Safeguarding against meth in your rental investment

Owning a rental property can be an excellent investment, but the meth epidemic has made things a bit more challenging. Gone are the days when the worst thing you could expect at the end of a tenancy, were filthy carpets and a drunken hand punched through the door. Meth usage, and particularly, meth labs in homes, can have a devastating effect on your asset.

Here are a few tips to safeguard your home.

·       Establish a baseline by meth testing your property before a tenant moves in, and after they move out. This gives you evidence that the property was meth free before the tenancy so you can pinpoint under which tenant the contamination occurred. This knowledge is extremely useful if you need to claim under your insurance policy for any damage.

·       Be diligent with tenant selection. After all, you’re entrusting one of your most important assets to their care. Ask prospective renters to fill in an application form and give contact details or references from previous tenancies. Make sure you meet them in person to understand how they will pay the rent, and how many people will be living there. To avoid absconding on the rent, take the time to do a credit check and also see whether they’ve ever been involved in a tenancy dispute

·       During a tenancy, carry out quarterly inspections, or have your property manager do this for you. Look out for the tell-tale signs of unusual chemical smells; chemical containers; discarded cold tablet packs; chemical stains around sinks and toilets and brown stains.

·       If you’d like to set your mind at ease in between inspections, you could think about installing a meth detector, which can sense gases associated with meth manufacture and send an alert to your mobile phone. Again this will help with your insurance requirements, plus because you have a duty to inform your tenant about the detector, it could act as a valuable deterrent.

·       Check your insurance policy. Performing the above steps will go a long way to ensuring your property remains meth free, but the best form of insurance is insurance itself. Meth labs can spring up in the poshest of areas, so check that your insurance policy provides cover for meth related damage and decontamination.

The good news is that with a planned – and regular – approach to your tenancies and inspections, the risk of damage to your home can be mitigated.