Welcome home! Telford landlord's 'worst nightmare' when greeted by this horrific sight
Looking at the hundreds of empty bottles, cigarette ends and food scraps, it is hard to believe that anyone could live in this Telford house.
But this is how one resident lived for several years – with rubbish piled high in every room.
And the landlord was left to clear it up when he entered his property after the long-term tenant, who has not been named, moved out.
The investor landlord had not employed a managing agent as the tenant was a professional who had good references and never failed to pay the rent.
The landlord – who has asked for the property's full address to be witheld – only suspected there was a problem when the tenant would not let a gas engineer in to check the boiler.
Notice was served, but the tenant fled and left the landlord to face a bill of thousands of pounds to clean the property and return it to its former state.
Dawn Clarke, director of property agents Nock Deighton, said this type of situation is "a landlord's worst nightmare".
Although Mrs Clarke's firm was not involved with the property while the untidy tenant lived there, it has been invited in by the landlord with a view to re-letting and managing the new tenancy.
Mrs Clarke, who is the Shropshire-based regional representative for ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents), said: "We do come across similar situations like this from time to time.
"But I have never seen anything quite as horrific as this case.
"Problems like this arise mainly with investor landlords who don't have the time to effectively manage their portfolios, or sometimes with new landlords who have no experience of the legal and technical aspects of landlord and tenant legislation.
"In this case, the unsuspecting investor landlord had not expected anything this bad, even though he had not visited his tenant for a number of years.
"This is obviously a landlord's worst nightmare.
"We often get called in to assist in dire situations such as this and we help to obtain possession orders when necessary, as well as arranging deposit registrations which can lead to very expensive penalties for landlords if not registered correctly.
"All of these pitfalls can be avoided by engaging a professional property manager, which gives peace of mind to the landlord and tenant that the tenancy is in safe hands.
"In this case, the landlord's biggest regret is not employing a managing agent sooner.
"Now he faces several weeks without an income from this property and of course a large bill from professional cleaners to empty and clean the property.
"Without a doubt flooring and more will have to be replaced once the property is emptied and the floors can be seen again, along with full redecoration."
Mrs Clarke said very often landlords hoped to save initial costs by not instructing a managing agent and did not realise the value of regular checks and full management until it was too late.
"Sadly, regardless of how nice a potential tenant is or how good their references are, regular checks still need to be made to the property," she added.
"We've also heard stories where the agent only checks one room and as long as that is okay they presume the rest of the house is okay too.
"A good quality service will include a check for defects and wear and tear, any change in circumstances such as more people living there, checks on the garden and overall property.
"It's also important to show tenants the landlord values his property and expects the standards to be maintained from the day they first move in."
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