Waste and recycling for flats - managing agents and landlords

Duty of care

Under Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 the concept of Duty of Care was introduced. Duty of Care, as defined by Section 34, applies to commercial waste. Properties that are let, residentially or commercially, re considered a business and therefore any waste produced as a result of this business activity is classed as commercial waste. In addition, the concept of Duty of Care for domestic waste was introduced as part of the Waste (Household Waste) Duty of Care (England & Wales) Regulations 2005. This applied a similar responsibility to that of businesses on householders

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 allows Local Authorities to issue fixed Penalty Notices for some duty of care offences as a lesser route of enforcement and avoid prosecution through Magistrates Court.

In order for waste to be safely stored and disposed of from rented properties, it is clear that landlords/ letting agents need to work with their tenants to make sure that everyone’s obligations are fulfilled.

In order to comply with your duty of care you may wish to consider the following

  • Think about how you intend to dispose of waste before undertaking any building improvements.  Burning waste, using domestic waste bins belonging to the property or other properties, putting waste in street litter bins, leaving extra bags of rubbish next to domestic waste bins or at any other location is not permitted.

  • If you want to take waste to a disposal site yourself you will need to obtain a Waste Carrier’s Licence from the Environment agency.  All reputable waste disposal sites will ask to see a copy of this licence before they allow you to dispose of waste at their site.

  • Provide new and existing tenants with information on their bin collection service and recycling information. This includes which waste is picked up by us and when, and which bin it should be disposed of in. All of this information is available on our education page

  • Consider adding a clause to your tenancy agreement requiring the property to be cleared of all waste at the end of the rental period. Failure to comply could result in a charge to the tenants for waste removal which could be taken out of their deposit. Otherwise the landlord is then responsible for any waste left behind

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