Will Mandatory Meth-Testing of Rentals become Law in Queensland?Ben Olsen
Will Mandatory Meth-Testing of Rentals become Law in Queensland?
A New South Wales woman has been forced to vacate her house after learning that the dwelling was found to contain residue of methamphetamine. The drug commonly known as ‘ice’. After being ill for months, she was horrified to learn that her house contained residue of the drug and that all of her possessions were contaminated as a result. This unfortunate personal story highlights important questions regarding not only the feasibility and likelihood of mandatory meth-testing at the cost of landlords, but also the enforceability of tenancy agreements when the property is deemed unfit for occupation, together with the landlord’s (and potentially a property manager’s) liability for houses contaminated with the residue of ice.
So, should landlords be held liable for the negative health consequences or property loss experienced by tenants due to the personal use or creation of methamphetamine by a previous tenant? This is a difficult question. On one hand a tenant should enjoy the house they are renting without cause to reason that it is contaminated by anything, let alone such a dangerous narcotic. On the other hand, it may not always be possible for a landlord to constructively know that a tenant is either using or creating methamphetamine in a house. In any case, the second question is equally as important as the first: should there be mandatory meth-testing at the cost of landlords?
It may very well be the case that such testing will be mandatory in the near future and looked upon as not much different to building and pest inspections or asbestos testing. Leaving that prediction aside, the real-world practicality of mandatory meth-testing will soon become clear as Western Australia is set to become the first State in the nation to consider introducing mandatory testing of this kind via a change to their Residential Tenancies Act. Given the general objective of uniformity of law throughout Australia, it would not be surprising if Queensland and other States followed suit.
If you are a landlord, tenant or property manager seeking legal assistance, then please contact Olsen Lawyers on (07) 3846 5288 or find us at http://olsenlawyers.com.au