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Can the council legally charge residents for fly tipping on private land
The question I would like to ask is, can the council "legally" charge residents for fly tipping by others on private land if the council clear the fly tipped waste, even though we have no control over the fly tipping.
We live in a flat which is above commercial premises on one end of a block where in total there are fourteen shops with flats above. The waste (individual wheelie) bins for the flats are kept in two locations and are behind the flats, close and open to the road and all who walk by. The area that suffers from fly tipping and waste not placed in the bins provided is the area that our bin is not, and has never been kept. Our wheelie bins (about 6) are a few meters away from the others and generally do not suffer.
Some time ago the area was cleared and we received a letter from the council after to say that they had cleared this and that if they had to clear this again we would be charged. We live above the first shop and the problem area in question is in a private car park behind shops eight to ten. Our flat is owned by us and is leasehold with our freeholder managing the first two shops and the two flats above, one being ours.
Over the years, as more of the flats have been let out the area has deteriorated and with all manner of waste being left around, but fortunately the area where our bins are kept has remained free, but a few meters away, it is absolutely disgusting what people leave out.
Charging us all for clearing the mess away, if they do is like pinning the blame on those who are innocent law abiding citizens. If they do that I would challenge it, but we really want to know if they can "legally" make us pay for this. It would be like charging a whole group of terrace house residents for a fly tipping problem one end.
Dear Mr Phillips
Thank you for your enquiry and we sympathize with your situation.
It is suggested that:
1. You ask the Council which Statute(s), regulations and/or bye-laws they are relying on to justify a charge. .
2. Any communication with the Council should be in writing e.g. email where you may have told them that it is fly-tipping.
3. You might want to invest in installing CCTV cameras in conjunction with the Management Company/Freeholders. It may be possible for the council/Police to look at the images with a view to identifying the culprits.
4. You might want to refer the matter to the solicitors who dealt with your purchase and examine your lease which may have some provision that might help.
5. The freeholders may be able to take up this issue with the Council on your behalf since their covenant is to give you peaceable enjoyment of your property.
6. The freeholders should be asked whether they have a right to vet prospective tenants that the leaseholder of flats (on which they own the freehold) so that such tenants are of a quality so as to improve the area. Your lease may give a clue as to whether such a right exists.
We hope the above is helpful.
The above comments are general in nature and are not intended to create legal relations with Collins Solicitors.
These comments are general in nature and careful evaluation must be exercised by obtaining any appropriate specific professional advice relevant to your particular circumstances. No legal responsibility is taken by the writer, any member of staff, partners or the firm of Collins Solicitors as a whole in any way whatsoever for the general nature of these comments.
For and on behalf of Collins Solicitors
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