$50k to clean P from rental

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A local landlord has spent almost $50,000 on fixing up their rental property after a previous tenant had contaminated it with methamphetamine, and is now warning others landlords to tread carefully.

The Richmond property had been managed by a local rental agency, and the landlord, who did not want to be named, says the contamination levels in the house were so high that “everything had to go”.

They have already spent $21,000 in the clean up, decontamination and testing to meet government safety standards, and another $24,000 so far for the replacement of disposed contaminated materials, including wall coverings, carpets, flooring, drapes, basins and the heat pump.

“The sad and frustrating part is that the same management company who recommended and placed this tenant in our rental home, knowing what they have done, has leased another rental property to them in Richmond”, the landlord told Nelson Weekly.

Houses contaminated through the cooking or smoking of methamphetamine is a growing issue in the Nelson region, resulting in a growing number of businesses that specialise in detecting it.

Just one session smoking the Class A drug, also known as P, could be enough to produce a positive test result.

Steve Williams, General Manager of the Drug Detection Agency for Nelson and Marlborough, says they have seen a steady growth in business over the past six months, with the majority of requests coming from the rental property market and people looking at buying ex-rental properties.

“This is really where we believe any potential contamination problems may be,” he says.

“Despite having worked on the Police National Clandestine Laboratory Team for a number of years, I am still surprised at some of the properties which have tested positive for methamphetamine, and I have also been surprised at some of the properties which haven’t, which really illustrates that you cannot judge a book by its cover.”

Steve says that locally, the majority of the houses giving positive results have been at fairly low levels, which could suggest that they were as a result of smoking methamphetamine, as opposed to manufacturing it.

Nelson Police have also confirmed that there have been no labs used to manufacture methamphetamine located in Nelson so far this year.

But, Steve says it’s always wise for landlords to test, before they invest.