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Fixed Penalty Notice served on landlord - with threat of worse

Telford & Wreken council has served a fixed penalty notice on a private landlord in its patch.

The £300 fixed penalty notice was issued for - in the council’s words - “the landlord’s lack of care, after the employed unlicensed waste carrier, fly tipped items in open fields.”

Household waste including a bed, broken furniture and other items of general waste were discovered and after investigation, evidence revealed the items were linked to a property in the area.

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Council officers visiting the property subsequently found another fly tip containing further household waste and a male clearing the house on behalf of the landlord. 

As the landlord refused to provide details of the waste contractor, this resulted in a Fixed Penalty Notice being issued for Duty of Care offences.

 

 

Councillor Richard Overton, housing spokesman and deputy leader of the authority, says: “Securing a fine like this is great work by our enforcement team and helping to recoup some of the costs for clearing away the mess that created such an eye sore for residents. 

“It’s not enough for landlords to simply employ someone to dispose of waste, they must check that it will be disposed of legally. We will continue to pursue residents and businesses who avoid disposing of their waste in a legal way and remain on the side of those who do.”

He adds that offenders can, and will, be prosecuted under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Anyone found guilty and convicted in a Magistrates Court could face a fine of up to £50,000 and/or 12 months in prison. If convicted in a Crown Court offenders could face an unlimited fine and/or a jail sentence of up to five years.

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    Sounds fair enough, don’t give money to the feckless to get rid of your crap. We all end up paying for it in the end. The fine should have been higher.

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    I have my own waste transport licence so I dispose of waste myself, that way I know it won't end up in a farmer's field, councils and police know who the rogue operators are but as usual the dids are above the law.

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    There’s more going on here Landlords not allowed to use the Council’s waste & re-cycle facilities just like other household Council tax payers for domestic waste, mattresses etc. They are getting full C/tax from the Property regardless, sometimes paid by LL’s and if vacant higher C/tax paid for a non service. It’s rubbish to say it’s commercial waste when its the same domestic waste. They invent a big long list of domestic items classed as chargeable, no wonder there’s fly tipping. To add insult to injury Brent Council closes the waste dump facility in Abbey Road to Domestic users two in the middle of the week every week.

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    There's a lot of truth in this but there are definitely two sides. Many of the dumps around us have restrictions, such as size of vehicle or exclusion of commercial waste. 100% that contributes massively to fly tipping because there are those who will always try to beat the system by doing bad things.

    But equally, I do think landlords qualify in the commercial waste category. In theory, a landlord's tenants can change repeatedly and, particularly in the student market, frequently. If you supply furniture for your tenants then it can go through multiple users before it's end of life - more than in our own homes - and come to that end of life much quicker. And this forum is full of tales of tenants not looking after the fixtures or fittings, leading to a long list of replacements prematurely. The landlord meanwhile has been housing them for commercial reasons - many landlords on here often state they aren't charities after all! (rightly so!)

    So I don't think it's clear cut to say they shouldn't be deemed commercial just because it's the same type of waste as domestic users.

     
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    Lindsey

    I don't understand why a landlord dumping a worn out sofa is commercial whereas a tenant or owner occupier doing so is domestic.

    My way round this is to wait until the new tenants move in, tell them that I am replacing things but I want them contact the Council to dispose of the old stuff and I will pay any appropriate charge applying to such domestic waste.

    Alternatively I put it in my car and dispose of it at my own local dump.

     
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    Robert and Michael

    My take on it is that it might be a domestic item used in a domestic setting (or waste from renovation etc), but you're not the end user and you've supplied it as part of a business transaction and received an income from goods, services etc provided. If you throw out an old kitchen cabinet that you have never personally used from a rental how is this really so different to a builder doing the same on behalf of the person he's renovating a house for? I'm not being argumentative, I genuinely want to know what you think I'm not considering?

    I think there are many ways in which the government can and do screw us over, but in this case I don't think it's one of them.

     
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    Lindsey

    You're missing the point.

    I am not disposing of the domestic items no longer in use. The tenant is disposing of it in full recognition that if I don't have to pay the Council then I don't have to reflect this cost in a higher rent. The end user always pays for any and every business expense, otherwise that business is no longer viable.

     
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    Lindsey, you have me beat I can’t get my head around your take on this, so the simple answer is not to supply those items and let unfurnished also you won’t get penalties for the non compliant furniture. Good LL’s will always be a target for Regulators. I can see if Rent Cap comes the ones that let good property for a reasonable rent will loose out again, as I suspect any increase will be based on a percentage added to your current rent, so the LL’s now charging top dollar which may or may not have good quality property will get even more rent.

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    I was thinking exactly the same thing about any potential rent control. It will not target those who are charging the most. I know that I am charging half the amount that some people are charging for flats in my area - and the one I recently let is a very nice flat indeed. Unless decision making is focused on fairness the end result will never be good - and that is fairness to landlords, as well as tenants.

     
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    Ellie

    Why charge half the market rent?

    In my experience no good turn goes unpunished.

    You're running a business and quality properties deserve to receive appropriate rents.

     
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    Hi Robert,

    There are a number of reasons really.

    Firstly, market rents have suddenly shot up, but peoples' incomes have not. Therefore people may not be able to afford rents which require such a large percentage of their salary. This could result in no rent being paid after the first month.

    Secondly, I do get a large number of applicants and I can choose the people whom I think will be most reliable in looking after the flat, paying the rent etc.

    Thirdly, I don't get a void period. If you consider the rent that people lose in a void period if they are asking for a very high rent, it equates to a yearly rent which may not be very different from the yearly rent I am receiving.

    Fourthly, with a very high rent there is the risk that there will only be one person who wants to take the flat. One could say that you only need one applicant. However, there is a risk that that applicant could be saying that they will pay all that money, but after the first month won't pay any more. That might be their crooked way of operating.

    Fifthly, there is the amount of tax required - a big percentage of the increased rent is going in tax.

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    Ellie, I agree on all 5 points, the reasons given and exactly how I see it and operate, go to the top of the Class.
    Robert, not knocking you but there’s not always a pool of high paid Professionals to pick from.

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    Thank you Michael!

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