Prop­erty man­agers coat tail meth fears

South Waikato News - - Property - CHRIS HUTCHING

In­sur­ance claims for metham­phetamine de­con­tam­i­na­tion make up just 3 per cent of of all land­lord claims, but some real es­tate agen­cies have used the scare as a rea­son for land­lords to em­ploy their man­age­ment ser­vices.

First Na­tional chief ex­ec­u­tive Bob Br­ere­ton re­cently said land­lords man­ag­ing their own prop­er­ties were tak­ing un­nec­es­sary risks.

He cited work by one test­ing com­pany show­ing a high per­cent­age of homes tested pos­i­tive in Auckland, Welling­ton and Christchurch, al­though it was un­clear if the find­ings were at toxic lev­els or low residues.

Br­ere­ton cited a de­con­tam­i­na­tion case cost­ing $20,000. But in­sur­ance fig­ures show the most com­mon claims were for in­ter­nal wa­ter dam­age from leak­ing pipes and over­flows (30 per cent), weather-re­lated claims (20 per cent), de­lib­er­ate dam­age by tenants (15 per cent), and meth dam­age 3 per cent.

The data was col­lected by Ini­tio In­sur­ance for the Auckland Prop­erty In­vestors As­so­ci­a­tion

The in­sur­ance cost of meth con­tam­i­na­tion out of all claims was about 6 per cent.

While wa­ter, weather, and de­lib­er­ate dam­age claims made up 65 per cent of all claims, they only ac­count for 30 per cent of costs.

Fire made up just over 5 per cent of claims but cost al­most 60 per cent of the value of claims paid.

Ini­tio said the sin­gle most com­mon cause for claims was leak­ing wa­ter pipes, es­pe­cially in older homes where main­te­nance had fallen be­hind.

Fires caused by wiring and electronics fail­ure were the most dam­ag­ing.

One of the most com­mon sources was over­loaded mul­ti­plugs and wall sock­ets.

Prop­erty In­vestors Fed­er­a­tion ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer An­drew King said meth con­tam­i­na­tion was a big prob­lem, but only for a few land­lords.

‘‘The old lim­its were low and de­tected small residues. The new stan­dards will al­low more tol­er­ance. Of­ten there’s more harm done through the stress of think­ing you have a con­tam­i­nated house.

‘‘We’ll never get rid of metham­phetamine but we know more about it now and the lev­els that are toxic,’’ King said.

STACY SQUIRES/FAIR­FAX NZ

A meth test can cost between $3000 and $10,000.

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