A landlord had to ‘dig his way out’ of his own property after a tenant piled it high with rubbish and human waste – and then suggested their £500 deposit would cover cleaning.
Danny Hernon, 54, was confused when his tenant of 18 years seemed reluctant to hand back their keys to his three bedroom and one bathroom terraced house despite moving out more than a month ago.
But Mr Hernon – who wants to sell up – was horrified to discover the real reason why when he finally entered the property on December 9 in Oldham, Greater Manchester, where properties average around £170,000.
He was met with a stomach-churning stench from the heaps of waste in every room.
Appalling photos and video footage showed mountains of rotting rubbish piled waist-high in some areas, including mounds of used toilet paper and what appears to be faeces covering the bathroom floor.
Every room was piled high with bin bags, junk, rubbish and rotting food, while thick cobwebs hang from the ceiling.
It is not clear when he last inspected the property but has now lodged an allegation of criminal damage with the police, which is being investigated.
Oldham Council has also been informed but say it is important landlords regularly inspect their properties.
The landlord said he had to ‘dig’ out of his own property after a tenant piled it high with rubbish
Don’t look down: The kitchen did not quite measure up to usual food preparation standards
A skip outside the Oldham residence was filled with rubbish and waste from the house
The cheeky former tenant suggested their £500 deposit could cover the ‘carnage’, which turned the surfaces, floors and lower walls black with mould and filth – but the clean-up is estimated to be 30 times that.
Danny and his business partner now have to front the estimated £15,000 cost to clear all of the rubbish and replace the soiled interior of the home.
But the pair of landlords have reported their former tenant to the police and council in the hope to get her to pay up for at least some of the damages.
Danny said: ‘She gave her notice to move out but was holding back with the keys, she just kept putting it off even though her tenancy was up.
‘Eventually we picked the keys up and that’s what I walked into. I was absolutely horrified.
‘It was just absolute carnage in every room. In the video the front room is empty but the skip outside is everything that came out of there.
‘When I’m walking through the kitchen you can actually hear things cracking under my feet and that’s all the bottles and plastic rubbish.
‘I had to dig to get to the back door, that’s how much stuff was on the floor.
‘It was all stuck together – cat litter, dog food, everything – it was horrendous and the smell was unbelievable.
‘In the bathroom she’s obviously done what she’s done and left all the stuff outside of the toilet so I’m presuming it’s blocked and doesn’t work.
Properties average around £170,000 in Oldham where the once-dirty flat is situated
Landlord Danny Hernon, 54, was confused when his tenant was reluctant to return her keys
Suspicious stains were evident in parts of the building which suggested poor hygiene
After the clean up started parts of the floor became visible, but it still looked a tip
‘I just don’t know how humans can live like that. It must have been going on for years for it to get like that.
‘If she’s been living like that up to a month ago there’s clearly something not right but whatever the reason is it still shouldn’t get in that state, it’s just disgusting.’
The female ‘tenant from hell’ had rented the home for 18 years with the aid of Universal Credit and is believed to have often had her partner and son stay over as well.
Danny thinks that they must have been living in squalor for some time for the house to get to the state he found it in.
Online commenters were horrified when he posted a video documenting the mess, branding the tenant an ‘animal’ and saying she should be forced to clean the house herself.
One said: ‘How did people live there! I’ve never seen anything so disgusting. Wish you [could] get them back, no masks or rubber gloves and get them to clean it. Pigs!!!!!!!!’
Another said: ‘Noooo!!! That’s just vile!!!’
Danny and his business partner were in the process of selling the property and say they had agreed a price before discovering the vile state it was left in when the tenant moved out.
The bedroom hardly looked like an oasis of calm for someone to retire for a peaceful sleep
Empty food packets, boxes and even Christmas wrapping paper and postage were visible
They have now had to put the sale on hold and fork out a whopping £15,000 to clear the trash and replace the soiled flooring, bathroom, kitchen and internal doors.
Danny said: ‘We’re selling some houses at the moment and we had agreed a price on this one but obviously I’ve had to hold them back now – there was no way I was going to sell it in that state.
‘The toilet’s got to be thrown, the bath’s got to be thrown, the kitchen’s got to be ripped out, it’s just horrendous.
‘It’s going to cost us about £15,000 to get right. It’s got to come out of the business – you don’t get that in rent pay so if everyone did that I wouldn’t have a business.
‘She said whatever it costs to do up, keep my bond and use that but the bond was only £500 and it’s going to cost me £1,400 just in skips.
‘Whatever it costs we will be taking her to court for. I know she hasn’t got a lot of money but it needs pointing out that you can’t leave landlords in this situation.’
The landlord and a friend have so far spent five gruelling days shovelling the piles of rubbish out of the house and have filled five skips.
They hope to have cleared the filthy property before Christmas to refurbish and sell it in the new year.
Danny also aims to see his former tenant held accountable and pay up for the damage to his property through the courts, to hopefully avoid another landlord going through the same ordeal.
Danny said: ‘The majority of my tenants are very good tenants that have been with me for years. This really is a one off.
‘What winds me up is it’s always geared against the landlord as if all landlords are bad and we’re not – I’ve been doing this 20 odd years and I’ve never had one complaint from any of my tenants.
‘You just can’t let someone walk away from houses like this with no repercussions. I don’t want her to leave the next landlord in this situation as well, it’s not fair.’
Greater Manchester Police confirmed that the incident of criminal damage was reported on December 15 and is being investigated.
A spokesperson for Oldham Council said: ‘It’s important that landlords carry out checks on their tenants prior to letting a property and that they carry out regular checks to ensure tenants are complying with their tenancy agreement and that the house is in a good state of repair.’