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  • Drug Addiction – how it has affected the housing industry

Drug Addiction – how it has affected the housing industry

August 30th, 2018

Drug Addiction – how it has affected the housing industry

It is an ongoing problem in all parts of the world however drug abuse has spiked in recent years for numerous reasons. Everyone has turned to it for different purposes however in a recent conversation with the Bailiff (Sheriff) in Bunbury he has experienced all over Bunbury however a few years ago it was more segregated to certain suburbs. He thinks it is due to sheer depression of not being able to pay the mortgage or perhaps hold a job. It is a release to over come the overwhelming issues in someones life. Some people become addicted at a young age using drugs such as meth as a party drug.

Recently (July 2018) the ABC released a story where they talked to a women, Kel Wilson, from Margaret River who had her son go missing. At first she just though he was on a holiday or out with friends for a bit longer than usual and brushing it off. “He will come back,”this was not the case. After missing for some time she sent out notices and contacted police looking for her son. Finally there was a response – he was in Sydney. So the courageous mother drove for three and half days to then find her son eating food off the pavement. He was high at the time and she packed him in the car and drove all the way back. This is a tragic story and there are many more like that which are just gut wrenching. (If you would like to read the entire story please click here).

Bunbury has a very strong issue with drug labs. So much so, in a recent seminar we, as property managers were educated as to what to look for when completing routine inspections. This included a list of tools used to create drugs. We were also made aware that 90% of insurance policy’s void any pay outs in relation to drug related explosions or incidents. There was a horrifying story of a family renting a three bedroom house (quite recently built) and the husband had used their ensuite bathroom as meth lab. One day something went wrong and it exploded. The child and mother were injured and half of the house had exploded. The father and mother of the child were charged and sent to prison. The landlord’s insurance did not cover the cost to repair the property.

In another instance, a couple had purchased a home in country Victoria – their dream home however after moving in their children became very ill having issues breathing, sleeping, they were cranky and breaking out in rashes. After visiting the doctor on numerous occasions they had no answers however, one day there was a knock on the door from the shire council. The council came to notify them that the new home had previously been a clandestine meth lab and the children are, in fact showing levels of methamphetamine in their system.

How does Bunbury fair? After speaking with the bailiff and other suppliers there has been a noticeable increase in evictions and drug related offences. Back 5-10 years ago there were prominent areas for this type of action and drug abuse however in recent years it is appearing all over Bunbury, Harvey, Collie that is to say there are no “specific” areas or suburbs anymore.

So how has this effected the housing market? Buyers and renters are weary as to who is their neighbour or perhaps hesitant to move from their current home. Recently we had someone move into one of our rental properties because their previous rental neighbour was constantly cooking a suspicious substance and a smell carried over. This tenant had very often reported this to the police however the police are yet to catch the offenders.

Below is a table with statistics and note that this is for the entire of WA not specifically aimed at Bunbury however you can see that there is a reduction in Drug Offences. If you would like some more WA rime statistic please click here.

Year to date crime comparison

Summary Offence Categories 2015-16
5 year
% Change from
5 year average
Offences Against the Person
(excluding Family Related Offences)
22,801 23,044 22,838 21,364.1   7%
Family Related Offences
(Assault and Threatening Behaviour)
22,996 22,340 21,175 18,723   13%
Offences Against Property 176,897 164,446 153,778 163,804.4   -6%
Drug Offences 33,864 34,591 32,179 26,796   20%

* YTD (year to date) is from July to June. 5 Year Average is the average of the year to date period for the years 2012-13 to 2016-17.


Although there is a problem here in Bunbury it is very clear that here is not the only issue. This is an Australia wide issue. The Police are taking action in relation to drugs and random testing however how much support and funding are they provided with to conquer the masses. If you are concerned about moving into a specific property – note you can have it tested. When you are considering purchasing or moving speak to the neighbours because if there were any major issues with the home then they more than likely know something is no right. Thirdly check with your local council or law enforcement agencies.

About the Author

Celestine has been in the Real Estate Industry since 2002. She has competed in some of the most competitive markets in Australia. Combine her strong negotiation skills and keen customer service to achieve the best results for her clients.