Landlords told to clear up their acts
Leeds Council said it is taking a “zero tolerance” approach to landlords who fail to dispose of waste, including furniture, left behind when a tenant leaves or is evicted after a spate of prosecutions in the south of the city highlighted the scale of the issue.
Just like any business, regardless of size, landlords have a duty of care when it comes to waste.
However, in some cases, landlords are deliberately ignoring the waste that tenants leave behind on the street or paying unlicensed carriers who are illegally fly-tipping the rubbish elsewhere in the city.
The council’s team leader for environmental action services Wayne Tonks said: “There are pockets across the city where landlords either don’t understand or are deliberately ignoring their duty of care and it’s these we’re targetting.
“Some claim they didn’t know about this duty but ignorance isn’t an excuse. Having spoken to many businesses, not just landlords, we know that dealing with waste is sometimes an afterthought.
“Unfortunately some people take the attitude that if they leave waste behind it’s no longer their concern and this applies to both tenants and some landlords.”
He said fly-tipping would always be investigated, and when evidence can be found, prosecutions will be made. Last month a Beeston landlord was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay court costs of £400 after being found guilty of failing in their duty of care for waste.
Environmental action officers found waste on the street at a property in Beeston, which was traced back to the landlord who had employed a local waste carrier to clear the house. However, as they were not authorised to dispose of the waste, the landlord was charged with employing a person without a correct licence. They were also charged with failing to secure their waste and allowing it to be given to an unauthorised person.
“We don’t just wait for instances of flytipping to appear,” Mr Tonks said. “We take a really proactive approach and try to nip issues in the bud. We have to use our judgement about what action we can take to get the right result but ultimately we want to work with people to help them understand and act on their responsibilities.”
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental protection and community safety, said: “Clearly waste has a cost regardless of who disposes of it. But we’re not just talking about financials here. If a tenant, for whatever reason, leaves their rubbish behind we need to rely on landlords to do the right thing, step up to their responsibilities and deal with it and we’re grateful to those that do.”