We are seeing some alarming statistics about methamphetamine contamination in Australian properties. In NZ, property screening has shown contamination in 50% of all properties tested. So, what are your tenants up to and how can you tell and protect yourself. We get all the facts today.
Kevin: We’ve reported on this in the past, and more and more, we’re starting to see this emerge as a major problem now. If you are the owner of a property – an investment property or even your own personal home, probably more so an investment property – you’re going to really want to have a listen to what we have to say in the next few minutes. Bryan Goodall is the National Sales Manager for a company that is called Octief. Basically, Bryan, your company is on top of the situation with regard to detecting methamphetamine poisoning in properties. Good morning, and welcome to the show.
Bryan: Good morning, Kevin. Thank you very much for having me.
Kevin: I read with interest that at least one state government is finding it difficult to get on top of this, paying about $400,000 just to clean up some homes that have been poisoned with methamphetamine. That was in Victoria.
Bryan: That’s absolutely right. And in fact, we use New South Wales as another example. Each year, they knock down six to ten homes that are probably so contaminated that they’re not economically worth cleaning. It’s a massive problem everywhere you go.
Kevin: Is this increasing? Are you noticing it increasing?
Bryan: The awareness is certainly increasing. We know that the usage – and we talking per capita – has nearly tripled in the last five years in Australia. Contamination therefore is bound to increase, also.
Kevin: Correct me if I’m wrong, Bryan. It’s not so much the fact that people are endangering themselves with this but the poisoning that’s left behind on properties is both hard to clean up and also quite harmful to innocent people like children and even adults.
Bryan: Absolutely. To be quite fair, I think that most people who are using – as in they’re smoking methamphetamine – they’re not necessarily out to harm anybody else or to do damage to a property or anything else, but they’re just not aware either of the effects that they’re having. The chemical contamination that they leave behind is both invisible – you can’t see it and can’t necessarily smell it – and you have innocent people who come into that room. You might have a future tenant, for example, and they have a small child. No one knows that that contamination is there, and then people start getting sick.
Kevin: The onus of investment properties relies very much on property managers to keep them on top of these types of situations. Are they aware of how widespread this is, and are they testing?
Bryan: Some are testing. I’d say that the majority are not testing. It’s quite concerning. I’ve spoken to a number of property managers in the last probably six months or so, and there are a lot of people who don’t believe we have an issue, they don’t see that there’s a real problem there, and they have their heads buried in the sand a little bit. There’s a real differentiating fact here between if we’re talking about a manufacturer’s house, like a clandestine lab where people have been manufacturing methamphetamine inside the house. That’s quite well-known and the awareness is out there. There are movies like Breaking Bad, etc. where people already have an image in their heads of what they’re doing to a house and the kind of contamination that can be left. That’s one problem. The other problem is – like we say – from people smoking, where we can’t see it, we can’t smell it, we don’t even know that contamination is there, and that’s a whole different story to deal with.
Kevin: What are the signs that a property manager should be looking out for?
Bryan: Like I said, Kevin, if we’re talking about a house that’s been smoked in, there literally are no signs. It could be as clean and tidy as your house or my house. There’s no staining and are no smells. You don’t know until people start getting sick. Quite often, that’s when these properties are discovered – when someone has been admitted to hospital on a number of occasions and no one quite knows why they’re getting sick. They get removed from that environment and they start getting well again, and they go back into that environment and they start getting sick. Then testing is done and we realize that there is, in fact, contamination there.
Kevin: Is there a low-level test that property managers can do to see if this is happening?
Bryan: There certainly is. That’s actually a service that we offer. We call it our Methamphetamine Baseline Screening. That’s a test where we would come out to your premises. We would take samples, send them to the laboratory, and the laboratory would actually give us a result to tell us whether there’s contamination there. From that early result, we can also tell whether the contamination is from manufacture or from use, as well. Kevin: We’ve already covered the cost of cleaning up, and that can be quite extensive. It just depends on the amount of poisoning. What does one of those tests cost?
Bryan: The laboratory test is $550 including GST, and that’s available in metro areas.
Kevin: Certainly something that property managers should be looking into and certainly property owners should be well and truly aware of. If you want to get a bit more information, the website is Octief.com.au. My guest has been Bryan Goodall. Bryan, thank you very much for your time.
Bryan: Thank you, Kevin.