Mohave County Supervisors criminalize lack of providing trash service by landlords

The County Supervisors are trying to stop scenes like this with the new ordinance requiring trash collection.

Photo by JC Amberlyn.

The County Supervisors are trying to stop scenes like this with the new ordinance requiring trash collection.

KINGMAN – Landlords will be required to provide commercial trash pickup service for residential tenants through an anti-littering ordinance amended Monday by Mohave County Board of Supervisors.

Failure to provide trash collection services at least once weekly to tenants occupying the rental property will be a Class I misdemeanor.

“Landlords shall provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish and other waste incidental to occupancy of a dwelling unit and arrange for their removal,” the ordinance states.

The amended ordinance also provides a 10-day notice to litter generators to remove the litter when such notice is given by mail.

The ordinance, which was tabled from two previous board meetings, was approved by a 4-1 vote, with Supervisor Buster Johnson opposed.

He expressed at past board meetings that litter generators should be hauled off to jail under state laws for littering.

Johnson said the trash problem is never going away unless litter bugs face serious consequences. “Put some people in jail,” he said.

The ordinance addresses an ongoing problem with trash-littered properties in rural areas of the county that have become an eyesore for neighbors and a nuisance for law enforcement.

Supervisors determined that Arizona criminal litter statutes do not fully address the scope of the litter problem in Mohave County.

Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster spoke in full support of the anti-littering ordinance. The sheriff said deputies will work with county officials and Environmental Rural Area Cleanup Enforcement (ERACE) to make sure the law is enforced.

Supervisor Hildy Angius asked Schuster how the county ordinance differs from the state law, and how do violations come to his attention.

Schuster said he doesn’t have the staff to go around looking for litter, but if his department receives a complaint, they will address it and investigate. The state’s criminal statutes allow for an arrest, he said.

Angius said she has an “issue” putting more laws on the books, and wanted to make sure the board is apprised of the ordinance’s success or failure.

David Amspoker, a landlord with seven properties in Mohave County, said five of his tenants already pay for their trash pickup.

Some of his tenants are on a fixed income, he noted. If he’s required to provide commercial trash service, he’ll have to pass the cost on to his tenants in the way of increased rent, Amspoker said.

“I’d be more in favor of prosecuting those who litter,” he told the board. “Punish the guilty. At least reword the law so that if the tenant provides for trash pickup, the landlord will not be required to.”

Supervisor Gary Watson advised the landlord to have his other two tenants pay for trash pickup.

“If they don’t, I’ll just increase their rent,” Amspoker responded.