Filthy or infested properties

Filthy or verminous premises are properties that are in such a filthy or unwholesome condition as to be prejudicial to health (this usually means that there is a large amount of rotting food and/or human or animal excrement inside the property); or infested by vermin (including rats, mice, insects or parasites including their eggs, larvae and pupae due to such items being present within the property. It only refers to the inside of a property and does not include the outside areas or gardens of a property.

Filthy or verminous premises can affect neighbouring properties due to infestations and associated problems, and in serious cases they can present a risk to wider public health where intervention is needed.

The Council can become aware of such cases by referrals from Social Services or housing officers but can also come to our attention when we are contacted by neighbours, relatives, the Fire Service or the Police.

Officers in the Private Sector Housing Team can take action to remedy such premises if certain conditions exist. Such premises often have to be dealt with sensitively and sometimes in partnership with Adult and Community Services and other organisations.

Once the Council has been notified of such an issue, an officer will carry out an inspection of the premises to determine if any enforcement action is required or whether alternative action will help eliminate or reduce the issue. Once this has been determined, discussions with the owner and/or occupier will take place to try and gain an agreement to resolve the matter. If the owner/occupier fails to comply, the Council may serve a statutory notice requiring the removal of rubbish and filthy articles from the property and cleansing of contaminated areas.

Failure to comply with the requirements of the notice may result in prosecution and/or the Council carrying out the works in default (i.e. appointing a contractor) and recovering the costs back from the owner and/or occupier.

If you have a concern regarding a filthy and/or verminous property, you can report it by emailing or by calling the Council’s Contact Centre on 01903 737755.