There are two important questions: 

  • What steps can I take to minimise the risk of waste being illegally abandoned or disposed at my property? 
  • What steps can I take to protect my property, myself, and the local community?  

The following steps provide some checks and measures that you can take to minimise your risk. 

  1. Be risk aware - Be aware of the risks surrounding waste disposed or abandoned in regional or urban settings. EPA Victoria has multiple resources available, see the additional information page for more information. 
  2. Know your obligations, and those of prospective tenants. This includes: 
    1. Understand the EPA permission that may be required for  activities on your land          
      1. Most activities involving the acceptance of waste to a property now require an EPA Permission. Operating such waste facilities without the correct permission  is an offence. Without first obtaining the proper permission, a person is prohibited from engaging in a prescribed waste activity.  
      2. When a permission is applied for, in most cases, a fit and proper person (F&PP) assessment is completed. The F&PP demonstrates for the community that the person holding the permission exhibits the minimum standards of integrity, behaviour and capacity to perform the activity. 
    2. Understand the duties and obligations your prospective tenants must fulfil          
      1. The general environmental duty applies to all Victorians. Prospective tenants must reduce the risk of harm to the environment and human health so far as reasonably practicable.   
      2. Waste duties apply to businesses that generate or handle waste. The duties cover activities including the classification , transportation , and the disposal of waste to a lawful place. Waste duties apply in addition to the general environmental duty. Significant penalties may apply for breaching these duties.  
    3. If you become aware of abandoned or illegal disposal of waste at your property, know your obligations          
      1. If you discover a pollution event that has, or is creating an adverse effect on human health or the environment at your property you should  report it to EPA as soon as practicable. 
      2. As a person in management or control of land, if your site has become contaminated you must also manage any risks of harm as per the duty to manage contaminated land.   
      3. If your property has become contaminated to a level defined in the Environment Protection Regulations 2021, you have an obligation under the duty to notify EPA of the contamination.  
  3. Be diligent - Undertake due diligence and understand the operation proposed by a prospective tenant. This includes: 
    1. Check what operations and activities are proposed, the types of products or wastes that are to be stored or processes undertaken
    2. Ask for evidence that all necessary EPA permissions have been obtained
    3. Ask for evidence that all necessary planning permits and building permits are in place to use the land for the proposed activity
    4. Take steps to ensure that the permitted use under your tenancy agreement is consistent with any authorisations and permissions applicable to that activity. Proposed site plans and supporting reports for the planning process may provide this detail
    5. Undertake checks of your prospective tenant, entity, and its directors permitted by the law. Is there recorded history of non-compliant or illegal activity
    6. Ensure regular inspections of the property are undertaken to verify your land is being used for the agreed and lawful use
    7. Ensure the tenant has appropriate insurance and that it is up to date. 
  4. Seek professional advice - Obtain advice and services of a professional to assist with property management and lease agreements, ensuring provisions are included to address key risks.
    1. You can engage a reputable property manager or agent
    2. Seek legal advice to structure lease agreements that help prevent illegal or abandoned waste dumping          
      1. Ensure lease agreements adequately address any rubbish, debris or waste left behind by tenants
      2. Consider seeking a security deposit to help cover the cost of any clean-up, should a tenant abandon waste. 
    3. Obtain insurance advice to ensure appropriate insurance policies are in place. 


Reviewed 2 February 2023