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Western Leader : April 18th 2014
Auckland’s most powerful media NETWORK Unbeatable coverage of www.stuff.co.nz Friday, April 18, 2014 808,000 readers 15+ Ph 09 525 0666 Source: Nielsen CMI Q3 2011–Q2 2012 Kevin Middleton and wife Liz bought a ‘doer-upper’. And it turned into a ... P house nightmare By KELLY DENNETT Gutted: Kevin Middleton and wife Liz have spent $25,000 decontaminating their Titirangi home. WHEN Kevin and Liz Middleton purchased a ‘‘doer-upper’’ house they had no idea the heartache it would bring. Their DIY dream quickly turned into a nightmare after the Titirangi home tested positive for methamphetamine contamination. They’d been living in it for nine months with their nineyear-old daughter. The Middletons have had to throw out most of their belongings and completely gut the house’s interior. Insurance will cover some contents but it won’t cover the $25,000 decontamination bill. It’s a hard lesson for the couple who paid for a building inspection but in hindsight realise they should have tested for methamphetamine too. ‘‘We completely didn’t think about it,’’ he says. ‘‘I’m happy to say maybe we should have been smarter.’’ Middleton hopes their story will serve as a warning to others. He believes methampheta- mine testing should be mandatory for all properties. ‘‘It doesn’t have to be a ropey rental, there’s been some very nice houses that have had exactly the same issues.’’ The test was suggested by a neighbour but Middleton initially disregarded the Side effects Short-term: ■ Shortness of breath ■ Coughing ■ Chest pains ■ Dizziness ■ Lack of coordination ■ Chemical irritation ■ Burns to the skin, eyes, nose and mouth. idea. Then he read about Tauranga toddler Alicia Steenson whose parents believe their daughter’s leukemia was the result of Long-term: ■ Liver and kidney damage ■ Neurological problems ■ Increased risk of cancer. Source: New Zealand drug detection agency living in a contaminated house. ‘‘I started thinking about my daughter,’’ Middleton says. Photo: KELLY DENNETT There were no obvious signs the property was contaminated but Middleton had a persistent dry cough and the master bedroom had an occasional perfume-like scent. Tests registered contami- nation in that room higher than any other bedroom. Middleton says there’s a lack of information available about the long term health effects but says they’re ‘‘getting on with life’’. It could have been worse, he says. ‘‘I would rather have gone through hell for two to three months than live in contamination and get sick.’’ Real Estate Institute of New Zealand chief executive Helen O’Sullivan says con- tamination is hard to spot and the code of conduct doesn’t obligate agents to search out hidden defects. ‘‘You don’t need to run in with your magnifying glass for every property.’’ However suspicious testi- mony from neighbours ‘‘should raise the antenna of an experienced agent’’, she says. O’Sullivan says the indus- try needs some kind of regulation to prevent bogus testing from non-professionals but doesn’t believe testing shouldn’t be compulsory. ‘‘I don’t think people should all leap to their feet and get their homes tested but at the same time if I was buying a new property I would do my due diligence.’’ NZQA approved certificate and diploma qualifications National Cert in Hospitality (Food and Beverage)-Lvl 3 Go online today! Study at PBRS and get qualified for a great hospo career! Our inhouse iCareer team will assist you to find a great job and kick start your career! STUDENT LOANS AVAILABLE. CONDITIONS APPLY. AUCKLAND CAMPUS 150Hobson St,Auckland Central www.pbrs.ac.nz Call 0800 227 836 email@example.com -Professional Barista Skills -Customer service -Bar & mixology National Cert in Hospitality-Lvl 4 Dip. in Hospitality-Lvl 5 Enrol Now!
April 17th 2014