Midland Reporter - - Residential - Act­ing Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Com­mis­sioner David Hill­yard

THE dis­cov­ery of clan­des­tine drug lab­o­ra­to­ries, com­monly known as clan or meth labs, in sub­ur­ban homes makes the news reg­u­larly but dan­ger­ous chem­i­cal residues left on the premises can cause se­ri­ous health is­sues long af­ter the le­gal pro­cess has been com­pleted.

Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion re­cently up­dated in­for­ma­tion on its web­site about these il­licit drug lab­o­ra­to­ries to help ten­ants, land­lords and prop­erty own­ers bet­ter un­der­stand their rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Many agen­cies and au­thor­i­ties are in­volved in the no­ti­fi­ca­tion and cleanup pro­cesses for clan labs.

The up­dated web page pro­vides rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion and links, in ad­di­tion to de­tails about breach no­tices and lodg­ing com­plaints with Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion.

If the buyer or ten­ant of a prop­erty be­comes ill from ex­po­sure to harm­ful chem­i­cal residues be­cause it was a for­mer clan lab, then the real es­tate agency and the prop­erty owner could be at risk of le­gal ac­tion.

Where there is, or there should be, some knowl­edge of the for­mer il­le­gal use of the prop­erty, then plead­ing ig­no­rance by real es­tate pro­fes­sion­als is un­likely to be suf­fi­cient to avoid pro­ceed­ings un­der the Aus­tralian Con­sumer Law, or to avoid po­ten­tial civil claims for com­pen­sa­tion.

In WA, the Real Es­tate and Busi­ness Agents Code of Con­duct re­quires prac­ti­tion­ers to make all rea­son­able ef­forts to find out the facts ma­te­rial to a trans­ac­tion and to make these facts known to all par­ties who may be af­fected by them.

While agents and prop­erty man­agers can­not dis­close what they don’t know, they must take due care in as­cer­tain­ing ma­te­rial facts about any prop­erty or busi­ness they sell or lease. Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion re­gards the non-dis­clo­sure of a se­ri­ous health haz­ard, such as a prop­erty con­tain­ing harm­ful chem­i­cal residue as a re­sult of be­ing a for­mer clan lab, as a breach of the Code.

Ten­ants and buy­ers should be up­front about ask­ing if a prop­erty has been used as a drug lab or if any ‘fit for habi­ta­tion’ up­grades have been or­dered on the prop­erty in the past.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.