The New Norm? Including Meth checks in Pre-Purchase Building Inspections
For home buyers there is nothing unusual about organising a Pre-Purchase Building Inspection on a potential property purchase. For smart buyers, a Pre-Purchase Building Inspection is a no brainer, part of the home buying journey.
But a growing number of prudent buyers and landlords are going beyond the scope of the usual Pre-Purchase inspection and including drug sampling and screening as a non-negotiable – checking for any trace of Methamphetamine contamination.
Methamphetamine (meth) is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Also known as P, crack, ice, chalk or crystal, meth is a white, odourless, bitter tasting powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol.
Meth labs in New Zealand are a growing problems and a big community issue. Making or cooking meth requires very little training or experience, chemicals or equipment, which means meth labs can be found almost anywhere.
In homes or apartments that have gone undetected as meth labs, or where there has been heavy use of the drug, dangerous chemical residue can seep into soft furnishings, carpets, walls, ceilings and insulation, leaving unsuspecting new tenants or owners exposed to major health risks.
And the health risks really are major. Pre-existing health conditions such as asthma can be exacerbated and symptoms such as vomiting, irritability, inability to concentrate, headaches, anxiety, itchy skin and sinus problems have all been reported. Children who are exposed to methamphetamine may experience ADHD type behavior, sleeping issues and general unwellness. Children are particularly vulnerable to remaining meth residue because they are physically smaller, but also because they roll around on carpets and have a tendency to put fingers and toys in their mouths.
Jim’s Building Inspections is offering Methamphetamine Screening Tests and Pre-Purchase Meth Screening Assessments to:
- Home Owners
- Property Managers
Jim’s Building Inspections recommends conducting regular screening for rental properties because it ensures early detection when remediation should be less expensive, and also screening between tenants so that landlords and agents are ensuring they are managing a property that is safe for occupancy.
Home owners should consider a Meth Screening Assessment as part of their Pre-Sale Inspection so that they can include a report that states that the house is free of contamination at the time of Sale.
For peace of mind, home purchasers should include a Meth Screening Assessment as part of the Pre-Purchase Inspections – so that they pay the right price for the property and to avoid risk – health, legal and financial.
How do you know if your property is contaminated?
Meth contamination is invisible and has no smell. It is estimated that around 20% of property contamination problems are linked to labs and 80% are linked to meth users.
Signs that your property may have been used as a meth lab include:
- Strong odours (acrid, sour, solvents, ammonia)
- Discolouration of structions, soil and pavement
- Burns, unusual stains, yellowed walls and rust in strange places such as on window fittings or door handles
- Empty chemical containers around the property
But outside of these physical signs that you can spot around the property – get out there and talk to your neighbours! Drug busts are not quiet and they are not contained, someone will definitely know if something has gone down. People who live nearby will also be able to tell you if vehicles come and go at strange hours and the general behaviors of the tenants.
Why get a Meth Screening Assessment on a property?
THE HEALTH RISK
Exposure to methamphetamine can cause a wide range of health problems including:
Behavioral problems in children
Loss of appetite
THE LEGAL RISK
If you are a property owner or manager you are ultimately responsible for ensuring a property is safe to live in. Legally, you face action from tenants who move into a meth contaminated home and also from clients who expect that you look after their property and prevent or manage contamination in the first instance.
THE FINANCIAL RISK
Contamination levels greater than the recommended safe levels are dangerous and require a property to be remediated which can be a very costly exercise. Remediation might involve treating or ripping out carpet, soft furnishings, removing furniture, wall linings, ceilings, electrical wiring, air conditioners, heating and insulation.
Discovering contamination early on makes remediation less expensive. It also means that meth-using tenants can be evicted before contamination levels increase any further.
Jim’s Building Inspections is responding to the demand for methamphetamine inspections. To speak to a Jim’s Building Inspector about a Methamphetamine Screening Assessment at your property call 0800 454 654