Tighter rules coming for meth testing companies

Tighter rules are on their way for businesses that test for methamphetamine (commonly known as meth or  ‘P’) contamination, and will be in place by the end of the year, the Government has announced.

An increasing number of homeowners and landlords use meth testing kits to check existing or prospective new properties.

Currently there are no standards or regulations around meth testing - the industry is unregulated and there have been reports of an increasing number of cowboy operators.

New standards to cover testing and contamination threshold

Building Minister Dr Nick Smith said the Government would have new national standards in place by the end of 2016.

These would cover testing methods, a maximum contamination threshold and the level of work required once that threshold has been reached.

No mandatory testing yet

Dr Smith ruled out making the testing mandatory.

"To make it mandatory over all 200,000 plus property sales per year, would add a cost to the sector that I think would exceed the benefit," he said.

Proposed Private Member's Bill to address 'P' problem

As well as the new standards, National MP Andrew Bayly has submitted a bill in the Private Member’s ballot that would give landlords more power to test and fix contaminated rental properties. The proposed changes include:

  • Allowing landlords to enter premises (with appropriate notice) for the purpose of testing for contamination by meth or other dangerous substances
  • Giving landlords the right to remove tenants if the house is uninhabitable
  • Ensuring contaminated houses aren’t knowingly rented out, and requiring landlords to inform tenants as soon as the contamination is discovered.

"This prevents landlords from knowingly renting contaminated properties and requires them to inform tenants as soon as practicable of the results of a P test that show dangerous levels of contamination," Mr Bayly said.

The proposed bill complements the Government's 'Tackling Methamphetamine Action Plan' and working group, which has been tasked with clarifying what levels of contamination are dangerous, standardising the testing methodology and considering remediation processes.