Residue find sparks call for no-meth proof

Southern Telegraph - - News - Chloe Fraser and Kate Camp­bell

A home­owner in the Rock­ing­ham area is call­ing on the State Gov­ern­ment to make it com­pul­sory for sell­ers to show proof prop­er­ties were free of metham­phetamine con­tam­i­na­tion be­fore hit­ting the mar­ket.

It comes af­ter she dis­cov­ered a home she was look­ing to pur­chase tested pos­i­tive for high amounts of meth residue.

Re­cently re­lo­cat­ing from re­gional WA, Ron­nie, who re­quested her sur­name not be printed, said she chose to have her favoured home meth-tested af­ter she was ad­vised the prop­erty had a his­tory with meth use.

De­spite be­ing told the house had been chem­i­cally cleaned and was safe for habi­ta­tion, Ron­nie said the agent and the ven­dor were un­able to sup­ply proof the prop­erty was con­tam­i­na­tion free.

Con­cerned about health risks, Ron­nie had the home in­de­pen­dently tested with metham­phetamine residue ex­perts Meth Screen, which found four rooms in the home had more than 28 times above the safe Aus­tralian stan­dard.

“I’m for­tu­nate I chose to have the prop­erty re-tested,” she said.

“Agents and some clean­ing com­pa­nies are say­ing prop­er­ties are clean when they’re any­thing but.

“The Gov­ern­ment, real es­tate agents and land­lords sell­ing and or rent­ing prop­er­ties need to take the metham­phetamine residue prob­lem se­ri­ously and ed­u­cate them­selves on this is­sue.

“It can af­fect any­one, ir­re­spec­tive of their fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion and where they’re look­ing to buy.”

Test­ing firm Meth Screen re­cently re­vealed Rock­ing­ham was one of the most com­mon call-out lo­ca­tions for test­ing.

Since Jan­uary this year, Meth Screen has screened more than 112 homes in WA with 53 per cent of prop­er­ties test­ing pos­i­tive to meth residue.

Meth Screen chief ex­ec­u­tive Ryan Matthews said many peo­ple did not re­alise the drug’s residue hung around for “decades”.

“You don’t know what goes on be­hind closed doors or how a prop­erty was be­ing used be­fore you,” he said.

“Without phys­i­cal ev­i­dence it’s im­pos­si­ble to de­ter­mine if drugs were cooked or smoked in (the prop­erty).

“Aus­tralia has clear guide­lines on the safe lev­els of metham­phetamine residue al­lowed in a prop­erty . . . any­thing above 0.5 of a mi­cro­gram is con­sid­ered un­ac­cept­able and not fit for oc­cu­pancy.”

He said leg­is­la­tion was needed to make the is­sue black and white — that prop­er­ties could not be rented or sold if an un­safe level of meth residue was iden­ti­fied.

There are cur­rently real es­tate in­dus­try calls for the State Gov­ern­ment to leg­is­late a manda­tory sys­tem sim­i­lar to the zero-tol­er­ance ap­proach in New Zealand, where ev­ery prop­erty needs a de­con­tam­i­na­tion clear­ance cer­tifi­cate.

Com­merce and In­dus­trial Re­la­tions Min­is­ter Bill John­ston said meth con­tam­i­na­tion in rental prop­er­ties was one of sev­eral is­sues be­ing con­sid­ered in the Gov­ern­ment’s re­view of the Res­i­den­tial Ten­an­cies Act.

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