Painting over Meth Contamination: Another minefield for property owners

June 23, 2017

Around 65% of the meth tests in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taupo and Christchurch areas are to undergo painting of surfaces within the dwelling. Of that, 40% will come back with some level of contamination. Renovations are a great way to increase the rental price or sale price of a property for minimal investment, however there are downsides to this in relation to meth testing and contamination within the dwelling.

 

Why is painting over meth a problem?

The reason that painting over methamphetamine is not an effective means of treatment is because meth will bleed through the paint layers over an extended period and become detectable on the surface. This affects all areas of properties including the sale of a property and the renting of a safe and habitable property.

 

How does it affect buyers?

No one wants to feel as though they have put their family in harm’s way by purchasing a “newly renovated property” that has not had a meth screening test completed before the changes took place. If a meth test is taken on top of renovations and receives a positive detection, most buyers will immediately become suspicious of the vendor who has “covered up the meth” whether it be true or not. The risk for the buyers is that they purchase a house, that increases in meth concentrations over their period of ownership and affects the sale of the property in the future, or increases to a significant extent that vulnerable persons such as children could be compromised.

 

How does it affect land lords and tenants?

In consideration of rental properties, a negative or low meth test at the beginning of the tenancy can easily turn into a considerably higher concentration at the end of the tenancy, even though no meth has been introduced to the property. If no official and considered meth test is done before the renovations, the tenant can have a meth test done which shows an unacceptable amount at any time during the tenancy to which the landlord will be held responsible. Potentially repercussions of this could be complete repayment of the bond and rent to that point in the tenancy. Tenancy tribunal imposed fines for failure to provide a safe and habitable property as well as other infringements.

Cleaning up meth contamination under the paint – Not a cheap endeavour.

If meth is suspected under the paint, the clean up can be extremely expensive. Because there is no certain way to reduce meth under the paint, the only way to deal with such contamination with any certainty is to remove and replace painted surfaces.

 

Because the waste is potentially hazardous, dumping will be expensive requiring the property waste is crushed and bury and will not be reused. Replacement costs for all removed surfaces for the entire dwelling including repainting of the surfaces can end up in the tens of thousands of dollars on average for even small concentrations of methamphetamine.

 

Always test before you paint a property..

MethSafe recommends always meth testing before renovations begin. If a positive result is returned, we can then direct you in your renovations and cleaning to mitigate risk of a positive result in the future. Many options are available for helping to fix the problem and the costs aren’t always as high as people think. However, these options are only available before painting of the property.

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