Agents come clean on meth homes

KELLY DENNETT
Last updated 07:31 24/01/2014
P house
NEGOTIABLE: The P house has been valued as $430,000.

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Up front and honest is how real estate agents are dealing with selling a growing number of methamphetamine contaminated houses.

A 1960s home in Auckland's Te Atatu South advertised on Trade Me as "having issues" has had nearly 24,000 views since it listed in November.

Estate agent Linda Taylor says this is significantly more than she is used to and people have thanked her for her honesty.

The sale price is listed as negotiable but has been valued as $430,000.

When Bayley's agent Joan Collins learned the Glen Eden, Auckland, property she'd listed had tested positive for methamphetamine she says she didn't shy away from the challenge.

The three bedroom home is marketed as a P house with the potential for subdivision or a renovation.

It's only been relisted for a week but Collins says she's had plenty of interest.

"Primarily from investors and people wanting to do it up," she says.

"With a P house there's a bargain to be had. Everybody wants to know what the QV valuation is and then they want it discounted."

Methamphetamine testing and cleaning company MethMinder says since October 2012 nearly 54 properties in Waitakere have tested positive for the drug with 11 showing evidence of manufacture.

Director Miles Stratford says P houses can be a gray area for estate agents because they can unwittingly sell properties that have been used as laboratories.

"There are very few landlords who are being proactive about testing," he says.

"Estate agents ask for disclosure from the owner but they can only tell people what they've been told. If a landlord doesn't know, he can't tell them if there's a problem."

He believes methamphetamine testing should be compulsory because "too many people are buying problems".

Some people only became aware when they start getting sick, he says.

While a P house may have between 10 and 30 per cent knocked off its value, Stratford says for the right person it will be an investment opportunity.

"You have to take into account what it's likely to do as a resell and for most people it will be a relatively quick clean up," he says.

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- Fairfax Media

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