Tenant John leaves the house and Tenant Anne moves in. Soon after, a meth test is done and comes back positive – was it outgoing Tenant John or newcomer Tenant Anne? But hang on – you had some tradespeople in after John left and before Anne arrived… could it have been them?!
As part of managing your risk around meth use in your property, we strongly advise you test for meth as soon as a tenant leaves. That way you can be sure any positive results for meth are attributed to them and it’s much harder for them to weasel out of the blame.
Culpability aside, you’re also putting your new tenant at risk by not testing for meth before they move in. Placing a tenant into a property with levels of meth contamination higher than the acceptable levels in NZS8510 is a breach of Section 45 of the RTA 1986. What does this mean for you? The tenant can give the landlord 2 days’ notice under Section 59 of the RTA 1986 and lodge an application with the tenancy tribunal, pursuing the landlord for exemplary damages and return of rent. Highest payout to a tenant to date? $43,000. It’s just not worth the risk.
We are seeing tenants ordering their own meth tests now, wanting peace of mind if a landlord won’t do it for them.
Another tip: wait for the lab results from the meth test to come back before you allow the incoming tenant to move in. We have seen numerous situations where the PM or owner were adamant there would be no meth issues with an outgoing tenant and allowed the new tenant to move in, before receiving positive results back. Sad, but true.
4 main takeaway points:
- Testing between tenancies sets up an audit trail to hold tenants accountable
- Testing confirms the property is habitable to meet obligations of the RTA 1986
- Testing should be done as soon as possible after the tenant vacates
- Results should be reviewed before the new tenant moves in
But the very, very best practice? Install a MethMinder – having a silent alarm in your rental is a clear indication to potential tenants that you’re not mucking around when it comes to meth. It really is the best deterrant.
Do you have a tenant leaving and need to order a meth test for a property? Click HERE to see our meth test options or phone to speak to one of our helpful team about which test will best suit your scenario.