New advice on methamphetamine contamination for real estate agents and home buyers

7 June 2018

Real estate agents must tell prospective house buyers if a property has methamphetamine contamination of 15 micrograms per 100cm2 or above, says the Real Estate Authority (REA).

The new advice follows the May 2018 report from the office of the prime minister’s chief science advisor, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman. The report found there was no evidence of adverse health effects from third-hand exposure to methamphetamine smoke residue on household surfaces.

REA chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith says methamphetamine contamination of 15 micrograms per 100cm2 or above will now be considered a property defect that must be disclosed to potential buyers.

Real estate agents are not obligated to disclose confirmed results below 15 micrograms per 100cm2 unless they are asked.

Lampen-Smith says this position reflects the findings in the Gluckman report, which also said that methamphetamine testing was only necessary if there was a strong suspicion or advice from police that a property had been used for heavy methamphetamine use or production using solvents or highly toxic chemicals.

“The REA welcomes the report, which brings much-needed clarity to an extremely fraught area. The chance of buying a house with risky levels of methamphetamine contamination is very low. It is highly unlikely that 40 per cent of New Zealand properties are contaminated as has been reported previously.”

Lampen-Smith says people looking to buy property should visit settled.govt.nz to learn more, and always ask the real estate agent if they are concerned about methamphetamine contamination.

“We strongly encourage people to ask lots of questions when buying a property. If you are worried about potential methamphetamine contamination because you suspect the property was used as a meth lab, ask your lawyer to include a satisfactory meth test as a condition of your offer.”

Lampen-Smith says the new guidance and the findings in the report do not alter previous decisions made by the regulator’s Complaints Assessment Committees or the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal (READT).

For more information or to speak to Kevin Lampen-Smith, contact REA media communications manager Lucy Corry on 0278 376 026 or lucy.corry@rea.govt.nz

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