The Toxicology Clause in the sale and purchase agreement has been included, to ensure that people do not have to remember the real risks presented by meth. Retaining the clause and spending a few hundred dollars on due diligence, can avoid tens of thousands in uninsured losses due to meth contamination. Yet too many people are still rolling the dice on this risk.
On the back of recommendations in the Gluckman Meth Report not to test for meth, testing rates around property sale and purchase dropped from over 30% to less than 5%.
This simply means more meth affected properties are transacting, without the issue being identified at a time when the vendor can deal with it either via insurance or tax-free capital gain.
As a result, we are dealing with an increasing number of people who now own properties that come with significant financial liabilities due to meth contamination.
Here are some of the consequences we are seeing:
- New owners assume costs associated with fixing issues – testing, decontamination, reinstatement and time associated with this work, can mean tens of thousands of dollars in unbudgeted expenses.
- If funds are not readily available to fix the problem, then the potential for a property purchase to fall over is real. For the likes of first home buyers, who are typically purchasing the highest risk properties, this can extend to guarantors.
- Some insurers will not provide cover if meth residues are present which exceed levels included in the NZ Standard. If cover is obtained, the policy of insurance will not respond to pre-existing conditions.
- Meth is a defined contaminant under the Residential Tenancies Act. Ignoring the risk potential and renting out a meth affected property, increases the likelihood the owner will be subject to penalties under the Act.
- An increasing number of parties managing rental properties require a meth test prior to taking a property on. Properties with problem levels of meth, increasingly limits options to those people who are more comfortable with meth and all the drama that comes with it.
Meth risk mitigation
All properties present a risk as far as meth contamination is concerned. The highest risk properties are those with a rental history – particularly those with short term tenancies.
Mitigating the real risk presented by meth affected property costs a few hundred dollars. It means a new owner avoids the risk of tens of thousands of dollars in uninsured losses.
That all starts with the conversations you are having with your clients regarding this risk.
Our problem with meth in this country is not going away.
The impact of meth affected property on people is profound. It goes well beyond economics.
For over ten years, our team has helped thousands of people work through the challenges presented by meth affected property. We are committed to reducing the harm associated with meth affected property.
Any business which provides support around investment property in particular the property sale and purchase transaction, is exposed to risk and liability as a result of meth related behaviour. If you are interested in strengthening your ability to look after the interests of the people you serve AND protecting your business, get in touch to see how we can help.
Call 0800 638 452 and ask to speak with Mile or Nicky