Methamphetamines in Rental Properties

By Ankita Makkad

RWUS is reducing the risk to both tenants and landlords

Shocking and secret testing of the nations raw sewage has revealed that WA is the methamphetamine capital of Australia and nearly the world.

With approximately 100 clandestine laboratories detected each year this issue poses a very real risk to tenants who can potentially suffer from adverse health effects such as cardiovascular, respiratory and skin affects, following exposure to solvents, acids, alkalis and other chemicals.

Under Australian Laws (EPA & Local Govt), the property owner is ultimately responsible to ensure a premise is safe for habitation, after the discovery of a meth contamination above 0.5 micrograms in a space of 10cm square.

Remediation cleaning will be required to remove hazardous levels of methamphetamine, after which an independent test is then completed to confirm if remediation has been successful.  This process can cost a landlord many tens of thousands of dollars.

Contaminated properties can usually be cleaned however there have been instances where properties were condemned because they could not be made safe or the kitchen or bathroom was uninhabitable.

We have recently become aware of tenants paying for testing prior to moving in to ensure it is a safe living environment for themselves and their family.

To ensure the safety and protection of both our tenants and landlords Ray White Urban Springs are introducing a requirement that all new properties are tested to establish a baseline before placing tenants.

Tenants will also be asked to sign the below agreement as standard prior to moving into a rental property.

The tenant is aware and accepts the property will be drug swabbed (chemical residue tested) at vacate. 

The tenant gives permission for the property to be randomly drug swabbed (chemical residue tested) at any point during the tenancy (eg at routine inspection/s) without prior notice.

Further, if the property tests positive for chemical residue the tenant agrees to cover the cost of comprehensive forensic chemical/drug testing and reporting (current cost approximately $2,000)

Should a positive test be reported then the tenant/s agree to cover the cost of:

  • Professional clean by specialist cleaners as per report recommendations (cost up to $50,000) 
  • Replacement of all carpets, all window treatments and any other soft furnishings and/or porous surfaces
  • Any associated legal or insurance costs
  • Any other associated cost
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