This week the Herald highlighted the increasing problem of P contamination in residential properties throughout New Zealand. The Herald went as far to argue it could rival the leaky homes disaster, and whether or not this is true, the issue is seemingly on the rise. Housing New Zealand spends $12 to $13 million a year on remedial work, with the most recent example being that almost a quarter of the 19 homes in a Christchurch state housing development had been contaminated in the nine months since they were built. The issue is not limited to state housing, and experts in the industry say that a clean-up of the average residential home ranges from $1,000 to a few hundred thousand, depending on the seriousness of contamination.

This raises the issue for lawyers, particularly those in property teams to advise clients to consider getting a property tested for P contamination before purchase. Passing a P contamination test could even become a condition for sale. The testing process is fairly simple and inexpensive. For example, one company that provides testing services, MethSolutions, offers a 'baseline test' for a home with up to three bedrooms from $179 plus GST, and the turnaround time ranges from three to seven working days. This basic test could save clients the cost and general stress of finding out that their home has been exposed to the chemicals in P, whether simply from its use or more serious cases of full-blown production.

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