A Cambridgeshire landlord had to clear out “rat feces, rubbish bags piled high, and a decomposing mouse” after accessing her home for the first time in three years.
Leslie-Ann Franklin, a retired social worker, managed to get access to the property, following the death of her tenant.
Lesire-Ann said: “Ive seen hoarding in my social work career, but not the extent or severity of this hoarding,”.
“We were actually shocked and horrified with what we were finding.”
Three years ago, Leslie-Ann spent £30,000 buying the cottage next door to her riverside home, but she hasnt been able to set foot in it since. The property came with a long term resident, known as a protected tenant paying a controlled rent.
However, Leslie-Ann had “serious concerns” about her tenants welfare, and the conditions she was living in.
Speaking of her tenant, she said: “I was her neighbour for seven years, and landlord for just over three years.
“She moved in, in February 1983. So she's actually been a tenant in the property for nearly 34 years.”
Four months ago, Leslie-Anne learned that the tenant had been taken to hospital and, tragically, had passed away aged 61.
The landlord was forced to get a deed of surrender from court in order to access the property.
However, Leslie-Ann still could not access the property, and had to call in evictions expert Paul Shamplina to handle her case
Mr. Shamplina said: “It's quite incredible that if a tenant passes away and the property couldnt be passed on to someone else to carry on the tenancy, we still couldnt get possession. We still had to pursue it through the courts.”
Despite winning access to the property, due to the sheer level of hoarding by her former tenant, she has now learnt the property is no longer structurally sound.
“Its the electrics, its the rot,” she said. “We uncovered some seriously dodgy wiring and switches. I knew it was bad, but I didnt anticipate any of this.
“Theres so much rot in all the joists, in the floorboards, the windows, the roof. And its literally slipping into the river.”
Leslie-Ann doesnt believe that she will be able to recondition the property for a future tenant, and that the property's eventual collapse in unavoidable.
“There are three victims in this case,” she said. “There was the tenant; there was me as the landlord; and the third victim is the property. It was an 18 century beautiful two bedroom cottage. Its sad to see such a waste of a property. A bit of history has gone.”
Leslie-Anns case was shown last night on Bad Tenants, Rouge Landlords, which is available on Demand5.