Landlord Lee Locking got the surprise of his life when a tenant returned the keys to his apartment, after letting it rot for the past five years.
The floor was nowhere to be seen as each room was filled with piles of rubbish. Bags of cans and bottles, old clothes, mountains of rotting food and cat feces in the bathtub; The Wales Online photographer said it was the “worst place” he had been in the course of a 20-year career.
Lee has been crushed over the condition of the apartment. He claims the tenant told him he could keep their £ 400 deposit to clean up the mess, but Lee was shocked to see how extensive the mess really was.
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He says he feels let down by the rental agents who managed the property and believes they should not have let the apartment get as bad as it has become. Now Lee, 56, is faced with the daunting task of making the Swansea property habitable.
The renovation will include a new bathroom, kitchen and fresh rugs, as well as the disposal of what he says are the three to four tonnes of waste left behind.
Lee says he feels dirty every time he steps in. He said: “Every single room is a state.
“I can not even go in without wanting to take a shower immediately after. When I first went to the property, I had taken the dog with me.
“I opened the door and the smell just hit me. I took a look at the mess up the stairs and closed the door and put the dog back in the car because there was no way I let the dog in.
“I have no idea where the person slept. A neighbor said they saw the tenant take a mattress from the house and assumed it was taken to the tip. After seeing the condition of the property, I’m not so sure.”
Every room in the property is filled with clutter and mold. The kitchen contains jars and boxes of rotten food, a trash can stacked high with feces, and empty cartons of milk.
In one of the other rooms, the floor is not visible, covered with garbage bags, takeaway containers, Amazon boxes and clothes. The bathroom is one of the worst rooms in the house, with the bathtub covered in old cat feces. The toilet seat is just hanging on the bowl while the toilet is dirty, and surrounded by old plastic bags, used tissues and empty lunch boxes.
The tenant told Lee he could keep the £ 400 security deposit to “take care of the clutter” when they returned the flat keys, but Lee believes it will cost so much more than making the place habitable again. He said: “It will easily cost me a few thousand, I will have to replace all the carpets, the kitchen, the bathroom. I have been told that there is at least three to four tons of waste to clear. I” I am at the breaking point with it.”
Lee has no previous rental experience, so he entrusted the property to rental agents, John Francis, for them to manage. He feels let down by the company and says they should not have let the apartment get as bad as it has become.
“I understand that people can struggle with their mental health, and keeping track of the cleaning can be difficult for them, and I really feel with them, but John Francis allowed it to reach this state.”
Lee continued: “I feel really annoyed and angry that I have let them manage my property for the last five years and that is the condition it has been returned to me in. They were supposed to investigate the tenants and be the main point of contact for any problems.
“The apartment was intended not to be pets allowed, but there has clearly been a cat in the property. They have taken 12% plus VAT for five years and now they have left me in limbo.”
A John Francis spokesman said: “John Francis Lettings takes any customer complaint extremely seriously. We have received an official complaint from the landlord which we are currently investigating. We will contact the landlord directly to resolve the issues.”