Bust sparks fears values may drop

ALEX FENSOME
Last updated 05:00 13/03/2014

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Even the ritziest address can have their value slashed by association with methamphetamine.

The upmarket apartments in central Wellington's Chews Lane regularly sell for about $1 million, and three-bedroom flats there can command rents of $1100 a week.

Body corporate chairman Peter Clark said he was still waiting on final testing results from police after Friday's raid and arrests to assess how much clean-up work would be required.

The value of the apartment where the arrests were made would be hit, but it was too early to say whether the rest of the building would be, he said.

"It is a very sad thing which has happened. The owners of that apartment are devastated, as are the body corporate committee. No matter what happens, lessons will be learned."

Some apartment blocks already use drug dog patrols. Chews Lane would consider the idea, but it was more common where a majority of occupants were renting, he said. Only about 10 of the 91 apartments in the complex were rented.

Early indications were that the contamination level was low, "but as to the level, time will tell on that".

Residents did not know how much decontamination was needed. "It may be just a matter of the vents above the stove."

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said testing ought to clear neighbouring apartments of any stigma attached to drugs.

Owners could possibly look to the tenants of the flat at the centre of the raid to compensate them through the Proceeds of Crime Act.

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- The Dominion Post

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