Property-managing the meth epidemic

John Thistleton 27 February 2019 19

Last year it was reported as many as 300 homes in Canberra had tested positive for large traces of methamphetamine.

Access to water and a power source are all criminals need to manufacture the drug best known as ice, the scourge of society today. Unfortunately, many of the criminals operate from residential rental homes.

Next week in Canberra, property managers at an industry conference will learn how to identify potential contamination in rental homes from manufacturing methylamphetamines – also known as meth, ice, crystal meth and ‘P’ – and from smoking meth in residential properties.

Last year, it was reported as many as 300 homes in Canberra had tested positive for large traces of methamphetamine but had not been fully decontaminated due to the clean-up cost involved.

The criminal “cooks” synthesise methylamphetamine from ingredients containing pseudoephedrine. Many of the chemicals are highly corrosive and dangerous. The cooking process of solids, liquids or vapours is absorbed into carpets, gyprock walls, drains and ducting. It gets into furniture, even cooking appliances.

Property managers are urged to attend the Grassroots Conference on 5 March to hear about the fallout of the ice epidemic already involving thousands of properties. Smoking and cooking ice ruins houses and managers may find themselves managing one. Experts will discuss what’s involved for managers and their landlord if meth smoking or meth lab activity is happening in their properties.

Grassroots will feature a presentation from MethScreen Australia Managing Director Ryan Matthews who says property managers will discover how to manage testing and decontamination and communication with the property owner and law enforcement.

“Contaminated properties can be a real health hazard, particularly to children and women who are pregnant,” Mr Matthews says. “Property managers are in the front line when it comes to identifying meth use or manufacturing activity in rental properties, and it’s important they understand the implications for their property owners,” he says.

Health effects from exposure to the drug and chemicals used in its manufacture can include asthma-like symptoms, coughs, eye irritation, difficulty sleeping, headaches, rashes and behavioural changes in children. Interstate police are campaigning for national laws to protect residents from the toxic side effects of clandestine drug laboratories.

This cannot happen soon enough for Veronica Rawlinson, a Nowra woman renting a home who broke out in a skin rash on her shoulder and arm. Testing confirmed the place had been used as a meth lab.
Ms Rawlinson told ABC Radio: ”Everything changed after that, I left the property with two cats and a handbag because all of my belongings were contaminated and now have to be triple-wrapped in plastic and buried in the ground at the tip.”

The IndustryPro Grassroots Conference will also feature sessions on communicating with property owners and tenants, successful induction processes for new tenants, and will feature a pop-up stall by conference sponsor Lorna Jane.

IndustryPro’s Grassroots conference is an opportunity for property managers to learn best practice management techniques and keep abreast of the hot topics in the industry. Grassroots registrations are open until 4 March. Tickets are available at the Conference website,

This is a sponsored article, though all opinions are the author’s own. For more information on paid content, see our sponsored content policy.

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19 Responses to Property-managing the meth epidemic
Nick Stone Nick Stone 5:42 pm 28 Feb 19

ACT Housing must take a lot of the blame for ACT Housing properties. Tax payer funded residences go unchecked, inspections are as rare.

    Richard Willcoxson Richard Willcoxson 10:12 pm 28 Feb 19

    Nick Stone half the time they’d be lucky if they knew who was in them. Mate at work had a govvie next door. The government had to scrape off the surface of the block due to needles.

    Melissa Helmers Melissa Helmers 10:51 pm 28 Feb 19

    Nick Stone ACT Housing need to follow the rules as any other landlord. Inspections are 12 monthly.

    Veronika Sain Veronika Sain 11:14 pm 28 Feb 19

    I’m surprised they inspect every 12 months given the trashed govie house in my street and the resident drug dealer who’s been taken off by police a few times and has returned back to the same house. Last I heard the housing department actually wanted to sell the house to him.

    Nick Stone Nick Stone 12:06 am 01 Mar 19

    Melissa Helmers

    They may say it's 12 monthly but I don't believe they do it. I have seen these places first hand. Disgraceful waste of tax payer monies.

    Travissi Gilbert Travissi Gilbert 2:32 am 01 Mar 19

    Nick Stone the most successfully drug manufacturers are not in public housing, they own multiple properties and hospitality venues.

    Nick Stone Nick Stone 8:41 am 01 Mar 19

    Travissi Gilbert

    I never made any reference about successful drug manufactures being in public housing. I'm merely stating my observations. But I do agree with your comment.

    Jess Lucia Jess Lucia 10:42 am 01 Mar 19

    Melissa wow, I rent privately and depending on the agent it’s 6 months inspections but one agent did it every 3 months at the request of the owner!

    Melissa Helmers Melissa Helmers 2:53 pm 01 Mar 19

    Yes, some people will be on much more regular schedules. If you look after your place you will have the less frequent.

    Kristy Morton Kristy Morton 3:36 pm 02 Mar 19

    Travissi Gilbert lol also plenty in govi homes trying to be top dog lol

Robyn Ahlstedt Robyn Ahlstedt 7:37 pm 28 Feb 19

Comes down to inspections carried out on all rentals. Regularly. None of this 'come back later, its not convenient '.

Wing Nut Wing Nut 8:14 pm 28 Feb 19

Part of the end of lease inspection should be a contamination test and if positive, the names handed to police and the house taken off the market. This doesn’t help the land lord who’s left with a house they can’t rent and now potentially worthless but protects the next Tennant’s from hazards. Crap Sanger all round really except for the cooks who’ll shoot through.

Danielle Smith Danielle Smith 8:24 pm 28 Feb 19

And we got a defect notice for soap scum...

Josh Dean Josh Dean 8:07 am 01 Mar 19

Michael Sydney I offer this service as part of my cleaning business now.

Testing for Meth.

Roland Stanley Inman Roland Stanley Inman 8:10 am 02 Mar 19

Renters must get the house tested. Real estate agents should as well but the temptation not to is very strong.

Bravo Jeff Bravo Jeff 10:49 am 02 Mar 19

Aaron Truman Liana Houston careful!

    Liana Truman Liana Truman 11:06 am 02 Mar 19

    Bravo Jeff it’s family friendly right? 😝

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:28 am 02 Mar 19

I can see this revelation making it harder for some suspect (rightly or wrongly) groups of renters to now find a house to rent.

Renee Oldham Renee Oldham 12:00 pm 03 Mar 19

How do you test for meth ?

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