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Horrified landlord is forced to wade through human waste and wall-to-wall trash

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.’

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Lidl to open new store in Billingshurst (GB)

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Dunmoore has signed a forward-funding agreement with CBRE Investment Management for the development of a Lidl supermarket in Billingshurst Business Park, Sussex. CBRE Investment Management is paying €10m (£8.4m) for the 20,451ft² store. Lidl has agreed a 25-year lease at a rent of €430,558 (£360,000) a year with the option to break at years 15 and 20. Development of the store will now commence with a view to opening in June 2022, initiating the second phase of development at the business park that will provide 250,000ft² of industrial and business space accommodation. The superstore will also sit alongside a recently completed petrol filling station and two drive-thru offerings, all providing excellent service for the business park.

 

Jeff Hobby, CEO and owner of Dunmoore, said: “This forward-funding agreement with CBRE Investment Management reflects the strength of the market for long-term, index-linked, blue-chip income. The progress we have made with the development in such challenging times has been excellent and this deal is a testament to our understanding of the ever-changing market and requirements. With continued high levels of demand, we look forward to providing further modern flexible business space for the local area”.

 

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Rents rise at fastest rate on record, says Rightmove

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Rents are rising at the fastest rate on record and now outpace house price increases in most areas of the country, new data has revealed.

It is the latest evidence of challenges people face trying to find somewhere to live. 

High demand among tenants and low supply of good rental homes means there is fierce competition in this part of the property market.

The South West has seen some of the highest rental growth and this four-bed detached house in Frome, Somerset, is for rent for £1,700 a month via Cooper and Tanner letting agents

The South West has seen some of the highest rental growth and this four-bed detached house in Frome, Somerset, is for rent for £1,700 a month via Cooper and Tanner letting agents

Rightmove revealed that rents rose 9.9 per cent to £1,068 a month on average outside of London

Rightmove revealed that rents rose 9.9 per cent to £1,068 a month on average outside of London

Rightmove said that rents had outpaced house price increases in all but three regions in Britain.

It looked at asking rents on its website across Britain and found that they rose 9.9 per cent to reach £1,068 a month on average outside of London.

It is the highest annual jump on record and highlights the recovery in rental growth following a slowdown in the months immediately after the pandemic started.

High demand among tenants and a low supply of rental properties has led to rents outpacing house price increases, Rightmove said in its quarterly report.

The only regions where rental growth has not outstripped the rise in house prices are the East Midlands, the South West and the South East.

However, the South West is still included in the areas with the biggest rises in rental values, up 11 per cent. There is also Wales, up 12.7 per cent, and the North West, up 12.5 per cent.

The data compared the last three months of last year with the same period a year earlier.

Inner London rents grew at a record 16.2 per cent and this one-bed flat at the Battersea Power Station development is for rent for £2,000 a month via Daniel Ford letting agents

Inner London rents grew at a record 16.2 per cent and this one-bed flat at the Battersea Power Station development is for rent for £2,000 a month via Daniel Ford letting agents

GROWTH IN AVERAGE RENTS IN DIFFERENT REGIONS ACROSS BRITAIN
Average asking rent Q4 2021 Average asking rent Q3 2021 QoQ Average asking rent Q4 2020 YoY
East Midlands £935 £925 1.1% £857 9.0%
East of England £1,313 £1,289 1.9% £1,196 9.7%
London £2,142 £2,019 6.1% £1,932 10.9%
North East £718 £699 2.6% £662 8.4%
North West £924 £899 2.7% £821 12.5%
Scotland £826 £805 2.6% £772 7.0%
South East £1,514 £1,489 1.7% £1,379 9.8%
South West £1,180 £1,154 2.3% £1,063 11.0%
Wales £874 £846 3.3% £775 12.7%
West Midlands £941 £918 2.4% £871 8.1%
Yorkshire and The Humber £830 £812 2.2% £759 9.3%
Source: Rightmove         

London saw record annual growth of 10.9 per cent, with asking rents in the capital standing 3 per cent higher than before the start of the pandemic. It is the first time they have risen beyond pre-pandemic levels.

At the end of 2020, London recorded a near-record 6.4 per cent drop in average asking rents as demand shifted away from the capital during another lockdown.

Tenants looked for more space outside of cities, particularly away from flats, while landlords offered tenants willing to stay cut-price rents.

By the end of 2021, London rents were higher than before the pandemic started, as its popularity returned and landlords were able to negotiate higher rents for the new year.

Inner London rents also grew at a record 16.2 per cent, recovering from its drop of 14 per cent at the beginning of 2021, to also rise just ahead of pre-pandemic levels for the first time.

Pontypool in Monmouthshire, Wales, saw the largest increase in asking rents of any local area, up 20 per cent from £562 a month to £674 a month.

It is followed by Ascot, Berkshire, which is up 18.8 per cent and Littlehampton, West Sussex, up 17.5 per cent.

High rental growth was also seen in the East Midlands and this four-bed house in Leicester is for rent for £1,350 a month via Corley letting agents

High rental growth was also seen in the East Midlands and this four-bed house in Leicester is for rent for £1,350 a month via Corley letting agents

RISE IN AVERAGE HOUSE PRICES IN DIFFERENT REGIONS OF BRITAIN
Region Average asking price % YOY
East Midlands £266,725 10.4%
East of England £396,135 8.4%
London £629,286 4.2%
North East £165,277 6.0%
North West £228,866 8.8%
Scotland £162,415 2.8%
South East £450,918 10.2%
South West £359,201 11.6%
Wales £230,813 9.9%
West Midlands £262,825 7.6%
Yorkshire and The Humber £214,988 6.1%
Source: Rightmove     

The imbalance between high tenant demand and low rental stock has also led to competition between tenants for rental homes nearly doubling, up 94 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Total rental demand is up 32 per cent compared to this time last year, while the number of available rental properties is 51 per cent lower. 

It led to available rental properties being snapped up by tenants, in just 17 days on average.

However, Rightmove went on to say that the number of available rental properties is 7 per cent higher than the same period in December, a sign of availability improving at the start of the year.

Flats have seen the highest increase in competition compared to last year, up 132 per cent, followed by terraced houses, up 40 per cent, and semi-detached homes, up 30 per cent.

Rightmove also revealed that the average rental yield across Britain is 5.5 per cent, which is the highest level since 2016 when it was 5.6 per cent.

The North East and Wales have hit record yields, while yields in London, South West and Yorkshire are at their highest since 2015.

Yields in the East of England and South East are at their highest since 2016.

Rightmove also revealed that the average rental yield across Britain is 5.5 per cent

Rightmove also revealed that the average rental yield across Britain is 5.5 per cent

TOP AVERAGE RENTAL YIELDS IN BRITAIN
Area Region Average yield 2020 Average yield 2021 Difference in yields 2021 vs 2020
Preston North West 6.1% 9.1% 3.1%
Exeter South West 6.0% 8.8% 2.7%
Swansea Wales 9.0% 11.2% 2.2%
Nottingham East Midlands 8.2% 10.3% 2.1%
Rushcliffe East Midlands 5.6% 7.7% 2.1%
Renfrewshire Scotland 8.1% 9.9% 1.8%
Gwynedd Wales 9.3% 11.0% 1.7%
Rhondda Cynon Taf Wales 7.6% 9.1% 1.5%
Warwick West Midlands 5.9% 7.3% 1.5%
East Ayrshire Scotland 8.3% 9.7% 1.4%
Source: Rightmove       

Tim Bannister, from Rightmove, said: ‘The year 2020 was defined by the race for space outside of cities, as tenant priorities changed and many moved further out looking for a larger property with green space, or temporarily moved back in with family. 

‘London was perhaps the biggest example of this, where landlords significantly decreased asking rents by the end of the year to encourage tenants to stay in the capital. 

‘A year on, asking rents have finally risen beyond pre-pandemic levels, a sign that the capital has not lost its pull and popularity with renters as landlords look to renegotiate previous cut-price terms.’

He continued: ‘Tenant demand continues to be really high entering the new year, meaning the imbalance between supply and demand is set to continue until more choice comes onto the market for tenants, which has led to our prediction of a further 5 per cent increase in average asking rents in 2022. 

‘Landlords understand the importance of having a good, long-term tenant, and there is a limit to what renters can afford to pay, which will prevent rents rising at the same rate we’ve seen over the past year.’

Marc von Grundherr, of letting agents Benham and Reeves, said: ‘The London rental market is drastically different to that seen in 2020 when landlords were forced to heavily reduce asking rents to secure a tenant and avoid lengthy void periods due to an exodus of market activity from the capital.

‘In fact, the surplus of available rental stock that accumulated due to the pandemic has now plummeted and this has been driven by a staggered return to the workplace and, in particular, a huge influx of demand from overseas students.

‘We’ve also seen a huge increase in the number of tenancy renewals which have even exceeded 2019 levels and so while some areas are yet to see rental values return to the pre-pandemic norm, it’s only a matter of time as the market looks set to continue to this strong return to form throughout 2022.’

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Taoiseach to attend Bloody Sunday memorial service in Derry

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The Taoiseach is to lay a wreath at the memorial to those killed on Bloody Sunday during a service in Derry to mark the 50th anniversary of the atrocity. Micheál Martin is also expected to meet privately with the families of those killed, The Irish Times understands.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, is also due to attend the ceremony on Sunday morning, as will other church leaders and politicians including the Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald, vice president and the North’s Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, and the SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.

President Michael D Higgins will deliver a virtual address at an event in Guildhall Square on Sunday afternoon.

Thirteen people died when members of the British Army’s Parachute Regiment opened fire on an anti-internment march in the city on January 30th, 1972. A fourteenth died later.

John Kelly, whose 17-year-old brother Michael was among the victims, said the Taoiseach would be welcomed by the Bloody Sunday families and it “shows the depth of feeling that the Irish Government has for the families who have witnessed and endured the suffering of Bloody Sunday for five decades.

“It’s a nice tribute from the Irish Government and the people of Ireland and certainly will be welcomed by the families and the people of Derry,” he said.

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, Mr Eastwood, the MP for Foyle, condemned the flying of Parachute Regiment flags which have appeared on the outskirts of Derry ahead of the anniversary and asked the Northern Secretary, Brandon Lewis, if he felt the regiment should “apologise for and condemn the actions of their soldiers on Bloody Sunday?”

In a post on social media, the Parachute regiment criticised the flying of the flags, describing it as “totally unacceptable and disrespectful behaviour.”

It has been condemned by both nationalist and unionist politicians and by relatives of the victims. Mr Kelly said they were “offensive to families and offensive to the people of Derry” and he called on community leaders in those areas and on unionist politicians to have them removed.

The DUP Assembly member for Foyle, the junior minister Gary Middleton, said the flags were “unnecessary and designed to be offensive” and the flags should be removed.

Responding to Mr Eastwood in the Commons, Mr Lewis said “we, as the Government, have to accept responsibility for what has happened in the past. When things are wrong we need to be clear about that, as we have been. It’s right that we have apologised for that.

“I’ve added my own personal apology to the government’s,” he said.

In a statement to the Commons earlier Mr Lewis acknowledged the upcoming 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the apology from the then prime minister, David Cameron, and said his “thoughts this weekend will be with all those affected”.

Referring to UK government’s new proposals for dealing with the legacy of the Troubles, he said it was engaging intensively and widely and “reflecting carefully on what we have heard.”

In a statement to The Irish Times on Wednesday, a spokesman for the UK ministry of defence said it did “not condone in any way” the “misuse” of flags, which should be “used only in an official capacity.”

He said that following the publication of the Saville Report into Bloody Sunday in 2010 “the Chief of General Staff (Gen Sir David Richards) fully supported the prime minister’s apology on behalf of the government of the United Kingdom, the army and those involved and this remains the army’s position.”

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