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Sunderland lettings agent pays fine for telling tenant to dump waste

hendon back lane waste

1:14pm 10th January 2018
(Updated 2:07pm 10th January 2018)

A lettings agent who told a new tenant to deposit waste left by the previous occupier in the back lane behind their home has been served fixed penalty notices.

The fines total £650 and they've also had to pay £428 in clean up costs.

The notices were served by Sunderland City Council after a large quantity of black bags, a fridge and two armchairs were deposited in the back lane of Hendon Burn Avenue in Hendon.

Environmental enforcement officers interviewed the new tenant after evidence found in the bags linked it to their address. She told them the waste was already in the backyard when she moved into the property and despite the lettings agent promising it would be removed when she reported it on numerous occasions nothing had been done.

Eventually after the Fire Service also raised concerns about waste blocking the fire escape during an inspection of the property, she contacted the lettings agent again and was told to deposit the waste in the back lane, where it would be removed by the refuse collection team on bin day.

When interviewed by environmental enforcement officers, the lettings agent admitted she had instructed the tenant to put the waste in the back lane, adding that she had never actually visited the property and didn't realise the extent of what had been left by the previous tenant.

She was served with a fixed penalty notice for £350 for fly-tipping and charged the £428 cost of removing and disposing of the waste.

After further investigations into the wider waste disposal arrangements of the lettings agent, during which she was unable to provide evidence of lawful waste disposal over the last two years, she was served with a further £300 fixed penalty notice.

Councillor Michael Mordey, Portfolio Holder for City Services, said:

"This was a case of a lettings agency failing to accept responsibility for a property they were paid to manage, with no thought about the impact this eyesore would have on neighbouring properties.

"I hope this action will send out a strong message to other lettings agents to act more responsibly. It is not acceptable to dump waste a huge amount of waste in the back lane and assume that the council will automatically take it away. 

"It's not fair on those who act responsibly if we allow the minority who don't to get away with it. That's why we will continue to take action against anyone we catch littering or fly-tipping where there is sufficient evidence to do so." 

The Council are encouraging anyone who sees people fly tipping or dropping litter to report it here.

Since the launch of Sunderland City Council's Environmental Enforcement Policy last February, the Environmental Enforcement Team has carried out 4168 investigations into environmental crimes across the city, including littering, dog fouling and fly-tipping.

This has resulted in 450 formal warnings being issued and 128 fines issued for waste offences across the city.

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