A young Melbourne woman has been left devastated after her tenants turned her first investment property into a drug factory.
The unit is now drenched in methamphetamine chemicals and experts say it may have to be rebuilt because it’s unsafe to live in.
Technicians have found methamphetamine residue more than 900 times the safe level.
The drug cooks who rented the place are long gone – all they have left behind are problems for the landlord, who has described the misuse of her property as “a low blow.”
For Lainie Connors, it was the escalating electricity bills that gave it away – sometimes more than $700 a month, with water consumption off the charts as well.
“I knew something untoward was happening, yeah,” Ms Connors says.
But she was unable to get the tenants out before the end of their lease.
Experts believe they were churning out crystal methamphetamine around the clock.
Once a property is confirmed as contaminated, as this one has been, the next step is a full forensic clean.
If the contamination is heavy, that can mean having to dispose of almost everything, right down to the insulation, ceilings, even the walls.
“Everything that’s not bolted down needs to be thrown out,” Ms Connors says.
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Even the most minor contamination means soaking every surface in the house before scrubbing it down and vaccuuming up the residue.
Sometimes the process needs to be repeated three or four times.
“There’s studies out there that say the half-life is decades before it even breaks down,” Methscreen’s Ryan Matthews says.
“You can’t wipe it with Spray ‘N Wipe, unfortunately.”
Methscreen has checked 350 houses this year alone, with 75 per cent of them testing positive to meth.
The company says it’s found Geelong, Werribee and Elwood are Victoria’s ice hotspots.
It recommends prospective homebuyers consider a pre-sale check for meth contamination, along with the usual building and pest inspections.