Oh the hilarity of watching Landlords caught up in the P contamination hysteria…
Some landlords with meth-contaminated houses are avoiding telling local authorities to ensure their houses don’t lose value.
The investors say having the information on their property’s council file – even if the chemical residue is later removed – carries stigma, and will put buyers off. While the behaviour is not illegal, one home-owner’s association said it was “unscrupulous to say the least” not to report contamination, as that meant any future owners or tenants were denied access to the property’s full history.
“I think a lot of landlords are scurrying around trying to keep things under the radar because they don’t want to spend the money to properly remediate a contaminated home,” said Home Owners and Buyers Association (Hobanz) president John Gray.
“But there’s a line that has to be drawn somewhere.”
The Herald first found evidence of the trend in online property investors’ forums, where owners were discussing how to get the council to help evict tenants without the contamination going on a Land Information Memorandum (Lim) report.
Hobanz and Auckland Council confirmed they were aware of the behaviour.
Auckland Council’s regional environmental control manager Marcus Herrmann said people avoided reporting contamination for a variety of reasons, including uncertainty about remediation requirements, and the effect on their profits.
“They believe the stigma attached to having the information on their property file will affect the value of their home,” he said.
Herrmann said while there was no legal obligation, it was appropriate for landlords to inform the council to ensure health and safety of tenants and prospective owners. Methamphetamine is considered a health risk.
If a house has been a lab, police usually inform the council which then undertakes testing. However, health authorities or private owners who become aware of contamination are also expected to pass on any information.
…the truth of course is that the vast majority of houses where P is only smoked and not cooked in are not dangerous at all…
The first time I half-heard a news report about Housing New Zealand tenants “contaminating” homes by smoking methamphetamine in them, I assumed it was a mistake. Clandestine labs, sure: they can leave behind some some hazardous chemicals, depending on the actual process employed. But a dwelling being rendered uninhabitable and needing to be torn apart simply because meth was consumed in it? It didn’t seem possible.
It isn’t possible.
…as Russell Brown painstakingly points out, houses that test positive for P being smoked in them are not the health issue that the moral panic over P has produced.
The exact same dodgy standards for testing meth are prevalent in our drug testing for workers, as Jarrod Gilbert pointed out last month…
The primary method of drug testing is the urine test, but this is a terribly blunt tool.
Favoured because it’s quick and low cost, it tests for the metabolites of drugs rather than the chemicals themselves and as such it fails to differentiate between on- and off-the-clock use. That means occasional marijuana users test positive for a week or more after a single smoke.
Tests that treat recreational use as being the same as use on the job are a problem. While marijuana affects a user’s ability to work or drive safely at the time, occasional use has no lingering effects beyond a good night’s sleep. While the metabolites remain in the system for long periods, the drug’s narcotic effect is gone within a few hours. Testing for after-hours use is essentially little more than a test of character – something that can be better accomplished without chemistry.
…in NZ we are simply too immature a culture to be able to have adult discussions on drugs and effective standards for those drugs. We see the drug as illegal and ANY suggestion that it is being taken becomes the rational for firing someone or demolishing a house. We are too juvenile to comprehend that simply testing positive for a drug isn’t impairment, add to this lack of basic comprehension skills former Police Officers keen to cash in on drug moral panic by becoming drug testing companies and we get a perfect storm of policy designed by morons.