Who is responsible for the Tenants rubbish?

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Who is responsible for the Tenants rubbishI have a Housing Benefit tenant who bags up her domestic rubbish and then throws it into the back yard of the property to join the old three piece suite in there as well.

Despite my numerous requests to desist this behaviour she persists in doing this.

As a last resort I reported the situation to the local Council who promptly sent an Environmental Officer to examine the back yard.

I then received an official notice holding me, as the owner of the property, responsible for the rubbish. I was given seven days to clear the mess up or the Council will do it and send me the bill. They are citing the “Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 Section 4″ as their authority to take this action.

I arranged for all the rubbish to be removed and paid the Local Council £18 to collect the three piece suite. Unfortunately as they are so busy they could not attend for four weeks.

Two weeks after making this payment I have received another seven day notice to remove the three piece suite. These Departments obviously do not communicate with each other.

My questions are-: As the owner of the property am I responsible for the tenants rubbish? My tenancy agreement clearly states that I am not. And, secondly, am I the correct person on whom the notice should be served.?

My fear would be that if I am found to be legally responsible for this situation its only a small step away from Utility Companies finding me responsible for all the unpaid bills accumulated during a tenancy. 

Thanks - Tom Doolin

EDITORS NOTE

Check out this video – different landlord, same problem. Thanks to Mick Roberts – Property118 Member for allowing us to use this video.

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Comments

  • Hi Tom

    Presumably you have served notice on this tenant and will be deducting the cost of removing the rubbish from the deposit?

    In answer to your question, I believe it is the tenants responsibility. That doesn’t prevent the Council from making you remove it but ultimately the tenant is accountable to you for any costs incurred in you having to arrange for the rubbish removed.

    You have the right to expect your tenant to behave in a “tenant like manner” as per the legal precedents set by Lord Denning decision in the 1954 case of Warren v. Keen.


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  • Chris Brown says:

    I wish he’d said responsible manner. If too many tenants behave like this the relativists will redefine tenant-like to be vandal-like.


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  • I wonder what the Council would do if it were a Council house.


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  • Yes, afraid so. I get them notices all the time.
    Made me laugh reading the first part of your comment ’cause I thought once u tell the Council rubbish there, they gonna’ be writing back INSISTING u move it.
    Most of these Environmental Health officers & CPO’s are human, they normally expect an argument with the Landlord which the Landlord will always lose against the might of the Council, but once they realise u r human too, make’ em feel sorry for u, u would be surprised at how they will work with u & give ‘em time. They make me laugh giving u two weeks to move rubbish. I say what if just about to go on 2 weeks holiday? I get 4 months out of sometimes, waiting for Bonfire night coming up, so don’t have to pay anything to get rid.
    Get yourself a good name with them & they will remember u. And as Mark says, get the tenant to pay for it eventually. Quite often these HB tenants will pay weekly if u talk to them. I wish I only had a few bags at one house.
    I’ve just had the boiler people giving me FREE £1400 boilers refuse to go in a house to photo the old boiler, then to do the work because of rubbish in the house. Imagine that, not getting your free boiler, so u have to try to work with these HB tenants.


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  • Clearly leaving rubbish as described is wholly unacceptable both from a tenancy and indeed a ‘good neighbour’ perspective. However I fail to see the relevance of the need to describe the former occupier as a ‘Housing Benefit tenant’ thus effectively participating in the stigmatisation of certain groups of tenants – they are surely a ‘tenant’?

    I have no wish to appear as some sort of advocate for a wider social conscience movement, but I do think we can all benefit from demonstrating a greater degree of professionalism when describing the difficult issues that landlords and managing agents face from time to time – let’s all avoid the trap of labelling our tenants.

    Perhaps more important is to consider what improvements could be introduced in the management of that property to reduce the risk of a recurrence?


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  • Gary
    I’m sorry you were offended at my description of the tenant as a “Housing Benefit Tenant”.
    I put it there deliberately to identify this tenant as one who makes no personal financial contribution to the rent which, all too frequently, determines how much respect they show the property.
    Additionally it gives an indication of the tenants financial situation. I wanted to pre-empt people wasting their time by writing in to suggest I just send her the bill for the clean up. Marks suggestion of deducting the costs from the deposit is the only way I will recover this outlay
    I also have other Housing Benefit Tenants who I wouldn’t swap for anything. So I do appreciate that we shouldn’t tar everyone with the same brush.
    Voicing an opinion which highlights the fact that referring to someone as a “Housing Benefit Tenant” is a stigmatisation only adds to such stigmatism.
    As a letting agent I would be surprised if you didn’t advertise properties for your Landlords clearly stating “No DSS, No Pets or No Smokers”. Surely this is another form of stigmatisation. Its all around us, its part of life. It only becomes a problem when the PC brigade take up the baton and create more of a fuss than the original label ever did. However, if something is a shovel, I see nothing wrong in calling it a shovel.
    To finish on a positive note, I have taken on board your suggestion that an improvement in the management of the property could reduce the risk of a recurrence. I’ve served her with a notice to quit.


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  • Paul Barrett Member Profile Deleted says:

    Like it……………………………………..improvement …………………………..notice to quit!!
    Trouble is this tenant will now knock you for 2 months rent.
    More rubbish will pile up which you will have to pay to have removed until tenant is evicted as the council WILL fine you, not the tenant.
    This HB tenant will do as much damage as she can and steal stuff.
    It is something that HB tenants are wont to do.
    It is in their nature as they have nothing to lose!
    I find that I really miss my old Transit van; it was the most useful vehicle I ever had.
    You need one if you are a self managing LL!!


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  • Unfortunately like it or not, in the real world, HB tenants do tend to leave more rubbish than working tenants, I & many Landlords don’t make this up, the facts speak for themselves.
    Tom’s second comment says it all.
    The majority of my HB tenants will freely admit they let rubbish build up sometimes. Not all, but on a law of averages.
    Environmental Health off the record will tell u the same thing too, HB tenants, dog mess etc. I have many a photo’s & video to prove.


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  • I have 7 HB tenants, & yes they do generate more rubbish than my private tenants.
    It’s usually the old 3 piece suite as when they move out, they get their mate with the escort to help & they leave everyting else that won’t fit or is just worn out. I have an old pick up for this purpose.


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  • All very interesting stuff.

    BUT ‘who is legally responsible for the tenants’ rubbish ?’ and WHY ?

    Gary Chase : Please tell us which is your letting agency ? I promise I will never call you.


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