I have detected a P-lab in my rental, what do I do now?

Trevor Hurley asks:
(updated on Wednesday, August 05th 2009)

Once a P Lab has been detected who is
1) responsible to decontaminate the house, (owner,tenant,landlord or property managers as landlords?)
2) who meets the cost of decontaminating the house, as it is $1,000s (and getting it out of the tenant would be impossible)
3)I have been told there is a hand-held detector that is available (If it works and it shows high levels what rights of eviction do I have?

Our Experts Answer:

Since running a methamphetamine lab is an unlawful activity, you should firstly contact the Police if you suspect your property is being used for this purpose. If the Police confirm this is the case, you can immediately apply to the Tenancy Tribunal seeking urgent termination of the tenancy.

Tenants are responsible for ensuring they or their invited guests do not cause damage carelessly or intentionally. If you apply to the Tribunal to terminate the tenancy, you could also seek to recover the costs of any damage and cleaning from the tenant. As the landlord, you have a responsibility to ensure that professional decontamination and cleansing of the premises has been carried out before allowing new tenants to move in.

ocal authorities have authority under Section 41 of the Health Act 1956 to order the owner of a property to clean it, if this is necessary to prevent danger to health or for rendering the property fit for occupation. The Police notify local councils when they identify contaminated properties. For more information about rental properties used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, you may wish to visit our website at http://www.dbh.govt.nz/properties-manufacture.

To discuss your situation further, or for advice and information about applying to the tenancy Tribunal, you can contact the Department of Building and Housing on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.



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