A Gold Coast family that unwittingly lived as tenants in a house riddled with toxic levels of methamphetamine is currently planning to take their former real estate agency to court.
After testing, it was discovered that the house had been contaminated with the drug by previous tenants. The managing agency was ordered to pay the family $2,120 by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) after it was found that the agency knew the former tenants were making methamphetamine on the premises. Despite the fact that the agency has since closed its doors, the family plans to lodge a civil claim against them for loss of goods and threat to life.
The back story
The Turner family moved into the four-bedroom Gold Coast home in December 2017. Within weeks, all four members of the family, including a 13-year old boy, had begun to experience persistent health issues such as headaches, brain fogginess, insomnia, respiratory issues, behavioural disturbances and skin rashes.
Six months into the tenancy, the family’s managing agents agreed to have the house tested for methamphetamine residue. The levels of methamphetamine in the home were found to be 20 times higher than the Australian safety guideline of 0.5 micrograms.
Despite being awarded the sum of $2,120 from their managing agency, the family plans to lodge a civil claim against them in the Magistrates Court for “loss of personal goods and threat to life”. They claim the contamination has seriously affected their health and left them out of pocket to the tune of about $30,000 because anything with a surface has had to be replaced, including all white goods, furniture and clothing.
Mitigate your risks
This is not the first time this issue has raised its ugly head. Unfortunately, cases like this are becomingly increasingly common. In February we posted a story released by the ABC, which reported that mandatory meth testing is now “on the cards” for rental properties in Western Australia in the wake of WA’s ice epidemic. If that happens, it will be a first for Australia, but other states could follow their lead.
While the jury is still out on a national mandatory testing policy, increasing meth use in Australia and the fact that agencies are being held liable when homes are found to be contaminated calls for proactive solutions. If you manage properties in a high-risk area for drug use, why not recommend meth testing between tenancies to your landlords? Maintenance Manager can help by storing the names of local drug testing companies, automatically issuing an email to landlords as a follow-up reminder if they fail to respond the first time, liaising with the tenant and tracking the status of the job. If the landlord continues to refuse, there is an audit trail on the system that proves you have done the right thing by recommending they take action. This audit trail can be used as evidence at Tribunal or in a court of law. Contact us on 1300 155 888 to learn more.