You will have seen in the news a few times in 2017 that WA was declared the methamphetamine capital of Australia and nearly the world, after shocking and secret testing of the nation’s raw sewage. The frightening scale of the ice epidemic in Australia was exposed in a 60-page report from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission in March, showing that West Australians are the biggest “ice” users in the country, according to the unprecedented analysis that equates to an anonymous drug test of 14 million Australians. The 2017 report defined WA’s use alone of the deadly drug equates to more than 1.5 tonnes annually or more than 56 million doses.

Australia has the highest number of meth users per capita in the English-speaking world, and that number is now three times higher than it was in 2011. In NSW, the number of meth labs has doubled over the past six years.

But the biggest threat to rental properties is not meth labs, it’s meth users. Smoking meth inside regularly can contaminate a home and regular smoking of the drug can return contamination readings as high as those produced by a meth lab. Meth contamination, which is invisible and has no smell, is a very real issue that can cost thousands of dollars to remediate. It is estimated that around 20% of contamination problems are linked to labs; 80% to meth users.

With the meth (ICE) epidemic in Australia on the rise, it is impossible to tell if your tenants have fallen into the world of this devastating drug by visual inspections alone. And if you don’t discover it quickly, then the property could be devalued and cause harm to future occupants. Our staff have had it happen in their own local rentals.

There is a future possibility for landlords to be held liable for tenants’ health problems that arise from exposure to meth residue within their rented property. Screening for meth residue between tenancies ensures that you are seen to be living up to your responsibility to provide a home that is fit for purpose.

We recommend rental properties are screened regularly for meth residue. Not only does it ensure early detection, when remediation is less likely to be expensive, it also deters tenants from using or making meth on the property.

BIAS offer a range of meth screening services, so that you can choose the type of screening that is most appropriate for the situation, whether meth usage is suspected or not. BIAS position ourselves as the WA industry leaders in property services, so our screening services are conducted using the NIOSH Method 9111 (methamphetamine on wipes by liquid chromatography – mass spectrometry). Samples are then rushed to be tested in our Melbourne laboratory within 48 hours. The high quality of our testing method gives results that
are much more accurate than a DIV meth test, which can only provide an indicative result and often give false
positives or negatives if samples aren't collected correctly.

The most affordable way to screen a dwelling for methamphetamine in a rental situation is a lab-analysed Base Composite Screen. With this, a number of samples are collected and analysed. If the accumulative result of the samples indicates the presence of meth above 0.5?g/100cm² (the minimum level of contamination, set by the Australian government) it is deemed unacceptable.

To find out more, contact BIAS for an initial phone discussion on 1300 911 691 or email