Meth contamination demystified

Monday 9 April 2018

Would you buy a house which had been contaminated by meth? Investors thinking of doing so need to find out the ins and outs of decontaminating.

By The Landlord

Although it’s only used by a small fraction of the population, meth has an outsized footprint on New Zealand’s housing market.

Even the smallest positive reading for P can be enough to frighten off homebuyers and tenants, despite the fact that trace amounts are considered to be relatively safe.

So what should an investor do when their property, or one they want to buy, tests positive for meth?

And should investor even consider buying a meth-contaminated property?

If you look at a property which returns a positive test, don’t immediately write it off, Meth Testing NZ director Nathaniel Hamilton says.

“See the lab recommends for decontamination, talk to decontamination companies and talk to your insurer.

“If you feel comfortable with the process, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider that property. Look into it, don’t assess it at face value and walk away.”

Provided you do your research, a meth-contaminated property can be an absolute steal.

Homeowners are usually frightened off by even a hint of P, so you can negotiate hard and steal a bargain.

But is the 1.5 microgram limit low enough to be safe?

Jani King national sales manager Matt Vick says it is an extremely conservative number. “If you think it’s a scary number get your wallet tested and it will be 1.5 or higher, I’m pretty sure.”

Nelson investor Glenn Morris agrees, saying the “amount someone sucks in through a cigarette is going to be far higher than anything you’d get even if you were licking the walls”.

But investors need to know what the implications of a positive meth test are for a property, when investors need to test a property and how to best decontaminate a property.

So, in this month’s NZ Property Investor magazine, we investigate meth contamination and what investors need to know when dealing with it.

To read the full story, click here to get the digital issue of NZ Property Investor magazine.

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