The new Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019 has been passed. It will affect landlords and tenants in a number of ways, one of which will be allowing for regulations to be made to address how contamination of rental properties is tested and managed.
What will this entail? Over the next year the new regulations will be developed to prescribe the acceptable level for meth contamination, processes for testing (including when to test) and decontamination of rental properties.
The big question is, will the government keep the 1.5 level or elevate it?
We know that Housing NZ are working to the 15 ug/100cm2 level, based on a report released last year by Chief Science Advisor to Govt, Sir Peter Gluckman. As I understand, HNZ have adopted a system where by once a room triggers the 15 ug/100cm2, all rooms must then be cleaned down to under 1.5. One thing I have discovered, based on the many many houses I have decontaminated over the past few years, is that levels of 15 and over are becoming increasingly common.
In the mean time we will continue to work to the NZ Standard NZS 8510:2017 because insurance companies are following it and to issue a clearance certificate at the end requires this. If you are purchasing a house and it has tested over 1.5ug/100cm2 then it is unlikely you will obtain insurance and therefore finance as banks will not lend on a property that cannot be insured.
The best advice I can give is to keep testing your rentals and prospective property purchases because what ever changes come into play, one thing we do know is there will always be a stipulated “safe level”. If you are in doubt consult with your insurance company.