Rats and collections

The Royal Borough is as susceptible to rodents as anywhere else in the country.  The Council works hard to reduce the number of rodents and we also take seriously the health and safety of our workers who may, as part of carrying out their duties, come into contact with rodents

Under Health and Safety laws, the SITA collection operatives are not allowed to collect recycling and rubbish from refuse storage areas if they see rats or mice, or see evidence of rats or mice, such as droppings, burrowing or gnawing.  If rodents or the evidence of rodents is apparent, the crew will then report this to Streetline for Environmental Services to deal with*. They will leave a note in the refuse storage area to explain to the resident(s) why the recycling and rubbish has not been collected.  The SITA crew will not be allowed to collect recycling and rubbish from the refuse storage area until proof can be shown that the area has been treated to remove the rats or mice.  Until such times as proof can be shown that the area has been treated, residents will have to use on street mixed recycling banks for recycling and/or take bags of rubbish to Western Riverside Reuse and Recycling centre at Smugglers Way, Wandsworth, SW18 1JS

How to discourage rats and mice

The number of rats and mice in an area depends on the availability of food and places for the them to live and breed.  If we can remove sources of food and shelter this will help enormously in dealing with the nuisance rats and mice cause.

  • please make sure your rubbish is stored in a metal container with a tight fitting lid.
  • if your recycling and rubbish is stored in a refuse storage area make sure the door fits securely and there are no small gaps for a rat or mouse to squeeze through. Mice can squeeze through a gap as small as 5mm. 
  • if you place your recycling and rubbish on the street for collection, please make sure you place your recycling and rubbish out on the scheduled collection day(s) only.  Leaving out bags of recycling and rubbish on non-collection days can provide a convenient source of food for rats, thus encouraging them to stay in the area.

It is an offence to have a rodent infestation in or on your property and do nothing about it.  Please remember that rats are everybody’s problem and we can all play a part in keeping them out of the Royal Borough.

*Environmental Services will not provide treatment to eradicate the rodents in the refuse storage area unless the freeholder and their family are the sole residents in the property.  If the freeholder is in receipt of housing benefit or council tax benefit the service will be provided free of charge. If the property is rented accommodation (including RSL property) the responsibility for ensuring the rodents are eradicated rests with the landlord or their representative (managing agents, etc).

The Council is concerned about rats and mice on the borough’s streets.  In order to help residents and landlords deal with the problems rats and mice cause, Environmental Services can offer a chargeable service to eradicate rodents in or on private property. A pest contract to deal with rodents in a refuse storage area or house can cost as little as £500 per year (dependent upon the size of the area, number of dwellings in the building and the complexity of the problem).

Tenants’ Duties

If you are made aware that there are rodents in your property or in the refuse storage area or you know that waste collections have been suspended at the premises where you live you must contact your landlord (or their representative) immediately, to make them aware of the problem. You should also contact Environmental Services  on 020 7361 3002 and report the infestation.

Landlord’s Responsibilities

If you become aware that your property is infested with rats, mice or other sorts of pests you are legally obliged to take immediate action to deal with the problem. You must immediately call in the services of a qualified pest control professional to advise you about what needs to be done to eradicate the pests and to prevent re-infestation occurring.

In addition, if the infestation is in the refuse storage area, you must ensure the area is thoroughly cleared of refuse and other items that may be stored there. You should also ensure your residents have suitable storage bins (metal and with close-fitting lids) for their rubbish. There must be enough bins to cope with the waste generated by all tenants.

Environmental Services will investigate the circumstances of each case that SITA refers to them. If the appropriate action to eradicate the pests and to prevent re-infestation (including eradication, pest-proofing, hygiene and housekeeping issues) has not been carried out, the Council will serve an enforcement notice on the landlord and where necessary carry out the required works in default. The costs of any work, including administration and legal costs will be payable by the landlord.