stories of testing and decontamination which has been undertaken at great and unnecessary cost simply because the process has not been well explained and clients have not understood what is required.
As there are a number of sampling methods available, and different requirements under NZS 8510:2017, we recommend you speak to your meth testing provider and make sure you understand the benefits and limitations of the different sampling options.
· Be inquisitive when taking on new property.
Ask new clients whether they are aware of meth contamination, or if the property has ever been tested for meth.
We’ve seen property management companies unknowingly take on meth-contaminated properties. Often the landlord has switched management companies in an attempt to get out of having the property decontaminated or they’ve painted the property to disguise the levels.
Tips for real estate agents:
· Test, and decontaminate if required, before a property goes to market.
It’s a lot easier to be on the front foot and resolve a contamination issue with a property off the market. As meth testing becomes more popular for pre-purchase, clients have found the marketing and sale process is so much easier if you’re not having to pull a property from the market because of decontamination. We’re starting to see real estate agencies have this conversation with their vendors more and more which is great.
· Test before renovations.
One of the biggest issues with pre-purchase sampling is when a property has been recently renovated. Sampling a newly decorated property is difficult and if there are no original surfaces available, and sampling on new paint is the only option, the result may give a false negative (paint can hide contamination which may eventually leach through).
Ideally if a property can be sampled prior to the painting, the vendors can show proof of what the levels are under the paint layer. Our technician’s will always aim to find original surfaces in newly renovated properties but if we’re ever in a position where only new paint surfaces can be sampled, this will be noted on the Field Technician’s report.
Tips for home-owners and landlords (current and prospective):
· Don’t turn a blind eye to owner-occupied homes.
Meth use is not limited to just rental properties and we’re seeing a significant increase in requests for testing owner-occupied homes. Remember, owner-occupied homes can and are still frequented by uncles, aunties, brothers, sisters, children, extended family, boyfriends, girlfriends – all of whom could contaminate the property, not just the owners.
· Be aware a tenant is within their rights to get the house meth tested without your consent.
Many landlords choose not to have their investment properties sampled however, we are seeing an increase in the number of tenants booking tests in the days after they’ve moved in. If these tests find the property to be contaminated, this can lead to Tenancy Tribunal claims from the tenant.
· If unsure, test before you go unconditional.
We’ve seen several situations where for whatever reason, clients have tested for methamphetamine after a sale has gone unconditional, but prior to settlement, which causes huge issues with the purchase of a property. Avoid the drama and book a test before you go unconditional.