Abatement Notice for household waste

by Readers Question

11:23 AM, 5th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Abatement Notice for household waste

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Abatement Notice for household waste

The owner of a property I manage has been issued an Abatement Notice (Environmental Protection Act 1990:S80) for a house where, according to the notice, the rear garden has an ‘accumulation of household waste’. I have no reason to doubt the presence of the waste as the property is in a very run-down poor area of the country where that sort of behavior is considered acceptable.

Of course I will be speaking with the tenant and asking them to make arrangements to clear the waste, but when I contacted the Council and questioned whether or not they had actually bothered to write/inform the tenants or serve the notice on them directly, I was met with a very rude and uncompromising stance that, “It’s the landlord’s responsibility.” Our LA consistently under-perform and often try to take the easiest route when it comes to issues of this nature (assuming the landlord will just do as they’re told), but I wish to challenge this.

I thought best to get the forum users advice first…does this indeed fall to the landlord or, if tenanted, as I believe, should in fact be their duty? It is after all their waste and they are still living in the property with no plans to move out.

Many thanks

Lukebin bag



Comments

wayne carson

12:13 PM, 5th May 2015
About 4 years ago

You cannot control the physical actions of a third party however you have to show you take your duties as a responsible seriously. I agree that the LA stance on this and other environmental issues is draconian at best and somewhat of a "cop-out".

Ultimately, whilst you may consider your tenants "good" by committing this act they are most likely in breach of their AST. Remember you also have a vicarious duty to your neighbors. If the disposal of refuge is mentioned in the AST then the remedy is open to serve either a section 21 and/or a section 8 notice on ground 12.

Once this is done show it to the LA and this should prove your commitment to assist them and show you are taking it seriously.

Ian Narbeth

12:35 PM, 5th May 2015
About 4 years ago

As I have just posted elsewhere any notice of abatement must under s80 be posted on the person "person responsible for the nuisance". That would appear to be the tenant. By getting involved as a landlord you only encourage lazy (and often anti-landlord) Council employees to pass the buck. Would they rather deal with a feckless tenant who gives them a load of abuse or an honest landlord who has a reputation and some money?

Write to the Council referring to your conversation and draw their attention to the wording of the section. Point out that the person causing the problem is easily identified and they should not be pursuing you.

KATHY MILLER

13:35 PM, 5th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi

About 2 years ago I had Environmental chap from council knock my door serving me notice to remove rubbish my tenant had in her garden. I was told I had to remove right away or they said I would be fined 2000. When I said but its the tenants waste have you contacted them, his reply was he knocked the door no one answered.

Unfortunately as I was the landlord it was me who was held responsible.

I got a builder to take it up the skip , it was about 30 black bags of coke bottles for recycling.

But I find it unbelievable that they didnt write to the tenant or put a note in the door, it did seem very heavy handed

wayne carson

13:59 PM, 5th May 2015
About 4 years ago

If the LA are enforcing an Act of Law it is due process that you are informed and provided opportunity to correct the error/act. Again this is a very bullyish tactic to turn up at your door and highly unprofessional. I would invite them in sit them down with a cup of tea and ask for them to show me the evidence of their investigation. Obviously they won't have any so then as per Ian's comment point out the law to them in a calm and structured fashion and invite responses, stating that you will be recording their comments and asking them to sign the replies as genuine record of accounts. Bet they get out of there very quickly. It is important to deal with these organisations in writing so they can be held to account for their responses.
If it was my door they would have left with their tails between their legs!

KATHY MILLER

14:32 PM, 5th May 2015
About 4 years ago

He had took photos of the bags and presented them to me!

Luke P

16:54 PM, 5th May 2015
About 4 years ago

After nearly 30 years in the rental game, I'm sick of our LA. Failure to comply with an abatement notice is a criminal offence. If some half-wit council employee has the power to potentially criminalise an individual, they'd better make damn well sure that they get the process right!

I am a Special Constable in my spare time and I can tell you that the Police don't even get to weald that sort of power around without making thoroughly sure and having been trained many times over. It seems, at least locally, that they employ any old person who because they 'work for the Council' think they are god's gift.

This is what I emailed:

"Good afternoon,

We are the managing agent for the property at XX XXXXXX STREET where an abatement notice has been served on the owner, Mrs XXXXXXX and this notice has been forwarded to us to action.

We should make it clear that the landlord will resist, in the strongest possible terms, the notice served.

It is with much disappointment that we need to clarify for you, an ‘enforcement officer’ that under Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, with respect to the serving of abatement notices, S.80(2)(a) states, “On the person responsible for the nuisance;” and S.80(2)(c) further states, “Where the person responsible for the nuisance cannot be found or the nuisance has not yet occurred, on the owner or occupier of the premises.”

The person responsible -the tenant- can indeed be found. It is a Ms XXXXX XXXX and is a long-term tenant of XX XXXXXX STREET. Irrespective of whether the tenant refuses to engage with you, does not therefore make it the owner’s problem by default. Refusal to engage is very different to not being ‘found’.

Letters sent by us to the address are responded to, so there is no reason the same should not stand true for your department.

Please follow legislation correctly in future.

Regrettably yours"

Jay James

17:01 PM, 5th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "05/05/2015 - 16:54":

Good for you Luke.
Let us know how it works out.

Carol Thomas

17:30 PM, 5th May 2015
About 4 years ago

I too have had instance to report a neighbouring property (also a rental) to the Council due to mattresses, furniture, weeds etc. if you get the right person and the right day, they can be brilliant. If not, and you get the reponse I was given, then I had to pay Land Registry for the landlord's name and address. I subsequently received a letter from their agent saying it would be dealt with. This is the third time with different tenants in the same property! Although it cost me a couple of pounds or so, it was worth it to be able to write directly to the landlord who obviously got onto their agent each time. Councils can go one of two ways and if at first they don't want to know, I prefer to go around them. I guess it depends on the situation and the local Council"s attitude.

Neil Robb

20:25 PM, 9th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "05/05/2015 - 16:54":

Brilliant I will be using this in future.

Luke P

14:56 PM, 14th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Just a little update.

After sending my email off to the enforcement officer and now we're at the halfway point of the 28 days allowed in the abatement notice to clear the garden, I thought I call 'Community Pride' at the LA to see what's what.

I got an idiot call-handler who freely told me that in circumstances such as this, they just send out letters/notices to all parties.

THAT IS NOT WHAT THE LAW SAYS!

I know why they do that -for an easy life and in the hope that someone involved will deal with it. Why do the council act with such impunity? The law is clear and not open to their interpretation. There are provisions to appeal mentioned in the notice, but I'm not inclined to go out of my way when they are not acting lawfully.


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