Commercial landlords warned watch out for waste criminals

New guidance to help commercial landlords protect themselves from waste criminals has been launched by Natural Resources Wales.

Landowners and landlords are frequently targeted by criminals who rent industrial units under false pretences and then disappear leaving the buildings full of waste and, in many cases, structurally damaged.

Landlords are not only left with costly cleaning and repair bills but also can be legally responsible for the waste and its removal.

To help landlords avoid falling victim to waste criminals NRW has produced a film and a dedicated page on its website highlighting the problem and offering advice and guidance.

Adrian Evans, Lead specialist Advisor for Tackling Waste Crime said:

“Waste criminals look to exploit the vulnerable and unaware, but landlords can help protect themselves by following some good practice guidelines. These include:
“Carrying out proper due diligence out on all prospective tenants.
“Ensuring that prospective tenants provide evidence that they have all the necessary permits and permissions for the proposed operation.
“Carrying out periodic inspections and audits of their properties.
“Waste criminals are often very plausible and will claim to be carrying out non-waste related activities using false identities and paperwork to deceive landlords.
“They act quickly, and significant amounts of waste can appear on site within days or weeks, so we are calling on all landlords to remain vigilant and keep a close eye on what’s happening at their premises.”

Landlords should also ensure lease agreements include obligations in relation to waste such as:

  • Comprehensive contractual provisions in relation to waste that is deposited, stored, or abandoned by tenants. This might include financial bonds or personal guarantees from directors of waste operations.
  • Requirements to provide the landlord with copies of all waste transfer notes (a legally required record of waste movements on and off of a site)
  • Copies of NRW’s compliance reports following site visits. 

Adrian added:

“There are often clues that illegal activity is happening on site. There might be more lorry movements than you would expect for their type of business or activities might take place at all times of the day and night.
“You might notice unusual odours or evidence of pests around the site and you should take notice of complaints from other tenants who may have noticed something suspicious going on.

“For more information, you can visit the NRW website’s commercial landlords guidance page here  Natural Resources Wales / Commercial landlords: protect yourself from waste crime or take a look at our Commercial landlords film here

“And if you see any signs of any suspected illegal waste activity you can report it on our Incident Hotline on 0300 065 3000.”

“And if you see any signs of any suspected illegal waste activity you can report it on our Incident Hotline on 0300 065 3000.”