When looking to rent out an investment property the issue of methamphetamine is often overlooked as an unnecessary cost and risk due to media confusion and a lack of reputable information sources.
Meth Testing New Zealand has sampled over 8500 properties many as part of pre and post tenancy testing. Sadly many landlords are choosing to test only after there is suspicion. Unfortunately without a pre-tenancy test assigning liability to a particular tenancy can prove troublesome and can often meaning losing a Tenancy Tribunal hearing or Insurance Claim.
Some interesting things we have found are:
- More and more tenants are having their own testing done, resulting in tenancy tribunal claims against landlords and property managers
- Tenants' possessions and furniture can be cross-contaminated by a contaminated property and many Tenancy Tribunal claims against the landlord include full reimbursement for the cost to replace possessions
- Often meth is found in properties that look very clean and tidy
- Many tenants can be caught out by other parties, such as family members, partners etc using methamphetamine in their rented properties without their knowledge
- Unfortunately we are aware of cases where tenants will try to disguise meth contamination
- No matter the value of the property meth can still be present. We have sampled properties which rent for in excess of $1500 per week and found high levels of methamphetamine
Following the Gluckman report, below is a statement from the MBIE as of 29/05/2018
What actions should landlords and tenants take now where methamphetamine is discovered in a rental property?
Tenants and landlords must continue to meet their obligations under the RTA. Using, possessing and manufacturing methamphetamine are offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. Tenants who are found to have smoked or manufactured meth in a rental property are in breach of the RTA for using the rental premises for an unlawful purpose. Tenants who cause methamphetamine contamination of rental properties are in breach of their obligation not to intentionally or carelessly damage the rental premises.
Landlords who provide premises which are methamphetamine-contaminated are in breach of their obligation to provide habitable premises which are in a reasonable state of cleanliness.
Where there is a dispute about contamination, landlords and tenants can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to adjudicate on the matter. The Tribunal will take into account all evidence put before it and make a binding decision.