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The Explosion of Meth Labs in Rental Properties

This is an article that I wish never had to be written as it is going to have huge implications for property owners.

Until recently, it was the presence of meth labs in rental properties that were considered a nightmare for landlords resulting in tens of thousands of dollars for the clean-up if it was found to be contaminated.
We are now seeing the emergence of properties being contaminated from recreational ice smoking (3 times and the property could be contaminated), which could possibly be the modern day asbestos explosion.
The Australian Crime Commission guidelines deem a property contaminated if the levels are above 0.5 micro grams, which are low in comparison to a meth lab that can be upwards of 60 micro grams.
At this stage there is no legislation around enforcing clean ups of recreational smoking. If a meth lab is identified at the property or the levels are deemed high, the owner of the property does have a liability of cleaning up the property, which is often directed by the local council following police enforcement.
There was a recent case in Queensland where a two bedroom property was contaminated with a clean-up cost of approximately $50,000 due to the smoke/particles attaching to all porous areas such as walls, carpet, window furnishings, bench tops, grouting, etc. The owner fortunately was covered under their landlord protection insurance for malicious damage. Albeit, as meth in properties becomes more widely known you would assume that insurance companies will have to address this issue within their policy terms.
A contaminated property can cause the tenants or occupants (especially the elderly and children) to display symptoms of Asthma, ADHD, headaches, dizziess, lack of sleep, nausea and they are suggesting in worst case scenarios cancer.
What does this mean for property owners?
Firstly, it is going to be important to determine if the property has been contaminated and if so to what level.
It will eventually become an industry standard to have all properties tested prior to a tenant entering a property and when they vacate.
I am predicting that a meth cleared property will deter tenants who recreationally smoke as well as meth lab operations.
Tenants will seek properties with a meth screening clearance certificate or report.
This new nightmare will be alarming to landlords.
I am currently reviewing in further detail how this will be managed for the property management industry.
In moving forward... I personally would not be purchasing a property without a meth lab clearance report.


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