Methamphetamine a serious problem for property managers

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Methamphetamine usage and as a result contamination is now a serious problem, with some children that have lived in contaminated houses showing the same level of methamphetamine in their system as a regular adult ice user. Residents of contaminated properties may not realise that they have been exposed until they start seeing the medical signs of methamphetamine exposure. Meth residue is invisible, generally has no smell and will settle in anything porus in the home such as soft furnishing, carpets, curtains and even the plasterboard of the walls and ceilings.

Whilst meth management within a rental is not yet legislated as a “must do “ action management item , Owners are required have a duty of care to ensure a home is habitable . Thus as agents, we also have a duty of care to effect safe environments as per our agency agreements . So some brief details to help you :

Exposure to this almost invisible meth residue places residents at risk of a range of health issues including;
• Headaches
• Behavioural problems in young children
• Sleep disturbance
• Decreased immunity
• Irritation to the skin and eyes
• Respiratory problems

With methamphetamine use continuing to rise in Australia, there are solutions to protect your clients and tenants from these potentially devastating effects.
• Companies such as Meth Screen will screen a residence for methamphetamine contamination
• By using a lab-analysed Base Composite Screen. a number of samples are collected and analysed.
• If the accumulative result of the samples indicates the presence of meth above the minimum level of 0.5μg/100cm², The property is deemed unacceptable for habitation.
• Costs can then range from a few thousand dollars for a simple clean of the property, to hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove contaminated fixtures including carpets, walls and ceilings.

As property managers, the best way we can help avoid methamphetamine contamination within our properties is by having properties screened after every tenancy. This will not only help you to provide a safe living environment for your tenants and their families, but will also help to protect your landlords from hefty decontamination and repair bills.

By having properties regularly screened and presenting each new tenant with a clean living certificate, this should assist in attracting and keeping better quality tenants as they know that property will be screened after they vacate. However it is still worth ensuring your landlords insurance policies are up to date and include protection against both drug labs as well as contamination, as you can never ensure your current tenants won’t fall into the world of this devastating drug.

Blog by:  Cathie Crampton 

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