Meth Solutions Interview Part Two

 

So if was discovered that a house had been a meth lab, would it go on a LIM report?

Miles Stratford: Yeah, if the authorities are involved, then yes, it does go on the LIM report. So the process there is if the police identify it, they will send a letter to Council or the territorial authority. Then the Council will send out a requisition or put a requisition on the property and notify the owner to address it.

Now some Councils around the country are still in the habit of taking it off the LIM once the cleanup has been done. We’ve gotten involved with an Auckland Regional Meth Working Group, and through that, I understand the Auckland Council had a legal opinion that says it has to stay on the LIM report. So what effects has that had? In some instances, people have bought a property, post-remediation; therefore, it’s come off the LIM report and then when they’ve gone to sell that property, the new people looking to buy have actually got a LIM report, and it’s on there.

So, you know, imagine being the owner of that property.You bought it, not knowing there was a problem. Before you actually bought the property, the Council were notified there was an issue, but their policy meant it came off the LIM report, so it’s a little bit strange, some of the stuff that’s gone on, that’s for sure.

So getting it on the LIM report, it’s really up to the police, is it, to hand it over to the Council?meth recovery

Miles Stratford: Primarily, yeah. I think that as awareness around the issue has grown, more and more buyers have been getting the testing done. Some of those buyers, where they have been unhappy with the performance, as far as the agent is concerned or the vendor, have reported it through to the territorial authorities and provided copies of reports through to the territorial authorities, because they have concerns for public health. But primarily, the route to getting onto the LIM report is through the police involvement.

 

There are a million plus properties in New Zealand, what are the chances of me buying a property that was once a P-lab?

Miles Stratford: It may sound like a grand statement up front, but 40% of the properties that we’ve tested have had meth in. And that is a fact. It’s more than 40%. Does that mean that 40% of the properties in New Zealand have meth in them? No. I don’t really know what the number is going to be, but from a prospective purchaser’s perspective, there are some risk factors to take into account. So 75% of the labs that the police find, for example, have got an investment property history.

So if it’s got an investment property history, there is a higher risk. The potential purchasers can pop around and have a chat to the neighbours, that won’t cost them anything. Find out what they know about the history of the place. Bearing in mind that if the neighbours are really good friends with the people who lived there previously, and everybody was involved with meth, they don’t like to say too much against them.
So it’s part of the due diligence process you’ve got to go through.

 

Getting a house tested for meth use is really an insurance policy for potential buyers isn’t it?

Miles Stratford: Well, it’s certainly insurance. I have lots of conversations with people who bought problems,in those instances, it’s devastating. Often people will stretch themselves financially to get into a property, which means there’s limited cash reserves available. Then they find out that there is a problem with the property, and they don’t have the money to fix it.

So if they don’t have the money to fix it, they might think, “Well, let’s go to the bank and get some money off the bank.” The problem is that a property that’s got a meth history or a significant meth problem isn’t typically worth as much as the bank gives you on it. So often people would find themselves in a situation where the bank actually asks for more money, as opposed to handing out money to get the thing fixed up.

So you really do need to find out beforehand. If it’s an investment property, and somebody’s buying it as a prospective investment property, it makes absolute sense to get it tested, because actually, you’ll be able to rent the property out for more, because you can market it as definitely not having a meth problem. With the growing awareness that’s out there in the community it means that people are prepared to pay more.

Do landlords understand that testing for meth is to their benefit?

Miles Stratford: Oh, we’ve got landlords who are actively doing it. And we’ve got, for example, up in Auckland, the approach that we talk about is meth management, and ultimately, that’s where MethSolutions wants to get to is focusing its effort on preventing problems from happening, rather than what we’re doing at the moment which is just detecting the ones which have occurred. So meth management is a combination of ongoing testing for use and monitoring for manufacture, instead of getting $300 a week, they’re getting $315.

Not everybody’s bought into that yet, and it’s obviously looking at life a little bit differently, but you know, we have got some evidence that it can be achieved, as long as people commit to the process.

Find Out What To Do If You Suspect A P-Lab as well as How Much Testing Costs – Part Three Meth Solutions Interview