Landlords and real estate agents need to be aware of the risks associated with tenants who store or manage waste on leased premises.

This guideline helps to understand the risks associated with illegally stored or abandoned waste.

What is the issue 

Waste has the potential to cause harm to human health and the environment. The risk of harm increases when waste is improperly or illegally stored, managed, or disposed of. While the majority of waste and recycling operations are run responsibly, operators that face financial hardship or bankruptcy, and rogue operators might illegally store or abandon waste. When such choices are made it can be landlords that are left with the legal liability to clean up the waste and manage any ongoing risks, such as the management of contaminated land.  

Landlords and real estate agents should be aware of the risks posed from illegally stored or abandoned waste, and the possible financial and legal consequences for themselves from their tenants’ actions. Undertaking due diligence can reduce these risks.  

Typical types of illegally stored or abandoned waste include: 

  • Construction and demolition waste 
  • Materials containing asbestos 
  • Contaminated soils 
  • Medical and radiological waste 
  • General commercial waste 
  • e-waste, glass, plastics, tyres, polystyrene, etc.  

The information below supports landlords and real estate agents to act diligently and help mitigate the potential risks to themselves, the environment, and their community.



The information in this web page is for general guidance only. It does not constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on as a statement of the law. Because it is intended only as a general guide, it may contain generalisations. 

You should obtain professional advice if you have any specific concern. EPA has made every reasonable effort to provide current and accurate information, but does not make any guarantees regarding the accuracy, current or completeness of the information.  

© State of Victoria (Environment Protection Authority Victoria) 2021.

Reviewed 2 February 2023