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Regulator says meth report should comfort home buyers

New Zealanders can feel more confident about buying homes following a new Government report that dismisses the health risks of passive methamphetamine exposure, says the Real Estate Authority (REA).

A report released yesterday by the prime minister’s chief science advisor, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, found there was no evidence that third-hand exposure to methamphetamine smoke residue on household surfaces had adverse health effects.

REA chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith says the report should help reduce the stress involved in buying property.

“The report said that there was little reason to test a property for methamphetamine contamination unless there was a strong suspicion that it had been used to house methamphetamine production or there had been very heavy drug use there. This has been reinforced by Professor Gluckman’s subsequent comments that testing is not recommended unless the Police suspect it has been a place of meth manufacturing. This removes many concerns that people have for their loved ones when buying property.”

Lampen-Smith says prospective buyers who remain worried about methamphetamine contamination should read the report and seek legal advice before signing a sale and purchase agreement.

“We strongly encourage buyers to ask lots of questions when looking at purchasing a property. If you are concerned about the potential for methamphetamine contamination because you suspect the property was used as a meth lab, ask your lawyer to include a satisfactory meth test as a condition of your offer.”

The REA says it encourages New Zealand’s 15,000-plus licensed real estate agents to read the report and consider its impact on real estate transactions.

Lampen-Smith says the REA supports the need for an immediate review of the standard.

“We have been waiting for this report and now that we have seen it we are preparing more detailed guidance for the industry about the disclosure of methamphetamine contamination.

“What is clear is that health issues that had previously been deemed to be very serious should now not be viewed that way. We expect that this report will be a significant contributor to future Real Estate Agent Disciplinary Tribunal considerations regarding real estate agents’ obligations,” Lampen-Smith says.

“In some respects the challenge for the real estate industry remains the same as it has always been. Real estate agents and sellers are required to disclose information that is relevant to a buyer.”


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