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P/Meth Testing

September 2016

Should you consider having a property tested for P contamination prior to purchase?

The use of Methamphetamine or “P” is a well-known issue in New Zealand. In 2001, New Zealand and Australia combined had one of the highest levels of usage in the world at 3.4% of the population. Although New Zealand’s usage levels have decreased since then, P remains a serious problem. It is not only P-users that may suffer from the serious health conditions associated with the drug, including skin disorders, psychotic behaviour and brain and respiratory damage. The contamination of houses by P means that every property purchaser is at risk.

Whether a property has been used as a P lab or P-users have simply inhabited the property in the past, some contamination is likely to be left on surfaces and in absorbent materials like curtains and carpets. In order to provide an idea of how common this is, statistics are currently showing that between 20% to 40% of all rental homes in New Zealand show some level of contamination. It is important to bear in mind that P is used and manufactured by all types of people, in all types of homes and suburbs. No area is at less risk.

For this reason, if you are looking to buy a property, we recommend that you consider having the property tested for P contamination prior to purchase. As a purchaser, we advocate making your Agreement for Sale and Purchase conditional upon the satisfactory outcome of a P test.
P-testing is particularly recommended if you notice any signs of use or manufacture in the property, such as strong chemical odours, rust coloured stains on walls and curtains, chemical or laboratory equipment, or empty medicine packaging.

There are many new companies that are offering P-testing services so you may wish to compare pricing. However, you could expect an initial test to cost between $200 to $500. If the levels of contamination are found to be above the Ministry of Health guidelines, a full test will be required to determine what the levels are in each room and therefore what remediation is required. A full test may cost between $2,500 and $3,500.

Although this is an unappealing additional expenditure when buying a house, it could prevent you from purchasing a property that causes serious health damage to you and your family and on which you would have to spend a vastly greater sum in order to clean up the contamination to protect your investment.

If you have any concerns in this regard, contact us first.