Methamphetamine Use in Residential Homes

 In General

This may come as a very surprising topic, or you may have already heard many recent media stories discussing the use and danger of methamphetamine in residential rentals. For me, I almost dismissed the thought that there would be meth use in any of our rental properties, but the reality is, it’s happening in all demographics!

For years we’ve heard about the danger of methamphetamine labs in properties, in recent times it has come to light the serious health risks imposed by the use of methamphetamine.

Recently we attended a seminar about meth use in residential homes presented by Glen Fraser from Meth Screen.

Here are some facts about meth:

  • Meth / Ice / Crack use has been an epidemic in Australia for the last 22 years. We are the highest users in the English speaking world.
  • Meth is a vapour (not smoke) when it settles it solidifies and locks on to a surface, normal cleaning will not remove it and will leach back through a painted surface.
  • Meth residue is invisible and odourless and will last for years and years, longer than a house will survive.
  • Australian standard for residue is 0.5 micrograms per square 100cm, this is probably 2 sessions of 1 gram each in the same location in a house.
  • Out of the 174 people that attended the seminar, 20 of us lived in a house contaminated with meth – that was about 11.5%.
  • Do not think it is only in poor socio economic areas, it is everywhere!
  • Cleaning can be done – estimate cost of a 3 bedroom house is $15,000, but this doesn’t include replacing floor-coverings. Note meth labs cannot be cleaned, the property would need to be gutted.
  • Research is showing that meth residue side effects include respiratory problems, headaches, eye and skin irritation, sleep disturbance, behavioural problems in children and can also seriously affect pregnancies, and people with ADHD and asthma.
  • DO NOT get a test done from a company that also cleans.

As your agents we need to ensure you are armed with the most up-to-date knowledge to help protect your investment. Check out this video as we elaborate more on this topic.

We know certain Landlord Insurance policies will cover you for most costs and the process of a clean-up with a recognised Government agency.

Should the use of Methamphetamine be a concern in your property, the most affordable way to screen a rental property is by the lab-analysed Base Composite Screen. The baseline test involves the collection and analysis of several samples, with results returned within 48 hours.

If the house is clean, the property owner will gain a “safe living environment” certificate. If there is unsafe levels of methamphetamine present in your property, it will need to be cleaned by an industrial/commercial cleaning contractor. A procedure intended to remove illicit drug residues normally includes several washes with an alkaline detergent. In most cases, soft furnishings and carpets can be cleaned through laundering or steam cleaning. An outline of the process can be obtained from the Department of Health.

Methamphetamine use in residential homes sadly, is a real issue. Of course we hope none of our owners are faced with a methamphetamine clean-up. However this is another very important reason why Landlord Insurance is vital for a property owner.

Please visit EBM’s link for some interesting Myth busters!

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  • Dennis Sanchez

    Wow, I thought it was interesting when you explained that the residue that comes from meth usage will lock onto a surface and cannot be removed by standard cleaning methods. I can imagine that it would be hard to know what this kind of residue would look like. If I was in a situation like this, I would probably want to hire a professional cleaning service.

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