Dion Te Maru at a vacant rental property in Redland Bay. He is a technician with Smoke Alarm Solutions/Meth Screen. Picture: AAP/Claudia Baxter
Dion Te Maru at a vacant rental property in Redland Bay. He is a technician with Smoke Alarm Solutions/Meth Screen. Picture: AAP/Claudia Baxter

Coast property owners testing rentals for meth residue

THE number of Queensland property owners testing their homes for methamphetamine residue has skyrocketed.

One company performing the test, Meth Screen, has done more than 400 tests in the past seven months, with 35 per cent of Queensland properties testing positive for the illicit drug.

Their results found 36 per cent of properties on the Gold Coast, and 26 per cent of properties tested in Brisbane recorded a positive reading.

Six of the 14 properties tested on the Sunshine Coast had disturbing levels of ice and methamphetamine residue.

The risks associated with a contaminated property are serious and potentially life threatening, REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella warned.

"If it is suspected that drugs have been produced in a property, the matter should immediately be referred to an expert for appropriate testing, as well as the property manager associated with the property, and potentially the police," Ms Mercorella said.

Liz Unkles' Redlands rental property recently tested positive for ice, with methamphetamine readings three times above the Australian guideline levels.

"We're hopeful landlord insurance will pay for the house to be decontaminated, but at the moment the house is unrentable and we're losing thousands of dollars in potential rent," Mrs Unkles said.

"I'd hate to think of the repercussions if I had leased the property to a family with young children, without getting the property tested."

The increase in demand has prompted Smoke Alarms Solutions to offer a meth testing service to the 220,000 properties it already services.

CEO Cameron Davis said the issue was on the radar of real estate agents.

"The ramification of not having these properties fit for purpose could be huge," he said.

If an initial test carried out by Smoke Alarms Solutions comes back positive it is then passed on to Meth Screen to discover the exact level of contamination.

Ms Mercorella said the toxicity of ice residue could last for quite some time. Residue could be found in the carpets, the walls - basically every surface in the property.

Meth Lab Cleaners Australia director Joshua Marsden said it cost between $5000 and $30,000 to clean and decontaminate a house. In extreme cases a house may need to be demolished.

"The demand for our service has increased by five times in the past month," Mr Marsden said.

Meth Screen CEO Ryan Matthews said it was time the Australian government joined the likes of New Zealand and made testing for meth mandatory.

News Corp Australia

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