Private landlords and homebuyers need to be vigilant
about potential P-contamination
Private landlords pay a high price if a tenant has contaminated their property with P (methamphetamine). A complete refit after contamination can exceed $100,000. In very serious contamination cases the property has to be demolished.
A landlord can lose weeks of tenant income while their rental property is being decontaminated. Even after the contamination has been remedied, there a record of it will remain on the Council’s LIM report.
If a landlord decides to sell their property after the decontamination has been completed, the details of the P contamination must be disclosed to the real estate agent and to prospective buyers. Naturally this will have an impact on sales. It places the vendor on the back foot when it comes to negotiating.
According to the NZ Law Society, ‘Typically 75% of P-labs uncovered by police have been in rental houses.’
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The Society also states that only 5-10% of the P-labs in operation are currently uncovered by police. In other words, most of the contamination is remaining undetected until it’s too late. All landlords need to be aware of this.
P users can be found in all stratas of society, even among affluent and educated professionals, who have more to lose.
The prevalence of P contamination is a reminder that we all have to be very vigilant. Tenant inspections need to be carried out on a very regular basis. And the tenant selection process needs to be very rigorous – ideally carried out by licensed professional property managers.
People who unknowingly live in a former P property risk significant health problems, including neurological and respiratory system and skin disorders.
We all need to keep an eye out
Look out for the giveaway signs that may indicate P contamination in your rental property.
- A strange sickly chemical or sweet smell emanating from the property.
- Blinds and curtains always drawn during the day.
- Properties suddenly fitted with high-tech surveillance systems.
- Withered vegetation around the house.
- Suspicious-looking characters visiting a property at odd hours.
- Tenants who always insist on paying their rent with cash.
(Paul Lochore is the director of Lochore’s Real Estate and Lochore’s Property Management).