The meth issue for home buyers

When buying a house, the last thing you would expect is meth contamination. However, this can often go undetected until after you’ve moved in. Unless a property has been previously confirmed as a methamphetamine laboratory, or a cleansing order been issued by council - you may not know it's contaminated.



Don't be left with an ongoing problem

Before purchasing

Normally meth only shows in the LIM report if the police have been involved or if there is confirmation that meth has been cooked, and a cleansing order put in place by council. There have been instances where tenants got a meth test on the property and it came back as positive. They felt that their landlord/property manager was not fully disclosing and as a result, sent their copies of the test reports to their local council.

On the other hand, once the local Council receives information that a methamphetamine lab has been discovered, the information is recorded on the property LIM. The local authorities are obliged to store this information and the information would normally stay with the LIM report. Once the authorities get involved, your property is likely to stay with this LIM notification. This is why it’s better to test and decontaminate before it gets too late and you’re left with an ongoing problem.

Talk to your legal team before going unconditional about getting an independent assessment conducted. You can make a meth test a condition of the purchase and sale agreement. Just be sure to ask your conveyancing solicitor to confirm this. 

Even if the property is brand new, or recently built, you may need to consider at least a baseline meth test. We have already decontaminated new properties where they were contaminated during the building process. Although it's not commonly thought about, it's better to be safe and be sure.  


After moving in to a property contaminated with meth

You may notice your health suddenly deteriorate. Here are some of the common short-term symptoms that you’ve moved into a property contaminated by methamphetamine:

Older lady feeling unwell after living in a house with meth contamination

Feeling weak or cold
Shortness of breath
Burning skin
General confusion

Those most at risk include young children and the elderly.


Meth testing for home buyers

Before you purchase the property, make it a condition that you get the property completely meth tested. As Chemcare DOES NOT offer meth testing, we recommend consulting a reliable third party testing agency to undertake your meth testing. 

Get a baseline or indicative meth test.

This type of meth test simply shows you if there is contamination present, but doesn’t indicate the levels of contamination or necessarily what room the contamination is in. 

If the test comes back as positive, get a detailed meth test. Once meth has been confirmed in your home, you will need to see where in the property the meth is and at what level. 

Meth tests to avoid after first positive meth test

Composite test - this type of meth test only shows the average level of contamination in the entire property. It doesn’t show where the contamination is in the room, which makes it difficult when it comes to decontamination.

Chemcare requires at least a detailed meth assessment to complete a successful decontamination.