• Status quo remains at Tenancy Tribunal post-Gluckman report

    The Tenancy Tribunal has published its first orders on methamphetamine since the Gluckman report sent shockwaves through New Zealand last month.

    The orders have been eagerly anticipated after the Prime Minister’s former Chief Science Advisor published a report last month saying that there was no evidence third-hand exposure to methamphetamine caused adverse health effects.

    As a result, Housing New Zealand and the Real Estate Agents Authority quickly established new contamination levels of 15 micrograms/100cm2 for their businesses.

    But it appears the status quo will remain at the Tenancy Tribunal until the Government establishes new ‘official’ standards in this contentious area.

    All six orders published since the Gluckman report was released on May 29 follow Standards New Zealand’s NZS 8510:2017, which has a contamination level of 1.5mg/100cm2.

    Only one Tenancy Tribunal order, application number 4128761, referenced the Gluckman report.

    “There is currently some debate about the health impact of methamphetamine however I agree that the use of premises for an unlawful purpose is something to be discouraged,” the adjudicator wrote.

    So it appears it’s business as usual for landlords and property managers until any legislative changes are made in this space.

    Tenancy.co.nz managing director Craeg Williams, whose mother had to pay for over $20,000 to decontaminate a property, says the Government and Tenancy Tribunal urgently needs to adopt a new standard for residential tenancies.

    “The residential rental industry urgently needs clarification from the Government and Tenancy Tribunal,” Williams says.

    “My family paid tens of thousands of dollars in remediation work to clean a methamphetamine contaminated property recently when the level was 8 micrograms/100cm2.

    ‘My mother’s house is just the tip of the iceberg. How many other landlords have had to pay thousands of dollars for unnecessary remediation work?

    “If Housing New Zealand and the Real Estate Agents Authority have established a level of 15 micrograms/100cm2, we believe there is no reason why the Tenancy Tribunal shouldn’t follow suit.

    “Tenancy.co.nz intend to lobby to the government to make this change happen as soon as possible.”