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How to recognise if your rental property is being used to manufacture illegal drugs

This article caught our attention recently.  It discusses the unfortunate reality of landlords being faced with bills as high as $100,000 following their property being used secretly by their tenants to manufacture drugs, specifically ice.meth warning sign

The equipment needed to manufacture crystal methamphetamine is relatively cheap and easy to source, which allows meth labs to be easily set up in residential premises.

Meth labs have been found operating from homes in the suburbs, high rise apartments, or increasingly, in rural locations.

The majority of the meth labs detected were operating from rental properties.

Due to the carcinogenic, highly toxic and long lasting effect of the chemicals involved, the clean up process is extensive and costly.  Sometimes the whole house has to be stripped back due to the permeation of the toxic chemicals.

Meth Lab Cleaners Australia’s Josh Marsden believes that it should be mandatory for all landlords to test for traces of methamphetamine-related chemicals at the end of every tenancy.

Specialised meth lab decontamination units are used to deal with the effects of the highly toxic chemicals involved, and some insurance policies are now specifically including meth lab decontamination in their policies.

Warning Signs

While most landlords will never have to deal with such a situation, Meth Lab Cleaners Australia warns that signs your tenant may be manufacturing an illegal substance like ice, include: 

  • strong odours like ammonia;
  • covered windows;
  • cash rental payments;
  • a lot of rubbish on the premises;
  • unusual structures;
  • increased activity at night with secretive or undesirable visitors;
  • discoloration of structures; and
  • increased security systems.

Steps you can take

The best way to avoid a situation like this is to be diligent and proactive. Choose your tenant with care and regularly inspect the property.