A report by the Australian Crime Commission stated that from 2010 – 2011, by a significant stretch Queensland recorded the highest number of detected clandestine laboratories in the country at 293. Western Australia followed with 171 detected labs and New South Wales and Victoria reported 87 and 63 respectively.
In my role, I have been fortunate to have a relationship with the Queensland Police Service Drug Squad. We have a common goal to educate property managers and licensees on the risks and indicators associated with the discovery meth labs. I have come to understand that illegal drug activity is not exclusive to out-lying suburb and learned some of the indicators most would overlook, but are in fact a blaringly obvious clue to identifying a meth lab.
The circumstances in which Queensland property managers are required to conduct routine inspections means their eyes should be wide open to such clues. Clandestine (meth) lab detection in Queensland rental properties has and continues to grow exponentially.
Industry experts have been clear over the last number of years that these figures are rising – significantly. Only a month ago in Western Australia, it was reported a home had to be fully demolished due to the extent of damage caused by the illegal activity.
The growing problem is not Australia-exclusive either. In an article by CNN money, meth labs in US rental properties are a severe issue, with only 5 per cent of the approximate 84,000 labs detected by authorities when last recorded in 2004. Closer to home, the REIQ Insider posted a blog earlier this year on labs found in unlikely places, one in particular being in a high end suburb of the Gold Coast.
As a result of this rising issue, property managers and agencies may be exposed to significant personal and professional risk if the correct response measures are not taken. It is essential real estate practitioners take the time to understand how to recognise and respond to the discovery of a meth lab as mishandling could lead to far greater consequences.
In June, the REIQ in conjunction with the Queensland Police, Aon and Carter Newell Lawyers, will host a series of interactive networking breakfast sessions that will identify key risks areas and the associated recognition and response tactics that every property manager must know.
For more information on these events, click here.