Piles of dumped rubbish are unacceptable, council warns landlords

Letters reminding the landlords of student houses of their responsibility to make sure their tenants do not leave a mess on the streets when they leave at the end of the academic year have been sent this week.

The letter says unacceptable levels of household waste have been left piled up and this is an issue the council is determined to tackle robustly.

It also warns a failure to act could lead to prosecutions and licences for houses of multiple occupation being reviewed.

Cllr Ashley Clark, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Open Spaces, said: “I am shocked and appalled by the pictures I have seen in recent weeks of rubbish left piled on the streets once students have gone back home.

“This selfish behaviour affects the quality of life of those living nearby and is quite frankly disgusting especially during the warm weather we have been experiencing.

“These are supposedly intelligent individuals but sadly for some social responsibility appears not to be on their educational curriculum. I would have expected better.

“The council has tried to support both tenants and landlords at council taxpayers’ expense, removing huge volumes of contaminated waste for free.

“This cannot go on and we need all landlords to live up to their very clear responsibilities.

“We will come after those that wash their hands of the whole affair and are working with officers to find ways of forcing tenants and landlords to reimburse the cost of the clean ups.”

The letter explains how the council has worked with landlords and students over the past year to explain their responsibilities including:

  • attending Freshers’ Week events
  • taking part in landlords’ forums
  • helping organise and take part in a number of community engagement days which have included litter picks
  • visiting areas heavily populated with students and going door to door talking about how they should deal with their waste
  • running the annual bin amnesty
  • finding ways for students to recycle their unwanted goods in partnership with charities
  • promoting our waste contractor Canenco’s bulky waste collection service
  • signposting to household waste recycling centres

Licence holders for a HMO are required to supply appropriate bins and sacks at the start of each tenancy. They should also replace them where needed.

This includes:

  • a blue lidded bin (240L)
  • a red lidded bin (180L)
  • a black lidded bin (180L)
  • two silver caddies for food waste (23L and 5L)
  • full details of bin collections and recycling information

Landlords are expected to take all reasonable steps to work with their tenants during the course of their tenancy and inspect the house once that tenancy ends.

They should immediately remove any accumulated waste, including discarded belongings, from the premises.

If that does not happen, they have been warned they could receive a fixed penalty notice or be prosecuted under section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Domestic Waste).

Published: 21 July 2022

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