Meth Labs & Property Rentals

Not a pleasant topic this week; but one that is increasingly real across the nation – methamphetamine laboratories in rental properties – these labs have been found in the poorest and wealthiest of suburbs, it is not only a blight of lower socio-economic areas, it could be your rental property!

The REIQ (Real Estate Institute of Queensland) have recently published a report about this growing problem; not to scare, but to inform people. Below are some key points.

Firstly, there is no specific legislation in Queensland imposing meth testing obligations on lessors or tenants. However, the Rental Tenancy & Rooming Accommodation Act (RTRA) – section 184 does state that a tenant may not use premises for illegal purposes. In the event of a tenant using a rental premise for manufacturing meth (or other illegal substances), the agent or lessor, may serve an RTA Form 11, and of course should notify the police. RTRA Act – section 96 also allows a lessor/agent to apply to QCAT to seek immediate termination of tenancy; this would be on the basis of illegal activity, health concerns in relation to meth residue, and costs of remediation.

As meth residue is invisible, and testing is not compulsory, some tenants are choosing to either engage services of a company to carry out testing or purchase a surface test kit. In fact, new industries have emerged dealing with testing and remediation of meth manufacture in rental housing.

If unsafe levels of contamination are found, remediation can range from cleaning with detergents, replacement of fittings, through to (worst case scenario) demolition. It can have serious consequences indeed for the property owner…as always, better to be safe than sorry, and get your property checked if you have any concerns at all.