Environment Agency Guidance

Did you know it’s your responsibility to check that anyone you employ, hire or appoint to take away your waste is registered with the Environment Agency? If your waste turns up where it should not be you may be liable to a £5,000 fine and even imprisonment.


Rouge and bogus house clearance firms and rubbish removal companies are operating throughout the entire UK and illegally fly-tipping the waste they charge you to collect and dispose of. Our parks, our back lanes, our countryside and our streets are being targeted daily.


Don’t become a victim of this crime or help perpetuate it by employing, hiring or appointing rouge and bogus house clearance firms. Insist on seeing a real and genuine copy of their waste carrier’s certificate and licences and keep a record of the details just in case.


If you think you have hired a bogus or rogue house clearance firm and are worried about illegal fly tipping you can report major incidents of the dumping of waste to the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60

6 things to look out for...

We believe it’s important for the industry to ensure all customers compare and double check the people they instruct to do any form of work for them. For this reason we wanted to list 6 things you should lookout for when choosing a clearance company. Don't get caught out!

Number 1 - Do they have the correct licence?

If the clearance company does not have the correct licences to transport or dispose of your waste, not only are they breaking the law, you will be too! This usually means the company will not be disposing of your waste correctly and could lead to your waste being fly-tipped.


They must hold an Environment Agency Upper Tear Waste Carriers & Dealers Licence. You should always request to see their licence before instructing them to remove your waste.


Number 2 - Are they insured?

Although it's not the law for house clearance companies to have Liability Insurance, bogus clearance companies will not be insured and could leave you as a customer at risk. There are two types on insurance you should look for:


Public Liability Insurance – Clearance companies will usually be working in or around your property or belongings. This ensures that in the worst case scenario, you will not end up out of pocket.


Employers Liability Insurance – It’s a legal requirement that if a company has more than one person employed, they must have Employers Liability Insurance. Clearances usually require two people. Make sure you are instructing legal/responsible companies.


Number 3 - Is the cost too good to be true?

If the cost is too good to be true.. then it almost certainly is. The running costs to a reputable house clearance company can be very high due to licences, insurances, waste disposal costs and much more…


Competitive pricing can be health in the industry. Too low of a cost could mean the clearance company will be cutting corners. This ultimately could fall back on you.


Remember the highest cost to a clearance company is the cost to 'actually' dispose of the waste. This is usually the first corner that is cut to save money by a bogus clearance firm.


Number 4 - What are their payment arrangements?

You should never be asked to pay a deposit upfront. This can be a strong indicator you are dealing with a bogus firm. A reputable clearance company will allow you to pay when the work has been completed.


Payment types requested should not be a concern (including cash). Depending on the size of the firm you choose, will determine the number of payment options available to you. Just ensure you have Quotes, Invoices and Payment Receipts throughout the process.


Number 5 - Where is the waste going?

It is important you find out what the company will be doing with you waste. There are a number of things House Clearance Companies, legitimate or bogus, will do to get rid of your stuff.


Some of these are perfectly legal and can help the company pass on a better price to you. Others are illegal and could put you in trouble with the law. You check the intentions of the company upfront.


They could be:


Selling it (legal) – Furniture and other re-useable items may be sold in shops, auctions, online auction sites and even car boots.


Giving it to charity (legal) – Some of the items including clothes, furniture, books etc.. can all be given to charity shops to be re-sold or re-used.


Taking to Waste Transfer Stations (legal) – Anything that may not fetch any real value should then be taken to a waste transfer station. This is very costly, but does ensure as much as possible is recycled.


Fly-Tipping (Illegal) – This is a very common and becoming more popular with bogus clearance companies. They will just empty all your waste in our countryside or hidden locations. This will ultimately come back on you and comes with hefty fines.


Burning (Illegal) – Another bogus favourite. Some bogus firm will have access to land they can just off lead all the waste and set fire to it. This is extremely harmful to the environment. It’s illegal and like fly-tipping will come back on you.


Make sure you check what they plan to do with your waste!


Number 6 - What are the staff like?

A reputable company’s staff will be professional and friendly. They will be in uniform with some obvious safety measure being taken, for example safety footwear and gloves for handling waste.


Bogus firms should be fairly easy to spot. They don’t usually have any of the above.