A recent meth contamination Tenancy Tribunal decision shows that Landlords who fail to MethManage rental properties are creating more risk for their investment returns.
Investors realise profits on rentals at the time the property is sold. But if the property is contaminated with methamphetamine this may impact the market value as seen recently with a property in Wainuiomata.
The Tenancy Tribunal has imposed strict liability on landlords to provide premises in a habitable state and ignorance is not a defence.
Deterrence is better than detection!
By proactively MethManaging rental property, meth related behaviour is deterred mitigating the risk of meth contamination in the property.
Our unique MethManagement strategy involves two steps:
- Test for use – lab analysed surface wipes with a sensitivity level down as low as 0.02 micrograms
- Monitor for manufacture – MethMinder provides 24/7 detection of chemicals used to manufacture
In addition to protecting the value of the asset, proactive MethManagement reduces the risk of breaching landlord responsibilities under the RTA 1986.
Tenancy Tribunal Meth Property Case Study
Last week a tenancy hearing was held in respect of a meth contaminated property. The tenant and his young family moved in to the Glendene property in April 2016. Shortly after moving in, he became concerned about the premises after his family exhibited health problems.
These concerns were increased after a neighbour advised him, the previous tenant had used the house as a ‘P house”. The tenant advised the property management company Barfoot and Thompson of his concerns.
In August 2016, MethSolutions completed two Baseline composite tests for meth contamination. The lab detected 123 micrograms of meth residue in one sample and 3.5 micrograms in the second sample and the tenants’ possessions were destroyed because of the meth contamination.
The tenancy ended on 16 September 2016 by mutual consent.
Subsequent area by area tests revealed concentrated levels between 0.12 up to 82 micrograms/100 cm2 with an average level of 27 micrograms.
Meth Contamination Tenancy Tribunal decision costs Landlord $22,000
The tenant filed an application for compensation to the Tribunal and the adjudicator ordered the landlord pay the following costs to the tenant:
- $14,000 Compensation for damaged possessions and goods
- $8,000 Partial rent refund
- $20.44 Filing fee reimbursement
The partial rent refund is due to the fact the property was not habitable because it was not in a reasonable state of cleanliness and under Section 59 of the RTA 1986 the rent must abate (decrease).
There is provision for a further $4,000 to be paid as exemplary damages (stress) however the adjudicator was not satisfied the breach was intentional in this case.
Why prevention is cheaper
When you calculate the cost of this payout from the Landlord, you can see that the $22,000 charge that the landlord was ordered to pay the tenant would have covered the costs of MethManaging this property for 25 years!
Proactive MethManagement mitigates risk for the house (asset), the tenants and the landlord.
Refer Tenancy Tribunal Order: https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/TTV2/121413368.pdf