RSS Feed

Compulsory meth test?

Monday, March 21, 2016


APIA Ask An ExpertI received a phone call from a letting agent saying that after 4th April 2016 there will be mandatory meth testing for all rental properties pre-letting and that landlords will be penalised severely if traces of meth is being detected.  Can you confirm that it is correct? 

APIA Ask An Expert

No, we cannot confirm that statement as being absolute correct.  However the date 4th of April is telling (being from when the new Health and Safety at Work Act comes into effect) so this matter warrants further examination.

Related article: How will landlords be affected by the new workplace health and safety law?

Firstly, to date we have received no notification from any government agencies requiring landlords to carry out mandatory methamphetamine tests at rental properties although we recommend that our members carry out routine testings (pre and post tenancy) as good practice.  

Secondly, upon forwarding this enquiry to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, we obtained the following response: 

... [upon confirming with then] Housing Market Policy, Communication and Compliance teams within MBIE Market Services, as well as Worksafe... [it has been confirmed that MBIE has] not released the information about mandatory methamphetamine testing.  To reiterate ... MBIE is working on changes to the Residential Tenancies Act for new requirements for insulation and smoke alarms.  The proposed requirements for smoke alarms and insulation will not include mandatory testing requirements for methamphetamine. Details are available online here.

Kristine King from Duncan King Law further clarifies, 


Whilst mandatory methamphetamine testing will not be part of our laws in the near future, it may be that individual organisations including letting agents will adopt this requirement as part of their internal health and safety policy from 4 April. This would be done to push the liability for testing to the owners. Accordingly we recommend that owners contact organisations such as their letting agents and insurers and enquire as to their requirements for methamphetamine testing.


We have reached out to Worksafe and have been advised, verbally, that the new HSWA is a principal based piece of legislation which does not contain a black and white list of known hazards and it certainly makes no specific mention of methamphetamine tests at rental properties.  However, landlords (as PCBUs under the Act) have a duty of investigating further and mitigating a known potential/or suspected risk.  General ignorance will not likely be a defence.  We are in the process of obtaining an written opinion form Worksafe to circulate to our members.  

Related article: How to stop tenants from 'breaking bad'?

But just because there is no absolute legal authority from the HSWA for mandatory methamphetamine testing doesn't mean routine tests should not be carried out.  S45 of the RTA is authority for landlords being bound by the HSWA insofar as the rental property is concerned.  Which means that as PCBUs, landlords will need to take all reasonably practicable steps to eliminate or minimise any workplace health and safety risks.  To determine what is 'reasonably practicable' will require the weighing up of a known risk (methamphetamine laboratories) versus the practicality of appropriate preventative measures (such as pre- and post- tenancy screening).  

A Worksafe spokesperson explains that health and safety issues should be considered against a number of factors,


What is reasonably practicable takes into account how much is commonly known about the risks involved, as well as the recognised ways of eliminating and minimising them... The availability and cost of safeguards should also be considered. The question is not whether the business has the cash on hand to pay for the solution, but rather whether the cost is proportionate to the harm that could result. No one expects NASA-type technology where the risk is relatively low and a cost-effective and simple solution could work just as well.


Various legal opinions take different views as to where that balance is.  Suffice to say that on the subject of mandatory methamphetamine testing there is no black and white answer at this stage although routine and thorough testing is good practice to ensure that your rental properties are meth free.  

Disclaimer - The answer provided above is informational and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  For personalised legal advice, please feel free to contact your professional legal advisor directly.  



Recent Posts



Introducing Our Partners
Principal Sponsor - Kris Pedersen Mortgages & Insurance logo Gold Sponsor - Barfoot & Thompson logo Gold Sponsor - CoreLogic logo Keith Hay Homes logo Maintain To Profit logo The Insulation Warehouse logo The New Zealand Property Investors' Federation logo
09 360 2376

The Tenancy Practice Service and TPS Credit Control work closely with the Auckland Property Investors' Association. Our vision of bringing helpful resources, documents and high quality services to Auckland Property Investors and Property Managers is shared by APIA, so its a partnership that works well. 

The Auckland Property Investors' Association is a great organisation for those who want access to advice and information from a range of industry experts and partners. 

Mathieu Holt- Managing Director, The Tenancy Practice Service & TPS Credit Control
Through the Association I found the channels and methods to fund the purchase of property I never dreamed about. Grant Brown

All round it has been one of those things Neil and I felt was really worthwhile belonging to. We have learned so much it has just built our confidence in what we are doing.

Janice Bieleski
I read two articles in the monthly magazine that saved me over $5,000. That is my membership fee for the next 26 years and I am sure I will learn a whole lot more! John Duncan
Fantastic organisation. The networking opportunities are brilliant and provide us with information and opportunities that cannot be obtained anywhere else. We learn something new at every meeting and we've been in this game for nearly 20 years. Pauline and Gyanen Kumar

I find the information obtained from various APIA meetings very useful in guiding my own property investment and rental management.  I also enjoy the networking opportunities with like-minded investors.  I am inspired by other investors’ success and find the more experiences and knowledge that I share with others, the more confident I become.  

Thanks to all APIA event organizers and administrators for your brilliant work. 

Stella Shao

I like talking to people and learning from their experience because it gives me the confidence to invest well. I think it is a knowledge thing. I now know I am doing things the right way.

Stephen Weatherall

My APIA membership has become a total success.

Every time I attend a monthly or regional meeting I come away with so many useful and positive tips that have added value to my property investments and management.

Not only that, the website is a great place for practical advice and useful information. It has now evolved into an important resource for my business.

Talk about value for money! The discounts I have been getting at Bunnings when I present my APIA membership card have more than paid for my annual subscription!

Tim Duffett, Plan A Investments Limited