A Guide for Buyers on how to protect your rental investment from illicit drug labs:
Brisbane is currently facing a methamphetamine epidemic. Unfortunately, it is not only hurting individuals, but also impacting property buyers and owners. It is not uncommon to hear that buyers have been unaware their investment property is being used as illegal drug labs. Methamphetamine accounts for 95% of Queensland’s manufacturing drug labs.
The continued illegal manufacturing of drugs usually involves toxic and corrosive substances and chemicals contaminating the residence and can present serious health and environmental risks to future occupants.
Symptoms that can occur due to drug residue include: throat irritation, respiratory problems, headaches, skin conditions and mental health issues.
We advise all our property and investment owners to look out for the signs of an illegal drub lab:
- If it is an investment property ensure all tenants have background checks.
- Unfortunately, a tenant willing to pay rent in advance with cash only can be a red flag.
- Windows have been blackened or covered up or the doors reinforced.
- Lots of traffic at the house during late or odd hours.
- Chemical or toxic smells noticed during routine inspections.
- Newly added pipes or houses in and around the windows and doors for ventilation.
- Heavy-duty fans or pumps style noises.
- Dying plants or grass in particular patches around the property.
Under the Queensland RTRA Act:
There is a legal responsibility of property owners to make sure their property is safe for future tenants. Since contamination from methamphetamine chemicals is a public health risk under the Public Health Act 2005 the responsibility to keep properties free from this risk falls on the landlord.
What does this mean for the property owner?
Being proactive is always best, so make sure your property manager is thorough and does regular routine inspections throughout the tenancy term. We know prevention is better than cure and this option can save owners thousands of dollars spent on cleaning costs or completely gutting the property.
We recommend all our property owners have insurance which will generally cover the cost of cleaning up chemical contamination and get rid of any lingering residue.
Lastly, testing of chemical contamination caused by methamphetamine can be conducted by trained professionals such as Australian Workplace Drug Testing Services (‘AWDTS’). Negative test results will be announced immediately while positive results are returned within 72 hours.
If the Bond is unlikely to recover all the costs spent on fixing the property, a landlord or property manager can seek compensation from the previous tenant by going to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
📲 Feel free to contact Hatzis Lawyers for further information on legal matters.