This is not an unreasonable question to ask given the growing number of New Zealand homes which have tested positive for methamphetamine or “P”. The risk of a contaminated property affects property owners, buyers, sellers and tenants.
If P is manufactured or used even once inside a property, this would be enough to produce a positive test result. It has been suggested that the level of toxicity and health risk posed to an occupier of the property is higher if P was manufactured on the property rather than smoked.
There are several types of contamination tests available to detect the levels of P. These include at-home test kits, laboratory tests and professional test-kits.
If you are considering purchasing a property, it is advisable to engage a professional Tester to examine the property first. Also, ask the Vendor or real estate agent whether the property may be contaminated as they are legally obligated to disclose this if they are aware of any contamination. Any Agreement for Sale and Purchase of Property should include building report, LIM report and toxicology report conditions as an added safeguard.
Similarly, a seller who suspects their property may be contaminated should get their property professionally tested before putting it on the market.
Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, landlords who are renting their property have an obligation to provide a property in a reasonable state of cleanliness. Renting out a contaminated property is in breach of this obligation as well as other obligations owed under the Building Act 2004 and the Health Act 1956. Landlords should carry out routine inspections on their rental properties and keep an eye out for suspicious activities or items found on the property.
An owner of a contaminated home can find themselves facing a decontamination bill which could run into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. For more advice on contaminated properties and what it means for you, contact the team at Arnet Law.