Some people find it difficult to look after themselves and their home. As a result their property may become untidy and dirty. This may not be serious enough for the Enforcement team to become involved. But other agencies such as Social Services or others may be able to offer support.
In some cases the situation may deteriorate to a level where there are personal hygiene issues, smells, accumulations of waste, possibly infestations of rats, mice, flies and there could be a real risk to health. If you are aware of someone who is living like this who may need our assistance, please contact us.
What are filthy and/or verminous premises?
Filthy or verminous premises are properties which are overrun by rats, mice, insects or parasites, or are in such a filthy condition as to be bad for health. This usually means that there is rotting food, human or animal excrement inside the property.
Such properties usually have an accumulation of material that can make access to a premises difficult. This might present a physical or fire risk to the occupants or those of adjoining premises.
We have a statutory duty under the provisions of the Public Health Act 1936 and section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to investigate complaints about premises which are in such a filthy and/or verminous condition or are prejudicial to health. This would not include premises which are merely unsightly, untidy or in a bad state of repair.
What we will do
If a report is received and there is a risk to health, other agencies such as Social Services may also become involved and informal discussions will be undertaken so that the owner/occupier can clean the property.
Once we are aware of a filthy or verminous house we will inspect the property so we can decide what actions to take. Here are some examples of the work we may carry out.
- Remove rubbish
- Remove or destroy pests
- Remove sewage contamination
- Clean and disinfect interior surfaces
- Remove contaminated wallpaper, carpets, furniture if we cannot clean them
- Carry out essential repairs to the property
The initial approach is always to try to resolve problems by discussion and negotiation with the occupier, private landlord, social landlord and other agencies. The purpose of such discussions is to try and gain an agreement to remove all rubbish and articles and to thoroughly clean the property.
Overgrown or untidy gardens
It should be noted that we cannot use these powers to deal with properties that are merely unsightly, untidy or in a bad state of repair.
Premises that are unsightly and deemed to be detrimental to the amenity of the neighbourhood can be dealt with Section 215 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990.
We can serve a notice on the owner of any land or building which is in an unreasonably untidy condition and we consider has an adverse affect on the amenity of the area. The Untidy Land Notice specifies what needs to be done to correct the situation.
These types of complaints are dealt with by Planning Enforcement
If the owner or occupier fails to comply, we can serve a statutory notice requiring the property to be cleansed and all rubbish and filthy articles removed.
Failure to comply with the notice may result in us executing the work specified in the notice and recovering the costs from the owner or occupier. Legal proceedings may also be taken for non compliance of the notice.
If notices are not complied with we can carry out works in default and use contractors to carry out the works to clean the property and/or eradicate the vermin. Costs incurred would then be recovered.
For further information, please contact Dudley Council Plus.
- Telephone: 0300 555 2345
Opening hours: 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
The office is closed at weekends and on bank holidays.