Residential Tenancies Act amendment act is here; what does it mean for meth testing and rental properties?

August 26, 2019

In the last month we have seen the passing of the residential tenancies amendment bill No 2 2019 into law. The new amendment brings into law 2 major changes to the current laws around rental properties relevant to methamphetamine testing and remediation and also landlord/tenants obligations and rights more clearly defined.

  • Meth will be considered a contaminant under the act, for residential properties.

  • A maximum concentration will be set in regards to contaminants (methamphetamine at this stage) which will need to be considered by the housing minister taking into account all relevant information (reports and literature reviews such as the "Gluckman Report").

  • Requirements will be outlined for landlords in regards to methamphetamine and the methods defined for meth testing the property and who may be authorized to conduct such services

Officially, this act will come into force this month (AUG 19) however it is possible that some time will pass before the regulations will be finalised. An example of this delay between suggested and actual can be seen in the Healthy homes gaurantee act which attained the Royal Assent in December 2017 and was only came into force on the 1st of July 2019, a whole 2 years later. It is reasonable to assume that this the new act will come into force in the next few years.

It is likely that the NZ standard NZS8510:2017 will play a large roll in defining the different aspects of the ACT in relation to methamphetamine sampling, testing and decontamination but the maximum safe concentration proves an area of contention  which is most certainty still up for debate. In either case (1.5 micrograms or 15 micrograms) decontamination will be required where the threshold has been exceeded down to 1.5 micrograms, not just below 15.

 

When the regulations come into force, landlords who knowingly lett properties that are contaminated above the maximum safe level (TBC) will face financial penalties of up to $4,000 from the tribunal.

Whether the act is enforced now or later, long term and regular management of methamphetamine is preferable to ignoring the problem in a number of ways;

  1. Meth testing helps prevent meth build up in a property by discouraging tenants who use meth thus preventing the issue in the first place.

  2. The longer meth is present in a property, the harder it is to re mediate. If meth is caught early in a tenancy, it can easily be cleaned by the landlord without significant cost.

  3. Meth testing properties are sought after by good tenants as they show the landlord is proactive about the property, which protects the landlord as well as the tenants.

 

 

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