Council serve notice on landlord to remove tenants rubbish – Help

by Readers Question

9:26 AM, 18th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Council serve notice on landlord to remove tenants rubbish – Help

Make Text Bigger
Council serve notice on landlord to remove tenants rubbish – Help

I have been served with a notice under the Prevention of damage by Pests Act 1949 by the local council requiring me to remove rubbish from the rear yard of a property that is currently occupied by my tenant.rubbish

My issue is that the Council have served the notice on me and not on the tenant who is responsible for putting the rubbish in the yard and the fact that the Council could have just as easily found out the tenants name and served the notice on them. The notice requires me to remove the rubbish within 7 days, disinfect the area and take action to prevent a recurrence.if i do not remove the rubbish within 7 days then the Council will do so and charge me.

I have spoken to the Council and they say that under the Act they have total discretion on who to serve the Notice and it is their policy not to pursue the occupier of the property,(even if they know it is them who are responsible), if there is a landlord they can serve the notice on, they accepted that they knew it was the tenant who would have put the rubbish in the yard and not me yet they chose to serve the notice on me.

This seems unfair and the Council taking the easy way out as usual, does anyone know if the Council have a duty to investigate who is responsible for the rubbish and to take action against them or can they just go after the landlord as they claim.

I am also concerned that having a formal notice served against my name could go against me in the future if, for example, the Council introduced licencing and required me to prove I am a fit and proper person to hold a licence.

Michael



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:31 AM, 18th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Michael,

We have had similar examples where the council take the view rightly or wrongly that this is a landlord's responsibility.

Have you made the tenants aware and will they clear the area? If not, and it is not too costly, I would get this done yourself so any issues do not escalate.

However, if this is the case I hope the tenants are not in a fixed period and you can give them notice via a section 21 if possible?

Mick Roberts

7:58 AM, 19th January 2017
About 2 years ago

I've had similar a few times, always argued get it from tenant.

I don't know the full in's & outs, but apparently, if they can get hold of the tenant while tenant is there, they should be.
Below is some notes I picked up from this site a year or so ago from a good Landlord reader if it helps.
Also, apparently u can argue the Sherriff of your county, please bill him for the dog poo-ing on the park, they say well he din't do it. Well u din't put the rubbish on the garden they are enquiring about.

It's always the Landlords fault from 2014 onwards. Be it clause 24, house supply, shortages, demands, tax, Ooh we are the bad ones.

Write to the local authority saying: I refer to your notice under section 80 of the Environmental Act 1990. Section 80(2)(a) of the Act provides that the notice should be served on the person responsible for the nuisance. I am not responsible since I am not in occupation. Accordingly I request that you confirm that the notice is withdrawn failing which I shall appeal against the notice in the Magistrate's Court asking the court to order payment of my costs on the full indemnity basis on the grounds that the service of the notice on me was wholly unjustified. Send the letter to the department which issued the notice and send copies under separate cover to: the council's legal department, the chief executive and your local councillor.

MoodyMolls

9:01 AM, 19th January 2017
About 2 years ago

I also had this but I was given 24 hours or they said I would be fined £2000.

They said they knocked the tenants door nobody answered. No note in door because its much easier for them to get the landlord to sort.

We are always the easy target

Dr Rosalind Beck

10:14 AM, 19th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Or you could get a rubbish removal firm to sort the lot - after having taken photos etc of before and after and keeping the receipt - and then bill the tenant. I know the tenant is unlikely to pay and also that at the end of their tenancy there is unlikely to be any deposit left over to pay for it - as, if they treat the outside like that, the inside is probably the same. But this is the easiest way to avoid a worse consequence for you in terms of being seen as a fit and proper person. You might want to also serve the tenants a notice as their treatment of the house and garden is unlikely to get any better, I would think.

Anne Noon

10:25 AM, 19th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Incredible!! My latest problem as a Landlord is that when two of my recent tenants vacated one of my properties, they failed to tell me that they had put the gas and electricity on pre-payment meters. Despite us taking the final reading together, the tenant failed to point it out , and I did not realise until after I had paid back the deposit and my decorator wanted to use the hot water, and the power had run out. Fortunately the tenant was able to take the cards straight over.

So we have been using the prepayment cards, but it transpires that the first £20 of any card (possibly per month, but maybe per week , goes to pay off my tenants debt (£680 in December of last year for gas alone). The transition to pre-payment meters is not allowed in the contract - which I told Utility Warehouse; they allowed it because the tenant said that they were responsible for the bills. Utility Warehouse - with whom I have had several contracts over the years ( and also many arguments over bills being sent to empty houses and over-charging me) - told me that it would cost me £60 per meter for each of the supplies to change them back to an ordinary meter PLUS £100 security deposit for each supply that I would get back in a year if the accounts were kept in order.

I told them that I was a frequent (albeit reluctant at times) account holder, and that I was affronted by the fact I was being penalised by my tenants being bad payers, and asked if they would they waive the £200 fee. So the operative went to his supervisor to ask if I could be waived the £100 fees for each service. He came back and said that they would not do so as my tenants of mine in another property I owned had not paid their bills, so I could not have the fees waived.

Two points here - 1) why should I suffer for my tenants' poor money management (in the first case, they must have owed about 1500 before the prepayment meters went in) - and isn't it funny that people who don't pay their bills wander around the house in a teeshirt and skimpy clothes in the middle of winter!!

2) The tenants were Utility Warehouse were referring to were tenants of my ex-husband!! SO now I am being penalised because HIS tenants did not pay their bills. I had also informed Utility Warehouse of this when their bills kept being delivered to my tenants in the next door flat which I own.

An the government refers BTL investment as being an "armchair investment!!

Darlington Landlord

13:13 PM, 19th January 2017
About 2 years ago

If you give Utility Warehouse the meter readings for the date the tenant moved out they should refund you any of the debt charged after that date. They should send you a new key/card too so further debt is not taken. Always keep receipts for amounts put onto the key/card in case you need proof.
Try changing supplier to get the key meters removed. I have had several done free by SSE who are very helpful, although I think it helps that I have another account with them in my name.

Anne Noon

15:05 PM, 19th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Darlington Landlord" at "19/01/2017 - 13:13":

Thanks - I have a British Gas Commercial Account, so thought I might give them a go.

Anne

Colin McNulty

14:17 PM, 23rd January 2017
About 2 years ago

What DL said. You aren't responsible for someone else's bill, whether it's a credit meter bill or pre-payment bill.

Call the energy company and they should issue you a code which will wipe the bill. I've done this several times.

As for the original post, I've also had a notice to clear up rubbish and the council will go after the easiest target. They know the landlord is more likely to do what they want than the tenant.

They also were very communicative right up until I asked them to confirm the job had been done to their satisfaction, and to write to me to confirm the enforcement notice had been complied with. They simply ignored all such requests.

Luke P

11:30 AM, 24th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Here you go...

"Good afternoon,

We are the managing agent for the property at XXXX Street where an abatement notice has been served on the owner, Mr XXXX 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’) 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 XXXX and is a long-term tenant of XXXX Street, who also happens to be in receipt of Housing Benefit, paid to them by the Council. 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..."

Michael Ashworth

20:05 PM, 24th January 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "24/01/2017 - 11:30":

Thanks for that Luke. However I was served notice under the Prevention ofPests Act 1949 not the Environment Act, would what you have said still apply? Does the Environment Act trump the other Act or does it have its own requirements. Thanks Michael

1 2

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

44% of landlords fear Right to Rent

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More