Property editor of the NZ Herald

Landlords want DIY meth-testing to save costs

Peter Lewis, a landlord who wants a new DIY regime for P-testing, at one of his rental properties. Photo/ Michael Craig
Peter Lewis, a landlord who wants a new DIY regime for P-testing, at one of his rental properties. Photo/ Michael Craig

Mounting costs of testing rental properties for methamphetamine worry Auckland landlord Peter Lewis who wants a new do-it-yourself regime so investors can save money.

Tests on an individual property can cost thousands of dollars, he says, so landlords could avoid that if they could carry out their own investigations, recognised by a state entity in tenancy rulings, Lewis said.

"The Tenancy Tribunal takes the view that a test by a manager or owner is inadequate. So commercial tests are necessary. We need to test places before and after letting them, so that's two tests per tenancy which can cost $2000 to $3000 which is substantial," he said.

He wants landlords to be able to take "half-day or short courses" to learn techniques so a new DIY regime can be ushered in. The tribunal should recognise that, said the landlord with 12 properties worth about $6 million.

Miles Stratford, a director MethSolutions which tests properties, raised issues with Lewis' suggestions.

"The industry needs independent well-trained professionals. To be a basic tester, you can be trained in half a day. But it takes much longer to train in techniques and competency. That can't be done in half a day," Stratford said.

But Lewis said landlords were paying money they didn't need to.

"If anyone can be a tester than why can't landlords so long as we are appropriately trained? We agree that testing has to be regulated and standardised but why do we need to pay for something we can do ourselves? We're simply looking for a common sense outcome for a social problem. The way it stands now, everyone is hurting," Lewis said.

The Auckland Property Investors Association backs Lewis' calls.

Tenancy Services says landlords must provide a clean property.

"Both landlords and tenants should check for any signs of 'P' at the property, before they rent a property. If landlords rent out a property that is contaminated by 'P', they are breaching their obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, as well as other legislation such as the Building Act and the Health Act," the state entity says.

"The police and some local authorities have procedures to notify local councils when they identify contaminated properties. Landlords should check for any signs of 'P' during and between tenancies," Tenancy Services says.

Auckland landlord Andrew Bruce will host a web seminar on the meth issue next Thursday.

See here for details.

- NZ Herald

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