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Drug detection expert warns renters

By buseman, Jul 26, 2010 | |
  1. buseman
    People looking to rent houses should add another item to their checklist on whether it's a good place in which to live.

    And that is - make sure it's never been a P lab.

    The number of residential properties used to manufacture methamphetamine has become a big concern for renters. Former P labs can create serious health issues for unsuspecting new tenants.

    Nick McLeay from the New Zealand Drug Detection Agency told the Breakfast programme people should be absolutely sure before they move in - simple things like asking neighbours or police is a starter.

    If a person's already moved in, McLeay said the warning signs a property may have been a drug lab are itchy skin, nose and throat irritations, restlessness, lack of energy and inability to sleep. It has a particularly bad effect on children.

    McLeay's company gets five or six calls a week from people who want their potential new rental home checked out.

    It used to be obvious in the worst-case scenarios if a house was used to manufacture methamphetamine, but crooks have become good at covering up the sign or preventing outward signs of obvious contamination, said McLeay.

    Cleaning a property can cost anything from $500 through to $25,000 depending on the level of contamination.

    He said most landlords are concerned about the health of their tenants so will have their rental properties cleaned, and are also obliged to do so under the Tenancy Act. McLeay said it would just be a small percentage who turn a blind eye or don't have the property cleaned to a safe standard.

    McLeay said Customs are making big seizures at the border of ingredients used to manufacture drugs including P, but it's still difficult to measure how many houses are still being used to manufacture it.

    Monday July 26, 2010


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