A Blenheim home owner is upset the house she grew up in and rented out has been contaminated by methamphetamine and she fears bankruptcy is her only option because she cannot afford to pay to have it fixed.
Natasha McCracken, who owns a house with husband Jamie, said after the place was rented out, it tested positive for P and she says she faces a huge decontamination bill, after the Marlborough District Council issued a repair notice.
"We spent $11,000 renovating the house before we rented it out," she said of the home previously owned by her parents. "This is where I grew up. We can't pay for the remediation because it would be up to tens of thousands."
The property has a mortgage registered against it of $364,000, she said.
She is angry the house has been contaminated, saying landlords have few rights in such difficult circumstances.
"It's bull****. It's really unfair," she said of the situation she has found herself in.
On Thursday, the Herald published an article about more than $100,000 worth of damage done to an Auckland house owned by full-time landlord Ron Goodwin. He complained he could not get money from the tenants who he said had also trashed the house, leaving him to take seven loads of rubbish to the dump.
The Marlborough house could be closed to occupation if it is not fixed.
On February 17, council compliance manager Gina Ferguson issued the written notice to fix the dwelling under the Health Act.
The notice says the council was "provided with laboratory results of testing which show methamphetamine levels far in exceedance of the Ministry of Health Guidelines. At such levels, habitation may cause adverse health effects on persons within the premises."
The house must be decontaminated, then further testing should be carried out to confirm meth levels were below thresholds provided by the Ministry of Health, Ferguson wrote in the notice.
The next step is to close the property, barring it from being lived in.
"If you do not comply with this notice, an offence is committed under the Health Act 1956 and council may issue a closing order for these premises," the notice said.
The compliance order expires on February 23, meaning the owners must take action on or before that date.
McCracken is upset.
"We're not wealthy investors," she told the Herald, explaining how the property was rented when she and her husband shifted to Rangiora.
Property records show the house and section are valued at $455,000.
Police refused to comment on the situation.
"Police do not respond to requests which seek to confirm whether a specific individual is the subject of a police investigation," a statement said.
Ferguson said it was relatively rare for the council to issue such notices.
"In total over the last five years, it may be only three," she said of notice numbers.