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Property Contamination

Contamination take occurs from a number of sources, including methamphetamine laboratories, paint, waste on the property or toxic substances seeping from neighbours.

We are highly experienced in dealing with property contamination issues, particularly in residential property.  

We have acted for property owners who have unknowingly purchased a methamphetamine contaminated property, or on the other hand tenants who have rented a former methamphetamine laboratory.  We have even had a case where a clandestine laboratory was set up in serviced apartments in Metropolitan Melbourne.

Contamination claims present a number of complex legal issues.  The source of the contamination needs to be identified, which requires expert assistance.  Insurance polices often try to exclude this type of claim, so it is important to find either the people responsible, or the people who knew of the contamination but did not act.  Prompt action can assist, and advice from experts is critical.

What to do if you suspect your property is contaminated?
    1. Test your property to confirm the contamination. In the first instance we recommend purchasing a swab test kits online and completing the test yourself.
    2. If the swab test returns a positive result, engage an occupational hygienist to test the property and prepare a report regarding the extent of contamination.
    3. Contact us to discuss your options. These could include:
      • Consider whether moving out of the property is possible. Do you have family or friends that can support you during this time?  Be aware your health (and your family’s health) is at risk as a result of the contamination.  Be sure not to take any porous possessions that cannot be cleaned with you when leaving the property.  All clothing must be washed a minimum of three times to remove the contaminants.
      • Notify your insurer and provide a copy of the occupational hygienist report. We can provide advice on your policy of insurance and whether you will be covered for the contamination.
      • Contact your local council to report the contamination. Notifying your local council triggers obligations under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 to investigate the nuisance.
      • Contact your local police station to report the contamination and enquire about any known suspicious behaviour at the property.
      • Engage a professional cleaning contractor to carry out the remediation action plan to rid the property of contamination.

We can assist in advising on potential claims against wrongdoers (property owners, tenants, owners corporations), consider your home and contents insurance policy and whether you are covered for the contamination, and put you in contact with leading experts in this field including occupational hygienists and remediators to assist you through the testing and remediation process.

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