MESSY tenants and landlords could be hit by fines of £5,000 if they fail to dispose of household rubbish correctly.
Portsmouth City Council is considering the harsher penalties after a steep rise in complaints about houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs) leaving waste in forecourts, the streets and even neighbours’ front gardens.
If approved the change would see fines soar from £60 to £5,000 and would also apply to student housing. Landlords and tenants will both be penalised for properties with forecourts, and tenants alone will be billed if the problem is linked to a property without a forecourt.
The council’s boss for housing, Cllr Darren Sanders, said: ‘A cleaner Portsmouth matters to people across the city.
‘They think the council should do everything it can to make that happen, and they are right. The proposals are one way in which we can bring that about.
‘Responsible landlords and tenants in HMOs would have nothing to fear from the proposals.
‘For those that are not, if approved, they’d allow us to send a clear message: dumping rubbish outside, or leaving waste to rot in forecourts is not acceptable and will be dealt with.
‘Given how many complaints we have got about HMOs we think it is important to use every single power available to us. It’s a shame that for years we haven’t.’
In three years the number of complaints about rubbish outside HMOs has doubled, with 94 in 2015-2016 and 187 in 2017-2018.
Cllr Sanders hoped the increased fines coupled with new bin collection rules that were announced last week would combat this.
He added: ‘We are offering a carrot on a stick with the wheelie bins. If people fail to comply we can use the powers that we have got.
‘We also need to instill confidence in people who have had to put up with rubbish left in the streets.
‘The best landlords make sure their tenants are disposing of rubbish correctly. All we are asking is that landlords meet the standards of the best.’
As of December this year households will be restricted to one wheelie bin or three bin bags worth of rubbish a week. HMOs will also be affected with some provided with communal bins and others given a bin bag allowance.
The decision on the fines will be made at a meeting tomorrow.