IN THIS ISSUE Choosing a Property Manager | Minimising Risk | Landlord Responsibilities
Are you Playing Methopoly?
The Tenancy Tribunal apply a strict evidence based approach to their rulings. If you, as a landlord or property manager, have not conducted a pre-tenancy meth test before your new tenant moved in, you may not be able to claim for any drug contamination damages.
In order to satisfy the requirements of the Tenancy Tribunal in any claim for damages for methamphetamine contamination, you should conduct a Pre-Tenancy then a Post-Tenancy Methamphetamine test.
The Tenancy Tribunal have stated that they require exceptional evidence presented to them in order to accept a claim for methamphetamine related damages without a Pre-Tenancy Post Tenancy check. Exceptional evidence would be witness testimony or police evidence, something the usual landlord or property manager will not have.
Look at this example from a recent caseon the 2nd of April 2019
The tenancy lasted only three and a half months, and was terminated by the Tenancy Tribunal. No pre-tenancy meth test was conducted at the beginning of the tenancy as is required by the Tenancy Tribunal to prove a “timeline of contamination.” Instead, the landlord chose to “Roll the Dice” and play “Methopoly.” The game in which there are no financial winners, only financial losers.
It was suspected that the property was being used for drug activities as the tenant was arrested for charges relating to methamphetamine. The landlord had a methamphetamine contamination test conducted post-tenancy, and the results were positive for “exceedingly high” meth contamination.
The landlord “Rolled the Dice” and “landed on” a $60,000 restoration and renovation space in the game of “Methopoly.” Because the landlord decided to “Chance it” rather than test for meth before the tenant moved in, their claim at the Tenancy Tribunal failed due to lack of evidence.
If a landlord or property manager does not conduct a pre-tenancy meth test, a timeline of contamination cannot be established. The tribunal can only rule that a tenant caused the contamination if the property was under the limit at the time of first occupancy.
To put it simply, you must conduct a pre-tenancy, then post-tenancy meth test if you want to be able to claim damages from the tenant who damages your property
For the sake of the price of a meth test at around $300, vs the $1,000,000 or more that you are investing in your asset, you should test for meth between every tenancy.
But don’t just take our word for it, listen to what the Tenancy Tribunal have to say on the matter.
The ruling said that the property had been tenanted prior to the tenants taking occupation and no pre-tenancy meth test had been provided to the Tenancy Tribunal confirming that the property was not contaminated when the tenancy began.
The ruling went onto say “While it is apparent that the property was used for activities involving methamphetamine, I cannot be sufficiently certain that these tenants alone may have been responsible for the contamination.”
Don't Roll the Dice - Get Meth Xpert to test for you
The Tenancy Tribunal ruled that the landlords had not proven that it was the most recent tenant who caused the damage and the claim for costs against methamphetamine damage was dismissed.
Because the landlord did not check for meth before the tenant moved in, the landlord “Rolled the Dice” and landed on the worst “Methopoly” space on the board… in “Methopoly Financial Jail”
“Do not collect your Tenancy Tribunal Claim Payout. Go directly to Financial Jail.”
And sadly for those that have not continued to conduct meth testing, there is no “Get out of Methopoly Jail Free” or “Community Chest” of to get you out of “Financial Jail.”
Meth Xpert have always advocated that you continue to test pre-tenancy and then post tenancy, the level for methamphetamine manufacture has not changed and is still 1.5ug/100cm2. In fact, the level for methamphetamine use has not changed either, but due to the Tribunal choosing to adopt a report rather than the New Zealand Standard, many landlords and property managers are in the dark about what to do.
Insurance Companies retained the level of 1.5ug/100cm2
All insurance company claims are set at 1.5ug/100cm2. In fact, the same evidence is required by your insurance company as the Tenancy Tribunal. If you cannot give your insurance company the pre-tenancy meth test as well as the post-tenancy test, your claim for insurance compensation will more than likely be declined.
The best practice has been, is and always will be to conduct methamphetamine contamination testing in accordance with NZS8510:2017. Ensure that the sampling company you use is qualified to test. If they are not NZQA Certified or IANZ Accredited, they are not qualified to test and their sampling may not stand up at the Tenancy Tribunal. Don’t “Roll the Dice” with the sampling company you use, only use Qualified Testers.
If you have let your meth testing and meth management plan lack, as this landlord did, please feel free to contact us to discuss options to determine if a timeframe can be established so that you are not playing “Methopoly” with your investments.
Remember, you need to conduct qualified testing on your assets to ensure that you are able to provide evidence to the tenancy tribunal and your insurance company so that you are not left out of pocket and in “Methopoly Financial Jail.”
Ask your meth sampling company "Are you qualified under the New Zealand Standards to conduct meth testing?"
If you want to know more about the upcoming new laws around Methamphetamine Testing, Meth Xpert NZ offer training to all our clients that is tailored to your needs. To find out more: