UK: Left In The Lurch – Another Uk Landlord Convicted Following Tenant's Unlawful Waste Operations

Last Updated: 17 December 2018
Article by Robert J. Biddlecombe

Recent caselaw demonstrates that regulators are prepared to prosecute landlords as a direct result of their tenants' unlawful waste operations. Landlords should consider this possibility when negotiating with prospective tenants and put in place reasonable safeguards to protect themselves. However, victims of fly-tipping may potentially face a similar risk of prosecution against which such safeguards will not be available.

Facts

In 2015, Anthony Joyner leased part of his land in Totnes, Devon to a new wood recycling business, Woody's Recycling. The company directors, Steven Loveridge and David Weeks, assured Mr Joyner that they had the necessary permits for their operation. In fact, the amount of waste brought onto site far exceeded the 1,000 tonne limit allowed under the site's waste exemption. Although the waste deposited was mainly wood, it also included mattresses, plasterboard, plastics and metal. No waste ever left the site.

In early 2016, after Mr Loveridge was sent to jail for an unrelated offence, Mr Joyner locked the gates to the recycling centre, causing the business to cease trading. The closure left approximately 10,000 tonnes of waste wood on site. In April 2016, Mr Joyner approached another recycling business to see if it was interested in taking the waste wood. However, he was advised that the waste was of poor quality, had little, if any, commercial value and would cost up to £750,000 to remove.

On 16 May 2016, the Environment Agency was informed that the fire service was dealing with a wood fire at the site. The fire covered the area of a football pitch, burned for 5 days and cost the fire service an estimated £28,000 to attend and extinguish.

Prosecution

Mr Joyner was convicted of knowingly permitting the keeping of controlled waste on land in respect of which no environmental permit was in force, in a manner likely to cause pollution to the environment or harm to human health, contrary to the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Mr Joyner was ordered to pay £12,250 by way of fine, costs and compensation. The Environment Agency is also taking action against Mr Joyner for the clearing up of the site and a hearing is due to take place in December.

Mr Loveridge and Mr Weeks were convicted of operating an unlawful waste operation contrary to the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. Mr Loveridge was given a 6 month prison sentence and Mr Weeks was ordered to pay more than £11,000 by way of fine and costs.

Analysis

This case echoes the other recent case of Mark Stone and Salhouse Norwich Limited v Environment Agency, where a director was found personally liable after his company's tenant vacated its premises leaving 471 tonnes of waste mattresses behind. In that case, the High Court agreed with the Environment Agency that the company's 10-month delay in removing the waste and the fact that it had no permit authorising its storage amounted to unlawfully storing the waste. Furthermore, the company's director was convicted of consenting to or conniving in the unlawful storage of the waste.

These cases represent salutary lessons for landlords. It is clear that where an errant tenant ceases trading leaving behind waste stored unlawfully, regulators are prepared to take action against the landlord. To protect themselves from this eventuality, landlords should carry out reasonable due diligence checks on prospective waste sector tenants to obtain comfort that they will not leave them with liability for clean-up. For example:

  • what experience and qualifications does the tenant have;
  • what references can they provide;
  • have they been convicted of any offences in the past, especially waste offences; and
  • what permits or exemptions will be required for the proposed operation?
  • Landlords should consider how they can monitor compliance from time to time (for example, obtaining copies of any regulatory correspondence and reports), what steps they can take under the lease if the tenant is non-compliant, and how they would pay for site clearance in the tenant's absence (for example, some form of security).

Victims of fly-tipping do not have the same opportunity as landlords to vet the people who bring waste unlawfully onto their land, and yet they potentially face the same consequences. If waste were fly-tipped onto private land, the landowner may be required to remove the waste at its own effort and expense promptly or risk being prosecuted for knowingly permitting the waste to remain. This would be particularly galling if (as is so often the case) the 'real' criminal who illegally dumped the waste in the first place cannot be identified.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions