Drug use and manufacture can contaminate homes

Drug use and manufacture can result in significant chemical contamination on surfaces within properties. Drug testing houses is the only way to know if contamination is present.

These residues can remain on surfaces for a long time.

It’s not just illicit substances, indoor tobacco smoking, which is prohibited in many rental agreements, can also cause nicotine and other contaminants to deposit onto surfaces within homes.

Many people use drugs


What does this mean for me?


Living in a house contaminated with drug residues may result in clinically observable health effects.


Drug impacted homes can result in significant and unexpected financial costs. On average, a 3-4 bedroom property costs approximately $9,000 - $20,000 to remediate as remediation can include:

  • Replacing all soft furnishings (e.g curtains).
  • Replacing carpet.
  • Replacing wooden items and materials.
  • Replacing or cleaning air conditioning systems.
  • Replacing fans and exhaust vents.
  • Triple washing walls and ceilings.
  • Replacing appliances that are contaminated.
  • Replacing kitchen countertops.
  • Replacing electrical fittings.
  • Discarding personal items such as toys, clothing, upholstered furniture, mattresses.


Landlords who provide contaminated and unsafe homes may be breaching the law and occupants who suffer health effects may initiate legal claims. There is a general expectation by Australian Governments that homes are clean and not a health risk to the occupants or visitors. For example:

  • NSW - Residential Tenancies Act 2010
    • A landlord must provide the residential premises in a reasonable state of cleanliness and be fit for habitation.
  • Qld - Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008
    • The lessor must ensure at the start of the tenancy that the premises are clean, fit for the tenant to live in, are in good repair, not in breach of health and safety laws for persons using or entering the premises.
  • SA - South Australian Housing Improvement Regulations 2017
    • Residential premises must be free from materials or substances that pose a material or serious risk of harm to the health of the occupants, this includes chemical residues.