Meth Testing: What You Need To Know

An Interview With Miles Stratford From Meth Solutions – Click below To Listen.

Introduction To Meth Solutions

We set up Meth Solutions in October 2012, we have sampled nearly 1400 properties around the country and over 40% of those had meth in them. So for anybody who’s looking for a house, meth risk and residues is one of those things that is a very quick route to undoing wealth and value, and it’s the sort of thing that you need to be aware of before you go unconditional on a property, not after.

So why is meth in property such a problem these days?

Miles Stratford: It’s a number of reasons. I mean the principle reason why meth in property is a problem is down to health. Even use-related residues of meth can produce adverse health effects. If a lab is located in a property, those health effects can be very profound and long-term. What seems to happen with meth residues in a property is that chemicals that are associated with manufacture, in particular, will catalyse problems and complications with the central nervous system, breathing issues, and cancer is accelerated within people.
It gets put down to all sorts of things before people get down to meth residues.
It is a hidden issue, so more often than not, you don’t actually see any outward sign of there being a problem with the property.
Unless the police have been involved, the likelihood it would have been noted on a LIM report is very, very remote.
So a standard due diligence process that doesn’t include some provision for meth testing is highly unlikely to pick it up.

What are the long-term effects if someone does end up buying a property that’s been a P-lab?methamphetamine

Miles Stratford: The principal issue is their health, and the impact and the adverse impacts that it can have on health. Because it has that potential to impact on health, if you want to get a property back into a habitable state, then you’ve got to spend a lot of money doing that.
So you could be looking at a cleanup and decontamination bill that’s somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000, as a standard refit out, same sort of money again, and then quite a lot of money on the testing either side.
The actual cost if you buy a problem are significant.

You then have got the ongoing issue that you’ve got a property that’s had a meth history.
If you paid market rate for a property that’s got a meth history, on the assumption that you’re going to do the right thing and disclose it when you come to sell it, and again, lots of people don’t, then the ongoing stigma means you’ve got a compromised sell value.
If you pay the right price for it at the time you purchased it, so it reflects the meth history, then your appreciation will still be relevant. But if you pay market rate for it, then you find you’ve got a problem, then you may find that you’re actually going backwards. It’s a long way before you start going forwards, financially.

Are there any easy ways to pick whether a house has been a P-lab or not?

Miles Stratford: As self-serving as it may seem, the easiest thing to do to try to pick it up is to get a test done. We can talk economics at some stage if you want to, but often people think that’s hundreds of hundreds of dollars, and it doesn’t have to be. Now the reason I say that’s the easiest way of doing it because often that’s the way the police pick it up.

Police, when they go and raid a property, will observe it for some considerable period of time, and they’ll kick the door down, because they know there’s something going on within it. And therefore they find the evidence that’s associated with the manufacture process.
More often than not, when the property is up for sale, for example, or when it’s being tenanted, property manager’s under the Residential Tenancies Act, they give the tenants 48 hours’ notice to access the property.

It’s the same process when a property is up for sale and as a consequence, the evidence tends to get cleared away. In many instances, the evidence is masked by a coat of paint or an extensive cleaning job has gone on. So the obvious tell-tale signs that might be associated with a historic meth issue are more often than not gone.

Are P Lab houses listed on a LIM Report Click here to find out – Meth Solutions Interview Part Two