THE head of a home drug testing company has called for changes to be made to tenancy laws to deter the use of ice inside properties.
Meth Screen Australia chief executive Ryan Matthews said the issue of drug residue contamination is a genuine risk, particularly in regional locations.
“The region definitely has a problem, most regional parts are worse off than big cities due to higher unemployment and less opportunity, so it is a higher percentage of drug users in regional areas,” he said.
A third property also had to be decontaminated.
Clan lab police officers raided the first property on Trudewind Road in 2017 and identified items linked to ice manufacturing.
Parts of the first property had to be stripped out to remove the contamination.
Mr Matthews said the solution to contaminated homes was more about prevention rather than testing.
“I think a provision should be put in Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) policies outlining that a property can’t be contaminated with drugs as opposed to outright testing,” he said.
“It will be more of a baby steps way of acting to try and show people the potential consequences and deter them from illegal activity in the first place.”
According to Mr Matthews, education plays a key role.
“At this stage, education is important and by giving landlords the opportunity to make their own decision to protect their assets and tenants through RTA guidelines, it will become their responsibility and be more effective than making it a law,” he said.
“Ask the real estate managers to opt in or out of testing instead of implementing it to every home, and bring the liability back to them if they choose to take the risk in not drug testing.”
While many agree it is an issue, there are difficulties in actually implementing legislation.
One real estate agent said money could be wasted by testing homes where there had never been issues with tenants or indications of illegal activity.
A DHHS spokeswoman recently told The Border Mail homes could require extensive work to fix.
“Depending on the level of contamination, works can include replacing white goods, removal and appropriate disposal of any biohazard material, flushing of drains, cleaning any ventilation systems (and) removal and replacement of items such as carpets and plasterboard,” the spokeswoman said.
“Properties are always tested and validated as being clear to be re-tenanted.”