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Liverpool Echo

Landlord finds home flooded with rubbish as tennant tells him to keep deposit

Landlord Lee Locking had the surprise of his life when a tenant returned the keys to his flat, having left it to rot for the past five years.

The floor was nowhere to be seen as every room was rampant with piles of rubbish. Bags of cans and bottles, old clothes, mountains of rotting food and cat faeces in the bathtub; the Wales Online photographer said it was the "worst place" he'd been during a 20-year career.

Lee has been left devastated by the condition of the flat. He claims the tenant told him that he could keep their £400 deposit to clean up the mess, but Lee was shocked to see just how extensive the mess really was.

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He says he feels let down by the letting agents who managed the property, and believes they should not have allowed the flat to get as bad as it has. Now, Lee, 56, faces the intimidating task of making the Swansea property liveable.

Renovations will include a new bathroom, kitchen and fresh carpets, as well as disposing of what he says is the three to four tonnes of rubbish left behind.

Lee says he feels dirty every time he steps foot inside. He said: "Every single room is a state.

"I can't even go in without wanting to shower immediately after. When I first went to the property, I'd taken the dog with me.

"I opened the door and the smell just hit me. I took one 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 was letting the dog come in.

"I have no idea where the person slept. A neighbour said they saw the tenant take a mattress from the house and assumed it was being taken to the tip. After seeing the state of the property, I'm not so sure."

Each and every room in the property is overflowing with mess and mould. The kitchen contains jars and boxes of rotting food, a litter tray which is piled high with faeces, and empty cartons of milk.

In one of the other rooms, the floor is not visible, covered in bin 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 faeces. The toilet seat is just about hanging on to the bowl, while the toilet is filthy, and surrounded by old plastic bags, used tissue and empty food packets.

The tenant told Lee that he could keep the £400 deposit to "take care of the mess" when they returned the flat keys, but Lee believes it'll cost so much more than that to make the place liveable again. He said: "It'll easily cost me a few thousand, I'll need to replace all the carpets, the kitchen, the bathroom. I've been told there is at least three to four tonnes of rubbish to clear. I'm at breaking point with it."

Lee has no previous experience with renting, so entrusted the property to letting agents, John Francis, for them to manage. He feels let down by the company and says that they should not have allowed the flat to get as bad as it has.

"I understand that people may struggle with their mental health, and keeping on top of cleaning might be tough for them, and I really feel for them, but John Francis allowed it to get to this state."

Lee continued: "I feel really annoyed and angry that I've let them manage my property for the past five years and this is the state it's been returned to me in. They were supposed to vet the tenants and be the main point of contact for any problems.

"The flat was meant to be no pets allowed but there has clearly been a cat in the property. They've taken 12% plus VAT for five years and now they've left me in limbo."

A John Francis spokesperson said: "John Francis Lettings takes any customer complaint extremely seriously. We are in receipt of an official complaint from the landlord and which we are currently investigating. We will liaise directly with the landlord to resolve the issues."