Tenancy Practice Service director, Scotney Williams LLB, recently told AMP insurers that it is better to have a clause in the tenancy agreement that says the tenant agrees not to possess, use, buy or have on the premises any unlawful drugs.
“If the tenant breaches that clause, the landlord can issue a 14-day ‘cease and desist’ notice under section 56 of the RTA (which deals with the process a landlord must follow to remedy breaches of the agreement or the RTA itself),” he said.
If there is a breach of the law around recreational drugs, like smoking cannabis, the landlord has to issue a 14-day notice to the tenant to get rid of the cannabis because small quantities aren’t necessarily enough legal reason to eject the tenant.
Methamphetamine is much more serious. Cooking P or using it on a property causes substantial damage which is difficult to remedy – that’s ample reason to terminate the tenancy.
“If you have evidence of methamphetamine use or production on the rental property you should take a photograph of the evidence, which you can use if you go to the Tenancy Tribunal seeking termination over the possession and use of methamphetamine,” Mr Williams said.
Five tips to reduce the risk of meth contamination on rental properties
- Establish a baseline moving forward by testing property for methamphetamine before new tenants move in – every time;
- Do more than a credit check on tenants. The situation is serious enough to warrant full background checks;
- Include a clause in the tenancy agreement that prohibits the use, sale or production of drugs on the property;
- Make sure the tenancy agreement has a clause that lets the landlord test for methamphetamine during standard property inspections (with or without an expert);
- Ensure you employ reliable testing methods;
- Carry out regular property inspections.