New safe level announced – but not confirmed
On May 30 2018, the Minister of Housing P. Twyford, sitting alongside the now -retired government Chief Scientist Sir Peter Gluckman, announced that 15 micrograms / 100cm2 / room or area was safe.
However, no official documentation of any sort has been released by the Government, and just because a Minister says something on TV, doesn’t make it law. Or applicable to insurance companies and the like.
The announcement, and the comments that the Government had got something wrong with the NZ Standards level of 1.5, has naturally led to a lot of confusion and disbelief. There are people who agree and disagree that 15 is safe, and the methods to reach that conclusion.
Frankly, Habitat Property Services – meth testing houses in Auckland – agree that 15 is safe enough. We’ve been saying so for years – see ‘hype’ tags on our old website’s blog, eg: http://www.habitatpropertyservicesnz.com/blog/we-agree-the-meth-issue-is-over-hyped. The new level will take a lot of pressure off owners, buyers and sellers, and stop a lot of unnecessary work.
Most houses are zero, and the vast majority of houses that test positive are under 15.
But what’s the industry reaction?
Well, Habitat Property Services are in regular contact with large real estate entities, and can report the following;
most organisations are sticking to the NZ Standards level of 1.5. This is due to a lack of any documented alternative, and is seen as a way of preventing breach of an official Guideline (Standards).
These organisations include insurance companies, Property Management companies, etc. Construction and refurbishment companies also are sticking to 1.5, mainly to satisfy Worksafe and other legal ramifications.
The only exception seems to be HNZ who adopted a level of 15 immediately after Twyford’s announcement.
Tenancy Services Wellington have removed any mention of a level of any sort from their website. They told me that the do not now make judgement on level of meth. They refer to the RTA, and provisions around chemical contamination, intentional damage, and illegal activity. It is illegal to rent out a chemically contaminated property. Meth damage is damage and your insurance company will have an opinion on that. Illegal activity is grounds for evicting a tenant.
I think it was Twyford who said the Government will be accepting Public Consultation on this matter by the end of 2018. Expect updated NZ Standards in 2019, that’s probably the most efficient bureaucratic process.
What about owner’s and the meth testing business?
Habitat Property Services advise their clients to consider the high probability that a new level of around 15 will be acceptable in the future. Eg, if there’s meth remediation work required for a level of 1.9, think about the schedule of events.
We’ve notice a slight drop off in meth testing jobs, so all meth testing companies will feel the pressure. The decontamination companies will really hurt though.
Regardless of all of the above, people still don’t want to buy, or live in a meth contaminated house. Neither would I. Luckily, meth is quite easily cleaned up. Well, it’s labour intensive, but easier and seems to be less dangerous than asbestos and probably Stachybotris Mould, and certainly lead as well.
Best wishes, good luck with your Property Management and house buying ventures.