Methamphetamine Contamination

Meth contamination is a ‘hot issue’ in the property market, relevant to everyone and everywhere in New Zealand.

Recent reports show there are two issues affecting investors in residential property. The first is the LVR (loan to value ratio) requirements which, have slightly improved as at 1 January 2018. The second is Methamphetamine contamination – “P”.  Unfortunately P houses and P contamination is here to stay and is really starting to take hold in managing property sales and purchases but also creates significant issues for Landlords.

Purchasers need to consider, as part of their due diligence, to test for Meth. A purchaser cannot rely on a property’s LIM (Land Information Memorandum) report to divulge whether the property has been exposed to Meth. A Council will only advise those details they are aware of. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important to have a due diligence clause or a specific clause that refers to drug testing.

The process is about being informed. In 2016 a national standards committee was established which set benchmarks of acceptable levels of Meth. They distinguished between high use areas (easily accessible and regularly used by adults and children) or limited use areas (accessed by adults for a short duration including crawl spaces and wall cavities).   These benchmarks are now encompassed in the Standards New Zealand, NZS8510:2017. Acceptable readings for High use areas are 1.50 ug (micrograms) per 100cm2 and below whereas limited use areas 3.8 ug per 100cm2 and below. Ministry of Health have endorsed this standard.

Remediation, can be a costly and lengthy process depending on the level of contamination.   The NZS8510 also sets out industry standards of the process of remediation and accreditation for those businesses completing remediation. Previously, there were no standards and anyone could remediate.

The best advice is, have the property checked by an accredited sampler to see if any contamination exists before you buy.

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