Filthy and/or Verminous Properties
Following the Prime Minister’s speech to the nation on Saturday 31st October 2020 regarding the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic and resurgence of cases and imposition of new restrictions, the Private Sector Housing & Public Health team will not be undertaking site visits or property inspections until further notice, except in urgent emergency situations (as determined by the case officer) where appropriate precautions are in place. All staff are now working from home and have limited access to incoming and outgoing postal mail and correspondence is best via e-mail where possible. This is not a permanent arrangement but will continue until at least 2nd December 2020 (the date the restrictions are due to end); however, this date may be extended further by the Government depending upon whether the fall in Covid-19 cases is sufficient enough to allow the restrictions to be lifted. Any visits arranged during the pandemic may be subject to cancellation or change at short notice if there are changes to National, local or Council-directed policy, legislation or requirements, or where it is considered that appropriate precautions and/or social-distancing cannot be achieved. These changes have been made to protect customers and staff from contracting or spreading the virus during these difficult times.
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Filthy and/or Verminous 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 email@example.com or by calling the Council’s Contact Centre on 01903 737755.