METH HOUSES: According to a 2019 report, more than half the Queensland houses tested for methamphetamine residue return a positive result. Picture: Martin Sykes
METH HOUSES: According to a 2019 report, more than half the Queensland houses tested for methamphetamine residue return a positive result. Picture: Martin Sykes

LANDLORD’S NIGHTMARE: Tenant turns house to meth lab

WHEN a Warwick couple evicted a mother of four renting their property for missing four months’ rent, they thought a fresh start was on the cards.

After the tenant left in October last year, the landlords said they inspected the property and found significant damage such as doors ripped off hinges, a “destroyed” hot water system, and “mess everywhere”.

Fearing the worst, the couple, who wished to remain anonymous, had the house tested for drug residue, and said they were “heartbroken” when results indicated their ex-tenant had been cooking methamphetamines.

“The professionals’ test found meth ingrained in the walls, floors, and ceilings, just everywhere,” one landlord said.

“My husband went in and said there wasn’t a single light bulb left in the place, because they took them apart and used it for the cooking, producing, or whatever they do with these methamphetamines.

“Once it’s in there, it’s pretty difficult to remove. It’s going to cost us $34,000 to get it stripped and cleaned, and even then, there’s no guarantee they’re going to get everything.”

The couple never involved a real estate agent, and said being unable to rent out the property for almost 10 months could cost them long-term.

“We still have a mortgage to pay. We have insurance covering loss of rent, but that’s finite and won’t go on forever,” they said.

“We just want to get a warning out to people who rent houses, because we didn’t really know about this until it happened to us.”

Warwick real estate agent Helen Harm said while she had heard of it, she never encountered drug contamination on this scale within the community.

“(A tenant) might have taken pot or something like that, but not to the extent they were on ice,” Mrs Harm said.

“To have that amount of damage, it can happen, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

“It just depends how tolerant you are. If you want to be the nice guy all the time, don’t do this job because I don’t think you can be.”

A 2019 report from testing company Meth Screen revealed more than half of all Queensland homes tested for meth residue returned a positive result.

Landlords aren’t required by law to test their properties for drug contamination, though once aware, must have the home completely sterilised before new tenants can move in.



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