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Dirty and contaminated properties

We can investigate complaints about premises that are in such a filthy condition that they may be a prejudicial to health or a nuisance.

This condition may be caused by a rat or mouse infestation, by an accumulation of rotting food or by an overflowing toilet causing odour and flies.

What is the Council's role?

If a risk to health or a nuisance is found, then this will be discussed with the owner and hopefully an agreement will be made to remedy the problem. If the owner fails to comply with this agreement after a reasonable timescale, then the Council has the power to serve a notice which legally requires the owner to carry out any specified works that are required to remove filthy articles, address a pest control problem or thoroughly cleanse the property.

Failure to comply with the requirements of a notice may result in the works being carried out in default by the Council and/or prosecution, with the costs of the work then recovered from the owner.

The Council has legal powers to enter a private property for this purpose if the owner refuses access.

Verminous persons

The Council also has powers to deal with the cleansing of verminous persons and their clothing. This may have been common in 1936 when the law was written, but it is very rare for the Council to call upon this power today.

However, the Council is sometimes alerted to such problems by neighbours, social workers, the client's home help or from other council officers.

The Council will take steps to identify the cause of the problem and will help those affected to put things right. In cases where co-operation from the persons involved does not occur and where neighbours or other people are being adversely affected, the Council may find it necessary to serve a statutory notice. Further help is available from the Council to arrange for any cleansing to be carried out.

If consent is not given, the council may apply to a court, and if the court is satisfied may make an order for them to be removed to a cleansing station to be cleansed.

To ask for further advice on either of these topics or to make a request for service, please contact us using the details below.

Contact us

Private Sector Housing
Development and Enterprise
Civic Centre
Gateshead
NE8 1HH

0191 433 3000
privatesectorhousingcivic@gateshead.gov.uk

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