New tenancy legislation (Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019) was passed on 30 July 2019 which will affect landlords and tenants on the Subject of Meth (and other matters) in a number of ways.
The Act allows for regulations to be made that will prescribe the acceptable level for meth contamination, processes for testing (including when to test) and decontamination of rental properties. The regulations will be developed over the next year. (we expect them after the 2020 Election)
CONTAMINATION OF PREMISES
Landlords can now test for methamphetamine (meth) in rental properties while tenants are living there. They must provide 48 hours’ notice to tenants before entering the property. (but not more the 14days notice)
For boarding house tenants they must provide 24 hours’ notice before entering the boarding house room.
Landlords will have to tell the tenant they are testing for methamphetamine contamination, and share the test results (in writing) with the tenant within seven days of receiving them.
Once the regulations are in place:
- If contamination is established above the prescribed uninhabitable level (as set out in the regulations), the landlord will be able to give seven days’ notice to end the tenancy (if the contamination was not caused by their breach) and the tenant may give two days’ notice (if the contamination was not caused by their breach). If the contamination was not as a result of a breach by the tenant then the rent may be stopped.
- Boarding house landlords will be able to give seven days’ notice of termination (if the contamination was not caused by their breach) where contamination is established in any part of the premises, above the prescribed uninhabitable level (as set out in the regulations).
- The premises will not be treated as uninhabitable and neither party will be able to give these shorter termination notices, but may instead apply to the Tribunal for termination
- Only part of the premises is contaminated above the prescribed uninhabitable level (as set out in the regulations), and is
- was not the result of a breach by either the landlord or tenant, and – this part of the premises is located away from (or physically closed off from) the rest of the premises in a way that is likely to prevent the spread of the contaminant to the rest of the property, and
- The rest of the premises can still be reasonably used.
- Landlords will not be able to knowingly rent premises that are contaminated above the prescribed level (as set out in the regulations), without decontaminating in accordance with the regulations. They will be liable for a financial penalty of up to $4,000 if they do so.