Research commissioned in London identified waste management as a serious issue among the private rental market, not just in the capital, but across the UK.
The transient nature of homes in multiple occupation (HMOs) and high turnover areas can result in problems communicating and delivering waste services. This, in turn, is having a negative effect on recycling and causing small scale dumping that has to be cleaned up by cash strapped councils.
Local authorities are now taking steps to communicate better with landlords and managing agents, in a bid to tackle waste problems before they begin.
The London study concluded there were attitudinal barriers among tenants that could be addressed by providing clear and consistent messaging about disposing of rubbish, helping people understand the issue and their responsibilities.
Several steps were recommended including introducing legislative changes and appropriate enforcement. In the first instance, it has been proposed that additional wording about recycling and disposing of waste should be incorporated into the ‘How to Rent’ guide landlords must now produce for new tenants.
Another issue identified by the research was lack of space or access to shared areas designated for waste management. Again, the onus is being placed on landlords to provide adequate containers for recycling and residual rubbish and it is suggested you should highlight the tenants’ duties to store, separate and place waste for collection. Failure to do so may result in sanctions.
There are also calls for a clause to be inserted into future tenancy agreements dealing with each party’s obligations regarding waste and recycling. However, it would be the local authorites’ duty to implement these changes and currently, there are doubts they would be able to force landlords to comply.
As responsible citizens, we should all want to keep our neighbourhoods clean, but while ever the issue of fly tipping remains, we need to work together to understand the reasons and develop workable solutions.
Both landlords and tenants have to deal with waste responsibly. There is no doubt proportionate enforcement is on the horizon and you will need to be prepared.