A letting agent in Sunderland has been fined nearly £800 for advising a tenant to dump rubbish sacks, several armchairs and a faulty fridge at the back of the property.
The fine is part of the local council’s ongoing attempts to stamp out fly tipping in the city, which has seen it issue 450 formal warnings, three statutory notices, 86 fixed penalties and charged people to clear rubbish 43 times.
After the tenant moved into the property on Hendon Burn Avenue and found the rubbish in her back yard, she called the agent to ask that it be removed, but nothing was done.
During a subsequent a subsequent Fire Service inspection found that it was blocking the fire escape.
The tenant then called the letting agent again, who told her to dump the items at the back of the property for collection by bin men during their weekly collection service.
But Sunderland Council’s Environmental Enforcement Officers then spotted the rubbish and interviewed the agent, who admitted giving the advice despite not having visited the property.
She, rather than the tenant, was served with a fixed penalty notice of £350 plus a £426 fine to remove the waste.
“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,” says councillor Michael Mordey (pictured, left).
“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.”