Homeowner who rented out house while she travelled abroad finds it 'trashed' by tenants on return
A woman has returned from five years in South America to find her home wrecked and her tenants refusing to move out.
Claire Deane, 34, found that instead of her home in Gravesend, Kent, being thoroughly cleaned and empty as promised by her letting agents, the tenants were still there - and the house was “ruined”.
Before and after pictures show how the two-bed terraced house was left with broken doors and windows, filthy carpets, and gaping holes in the wall, knocking an estimated £20,000 of its value.
Claire says that Gravesend’s Property Shop Estate Agents - who she paid over £6000 to look after her home - led her to believe that regular checks had been carried out and all was in order.
Claire is currently homeless, and relying on on the kindness of friends to provide a roof over her head.
She has not been paid rent since 27 July, and received a letter from a solvency agency on the day the tenants were supposed to leave, saying The Property Shop Limited had gone into liquidation due to “poor company practice”.
She said: “The only job The Property Shop managed to do was collect the rent so they could take their 12 per cent every month.
"Over the five year period they have taken £5,400 plus VAT from me.
"On arrival back to the UK it became apparent they did nothing as specified in the contract and left my house to rot with tenants who appear to live like pigs.
"It looks worse in real life, the pictures don’t show the stains and smells which cover the place.”
Claire continued: “What started out five years ago as an adventure of a lifetime travelling in South America unfortunately ended with the sad realisation of how people can have such disrespect for other people’s possessions and complete lack of morals to allow this to happen.
"The tenants were due to move out on 29 August, so I was shocked to find the house in a complete state with them still living there.
"The man admitted to fighting with his girlfriend, which may explain the holes in the wall, and their four year old daughter is sleeping on a mattress. They said the agency hadn’t been round once.
"They were then supposed to move out on 7 September. I don’t know whether to scream or cry.”
Claire cannot get any response from the estate agents, and has had to hire another agency to evaluate the damage and help her proceed.
She said: “I potentially have lost around £20,000 in the selling price of my house and I just don’t know if I can afford the repairs to enable me to live in the house.
"I may be forced to sell in its current state at a low price to avoid additional debt.
"I’m currently looking for jobs but I still have to pay the mortgage on the house, whilst staying at friends which is not ideal.
"Between them all they’ve destroyed my property, and I don’t want them to put someone else through this ordeal.”