A test to check for the presence of meth when purchasing a property is becoming more common, there is still a lot of speculation and miss-information out there, but it is something we have to deal with and there is a process to follow once there has been an indication of the presence of Meth in a home. Meth can be detected in a home where it has just been smoked casually and in more serious cases, where it has actually been produced.
There is a test that can be done to ascertain the level of contamination and the results are measured against a standard that has been set by The Ministry of Health which is as follows – ‘total concentrations below 0.5mg/100cm3 are considered ‘acceptable’ for post remediation pre occupancy’.
Most Building Inspectors will do a simple swab test as part of their service. This is usually a swab sample of different areas of the property and this will answer the basic question “is there Meth present?” If it is, a further, more accurate lab test is needed to give you the total amount of Meth present. The results of this will dictate the level of cost of addressing the problem to make the house ‘clear’ of the contamination.
In the event that the home has been redecorated (painted over contaminated areas) you could consider a subservice meth test. This is a lot more expensive and only done by trained professionals. It’s a scary issue as we only tend to read about the really bad cases in the media, but with good information the buyers can make informed decisions based on facts instead of speculation and the home can then be bought with confidence.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO AS A BUYER?
If you suspect contamination or you just want to be sure, have a clause inserted into your Sales and Purchase Agreement that the offer is conditional upon a satisfactory Methamphetamine test (your solicitor can help you with this) Ask your building inspector to conduct a swab test during a building inspection or get a professional lab in straight away to do the full test. This means if there is an unacceptable level of Meth detected, you can choose to work with the vendor to remedy the situation or you can walk away from the purchase if you feel you need to.
Costs will vary with each contaminated property, if the reading is only slightly over the 0.5 standard levels then a professional clean of the home is usually all that is needed, you can make that decision when the results for the home you want to buy comes back…. And then your decision is based on facts, not scaremongering.