Since adding methamphetamine testing of properties to its services last year, Hamilton-based alcohol and drug testing company, Resultz Group, has been busier than ever.
“The problem with meth (P) contamination is a lot wider than the general public think,” says Resultz Group managing director Kyly Coombes. “It is a real concern for property owners, and our testing services are increasingly in demand in this area.”
Resultz Group has been providing drug testing services since 2012 and added property meth testing to its services in June 2016.
Between then and March 2017 company has conducted approximately 120 property meth tests in the Waikato region, and discovered 30 of those were contaminated to some degree with methamphetamine (including 7 at excessive levels). “A quarter of properties tested returned detection of meth. That’s the reality, and it should be alarming for our community”.
This financial year Resultz Group’s property meth testing numbers are projected to increase by 670 standard tests and 134 detailed assessments in the Waikato region and beyond, and Coombes says they are on track to meet that. “We have been so busy with requests to meth-test properties in the Waikato area alone that we’ve had to expand our operations, and have added three new testing technicians to our team,” says Coombes.
Coombes says meth testing has become essential for home buyers, property investors and landlords. “You wouldn’t purchase a house without doing a building inspection or getting a LIM report, it’s the same with meth testing,” says Coombes.
She advises homeowners and investors to get a full report prior to purchasing a property. “Once you’ve decided to test, make sure you get a good-quality test and go with a reputable provider,” says Coombes. “Choose one where you get more than just a detection of methamphetamine because if meth is detected and more analysis is needed, this can cost you more in the long run.”
Coombes says that laboratory composite testing is the best meth testing option for property owners because it determines any level of methamphetamine at a property. This includes a full lab report, description of the property, photos of the areas sampled, explanations of what is included in the report, and recommendations for further action.
Coombes says Government’s new standard for the testing and decontamination of methamphetamine-contaminated properties, released by Standards New Zealand in June, will help to weed ‘cowboys’ from the industry.
“The new standard is important, as it means homeowners and investors will have greater assurance that the practices used to screen, test, assess and decontaminate methamphetamine-contaminated properties are carried out to a high standard,” says Coombes.
Before the standards were announced, three different levels were being used in the industry, which created complexities around recommendations for remediation and insurance requirements.
The new standard has a set limit of 1.5 micrograms of methamphetamine per 100cm² of surface sampled. With the new standard in place, if methamphetamine is detected at or above that limit in high use areas of a property, the property must be decontaminated, regardless of whether it was involved in the production or use of methamphetamine.
Samples are taken from every room in the property over an area of 100cm2, then sent to an IANZ accredited laboratory for analysis.
Coombes says service providers should be taking samples from all rooms to give a true and accurate result.
“Laboratory Composition testing will tell you the true averages across the property and calculate the worst-case scenario,” she says. “We believe that people deserve to live in meth-free properties and testing, through a reliable provider, is essential to ensure homes are safe to live in.”
Tips for landlords
- As a starting point, check what the requirements are for meth claims with their insurance company as company policies can vary.
- Coombes recommends getting a baseline test before tenants move in and carrying out a second test before the tenants move out.
- If meth is not detected when the tenant moves in but is detected when they move out, the landlord will know exactly who has contaminated the property and will be in a better position to take action if further steps like prosecution are required.
- “A baseline test at the start will also show you’re proactive as a landlord and could deter potential Meth users from renting the property,” Coombes explains.
- “And again, once you’ve decided to test, make sure you get a good quality test with a reliable provider who tests in line with the standard.”
Although they are based in Hamilton, Resultz Group have clients across New Zealand.
For further advice or more information about property meth testing with Resultz Group, visit www.resultz.co.nz or contact 0800 933 383.