Infected, Infested or Contaminated Homes
Occasionally, occupiers of homes may have health, social or other problems which means that their homes can become contaminated with human waste, rotting food and other biological or chemical contaminants. Pest control and public health problems can also arise where there are no health or social problems, including mice, flies, bedbugs and other insects.
The Public Health (Scotland) Act 2008 provides powers for local authorities to intervene where homes are infected, infested or contaminated and action is needed to prevent, or prevent the spread of, infectious disease or contamination.
The law applies where a local authority knows or suspects that any premises in its area (or any thing in or on the premises) are infected, infested or contaminated. Where it appears to the local authority to be necessary to prevent the spread of infectious disease or contamination, it can serve a notice on the occupier of the premises requiring that the necessary action is taken. This could include:
- disinfecting somewhere or something;
- disinfesting somewhere or something (often by some form of pest control treatment);
- decontaminate somewhere or something;
- destroy something; or
- other related actions.
Where the notice is not complied with, the local authority can obtain a warrant (for forced entry if needed) and do what is necessary to resolve the problem. In these cases, owners or other responsible people will be charged for any costs arising from resolving the situation.
Who to Contact
Where these problems are directly affecting neighbouring properties, contact Environmental Health and Trading Standards. If the house is a council house, you should contact Housing, Customer and Building Services Contact first.
Where there are Pest Control problems, contact Pest Control
Other related issues
Many people are better at bringing things into their home than getting rid of them. In some cases, this can become a significant problem as rooms fill up with items which they find it difficult to part with. For more information, see Hoarding.