Are you familiar with NZ tenancy act? Not yet but will be tomorrow. My query is. To be an independent tester can you be

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Customer: Are you familiar with NZ tenancy act?
JA: Have you talked to a New Zealand lawyer about this?
Customer: Not yet but will be tomorrow
JA: What steps have been taken so far?
Customer: My query is. To be an independent tester can you be related to the property manager.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Answered by Chris The Lawyer in 5 hours 2 years ago
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Chris The Lawyer
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Chris The Lawyer
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Hi
I am a New Zealand lawyer based in Wellington and will help you with your question today. Please give me a minute to read your question
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Is this for someone testing for methamphetamine contamination?
Customer
Hi
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

As long as they disclose the relationship that should not disqualify them as an expert, but they probably should not hold themselves out as independent
Customer
Thank you. We are being accused of something we havent done. There has obviously been use of Methamphetamine in our home between the 4 days time we left and them doing the 'independent' testing. We had cleaners do a premium clean of our home and we understand that we are liable for anyone who enters the property while we are tenants. We just want to know our legal rights as they're seeking compensation/damages and lost rent over the COVID period.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

If they have brought a claim in the Tenancy Tribunal then you can provide the evidence of the premium clean and perhaps a description of what they actually did in the clean. You can also challenge the tester and ask them to prove they are qualified, and explain the relationship with the property manager. If the property has not been cleaned subsequently, you could get your own testing, but it may be too late for that. If the property could not be rented due to the Covid 19 closedown then that is not due to this problem and you can resist that claim.

Customer
The Tester works for an independent testing agency and is the brother of the property manager. As far as we are aware the house is untenanted. The new tenants signed a tenancy agreement on the 16th of March. And were due to move in on the 26th of March but the country moved into Level 4 on the 25th. Due to the positive Methamphetamine results done on the 24th of March they weren't allowed to move in.
Customer
It also states, if tenants or their guests damage a rental property as a result of careless behaviour, the tenant would be liable for the damage of upto 4 weeks rent or the landlords excess (which ever is lower)
Tenant would be fully liable for the cost of damage where it is intentional or where the tenants act or omission that caused the damage constitutes a impressionable offence
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

You will also need to show that the gap between vacating and testing would have allowed some person to use methampetamine in the property, and perhaps even get tested yourselves to show you are not users. The imposition of level 4 was not something you or the landlord could have predicted so there should not be a claim for lost rental. If they were due to move on 26 March, even if there had not been any testing, they would not have been able to do so because of the lockdown.

Customer
Thank you for clarifying that.
Also, in our signed tenancy agreement the landlord had a clause stating meth testing would be conducted before, at 6 months and at end of tenancy. We never received the 6 month test. Which would have proved our home was clean. What grounds do we have in terms of the land lord breaching the contract we signed at start of tenancy?
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

You should highlight this in the tenancy tribunal because between the gap in the time between you left, and the testing, and the failure to test at the beginning you can say there is a reasonable doubt you caused the problem.
Customer
We have proof of them doing the testing before our tenancy started. That document was forwarded to the tribunal. We moved out on the 20th of march, and had cleaners clean the property after we had left as we were making our way down to Christchurch. The tests were completed on the 24th of March.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

You can still challenge the independence of the tester as well. Was this substantial contamination or evidence of someone smoking meth?
Customer
Prosumptive testing showed USE of meth. In 7 high use rooms tested. 3 came back with above the 1.5mg threshold. The other 4 under. We had an open plan kitchen/living/dining area. The kitchen being the highest reading where as 2 metres to the left of that test came back under the 1.5mg per 100mm²
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

What is your theory about this?
Customer
That due to the size of the room , which was very small. How is the reading so high in the kitchen yet low 2 metres away ?
Customer
Either way. The tests show usage in our home. And we are not users. My partner is a professional athlete and is subject to random testing. That brings me to my last question, can we order name suppression in this case as we have observed peoples names and cases being available on the tenancy services web page. This would be hugely distressing to the both of us.
Customer
Thank you so much for your time. You've been fantastic.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

You should ask about the name suppression

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