After many years of renting out your property, you’ve finally decided to sell up and move to the home of your dreams. However, your last tenant left you with a feeling that everything wasn’t ‘all good’ behind the closed doors. You’ve potentially read that meth contamination tends to affect rental properties more than others. So what can you do? What are the processes involved? Here are the 6 steps you should take from testing right through to sold!
Step 1 - Test
If you’re feeling unsure about whether or not your property is contaminated, you absolutely have to get it tested. While Chemcare doesn't provide comprehensive meth testing, we are the specialists in meth decontamination and can suggest what meth tests would be best for your situation. Many suspicious parties start the testing process with a baseline meth test - which simply tells you if there is meth present (but doesn’t show you the meth contamination levels). This process uses the same DIY meth test kit you can buy and use - but there is a bit of technique involved. For more information on DIY meth testing kits, have a read of 'How to Effectively Use DIY meth tests'
It’s important to note that you can’t justify a decontamination over one baseline test alone, you need exact meth levels from a Detailed Meth Assessment. Reliable testing companies should always offer a detailed meth assessment, which varies in price up to $1,500.
When it comes to testing, it’s important to know what you’re getting - ask the following questions of your tester:
- How many swab samples do I get?
- Will the report show contamination levels in each room?
- Will the tester take swabs from high recovery areas and low recovery areas?
Step 2 - Analyse
Different tests give you different report results. If you get a Screening Assessment test with a composite sample, this may only give you a positive / negative result in the property, but won’t give you the result for the affected rooms. A detailed assessment report on the other hand will show the meth level readings from each room.
After you really look into the detail of your report, you can make your next decision.
Step 3 - Decontaminate
If your results have come back with a positive reading for meth contamination, you must consider decontamination. While the new meth standards have raised the maximum meth level allowance, you must consider the sale-ability of your property. Chemcare decontaminates properties with low levels of meth up into levels of over 100 micrograms/100cm2. In the cases of low contamination levels below 1.5micrograms 100cm2, you can get a ‘precautionary’ meth clean. This involves the same cleaning process as a full decontamination to remove surface contamination, so you can be safe and be sure.
In terms of the processes involved, this varies considerably depending on: the levels of contamination, size of property, and building materials. With any decontamination, generally all soft furnishings (including curtains, sofas & soft toys) and carpets will need to be disposed of. Because these materials are more porous, and meth has a sticky quality, these surfaces are very expensive and time consuming to decontaminate effectively. When giving a quote, decontaminators also need to see if there is gloss on the walls, or wallpaper. Before any decontamination starts, you should be given a scope of work, which lists every step and action - so everything is clear.
With meth levels at the higher end of the spectrum, you may need to consider ‘stripping out’, which means the jib board will need to be removed. This can sometimes be initially cheaper than decontamination of the surfaces alone, HOWEVER, these building materials will need to be reinstated which can be more expensive than cleaning alone. Make sure whenever thinking of stripping out, what is the cost of replacement.
So you may be asking - well what are the costs? Chemcare provided us with an estimate of $4,170 plus GST, based on a 3 bedroom house with 3 rooms contaminated with a meth level reading of 5 micrograms/100cm2. Of course this price is dependent on a number of factors - there isn’t one price to cover all properties.
Step 4 - Test again
After your decontamination - it’s time to re-test the property to ensure the meth levels have been brought down to a safe level below the NZS 8510 standard levels. In some cases where meth levels were very high to start with, Chemcare can help you work with your sampling company to ensure the best chance of success first time around.
Generally however, you should be given the green light to let you know your property is safe and habitable again.
Step 5 - Refurbish
After a full meth decontamination, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to refurbish and freshen up. As mentioned earlier, if your property had high levels of meth contamination, your refurbishment costs may be considerably more. What generally will need replacing includes: carpets, curtains, air conditioning, light fittings, and jib board (only when levels are excessive - Chemcare has been able to bring levels down from 150 micrograms/100cm2 by cleaning solution alone). While it may seem to be a hassle, in the long-run it could come as a convenient time to renovate. This will surely add plenty of value to your final sale price.
Step 6 - Sold!
After this whole process it’s time to put your property on the market and get it sold! Now that you have a freshly cleaned, decontaminated and refurbished property - you can expect to get a reasonable price!
If you have any questions surrounding meth contamination, be sure to contact the team at
Chemcare on 0800 800 646.