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The Tribunal's position on meth

Thursday, November 14, 2019

This week's question comes from Pat (paraphrased):  

Considering the inconclusiveness of what is a 'safe' level of meth presence, how would the Tenancy Tribunal decide on cases concerning the landlord's obligation to provide a safe home with respect to meth?

You are right in pointing out the two competing opinions on what is considered 'safe' when it comes to traces of meth in the home. Standards New Zealand says it is 1.5µg/100cm2 and the Gluckman Report says 15µg/100cm2. Parliament is yet to put forth a unified level that is legally binding and instructive for landlords.

'For the time being, the Tribunal is following the Gluckman Report and does not consider any property reading under 15µg/100cm2 as contaminated. Additionally, it also acknowledges that contamination does not automatically mean harmful,' says Andrew King, Executive Officer of The New Zealand Property Investors' Federation. 'It is a good-news-bad-news story for landlords really,' Andrew continues, 'On the one hand, having the judicial arbiter behind the more relaxed standard certainly takes away some of the harshnesses felt on the coalface during the pre-Gluckman meth-scare. On the other hand, a higher acceptable maximum points to a higher threshold for tenant damage. Even if a landlord can prove that (a below 15µg/100cm2) contamination happened during the tenancy, if he elects to clean/decontaminate, it is unlikely that he will be able to recover the insurance excess from his tenant seeing that legally, no damage has been done to the property.' 

We continue to advise APIA members to adopt a regular testing routine to maintain a good level of visibility over what is happening at your rental property. 

Do you have any tenancy related questions? Write to us at admin@apia.org.nz or hit us up on our social channels here and here

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