Landlord couple left devastated by state of property

Vic and Jane Shoulders
Vic and Jane Shoulders

A couple were left devastated after a nightmare tenant left behind a house of horrors at their future retirement home - including piles of rubbish, excrement and a collapsed ceiling.

Vic and Jane Shoulders were shocked to discover the property they wanted to inhabit in their latter years had been completely wrecked.

Bedrooms were full of a mixture of general rubbish, takeaway packaging, dirty clothes, human faeces, children’s toys and mouldy food.

An outside ivy plant that had been allowed to grow out of control was also encroaching into the house and the bathroom and toilet were left in an horrific state.

The kitchen suffered the most damage after a large water leak caused the ceiling to collapse, the cooker hood to fall off the wall and potentially serious damage to the structure of the house itself as everything was damp.

The local community have now been rallying around the couple and have filled 200 bin bags so far as an expensive clean-up operation begins at the property in Swindon, Wiltshire.

Vic, 63, said: “Some of the things we’ve found have been unbelievable.

"There was a hoover that had a dead hamster in it, bags of shopping that had been delivered and just been left laying around, all of the carpets were ruined.

"There were takeaway boxes in every room. Upstairs there was a children’s truck with faeces on it.

“I’ve used three bottles of acid on the toilet so far and it’s still not clean.

“I was lost for words, there were no words, I couldn’t even come in the house, couldn’t even look.

“We’ve filled up 200 bags of rubbish so far. I estimate we’ve probably got another 100 to go.”

The tenant moved in in January 2020 and the Shoulders received only one month's rent before payments stopped.

But, due to current law, landlords must give tenants three months' notice before they can be evicted.

Then the pandemic happened and tenants could not be evicted during the lockdown, so they were unable to do anything. Legal proceedings were eventually started in June 2021 and the tenant was legally evicted on August 12.

“We had to call a locksmith to get in because she had changed the locks,” Vic said.

“But when we finally got in I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The smell straight away was horrendous and there were flies everywhere.

"I managed to film a quick video but could only stay in there for 20 minutes.”

Vic and Jane, as well as other members of the family, had spent two weeks cleaning up the house since regaining access, having purchased shovels, body suits, gloves, masks, fly traps and an abundance of bin bags.

"Both of us were shocked,” said Jane, 60.

“We’re reasonable people, we would have fixed anything that was wrong, but to leave the house like this is heartbreaking.

"It was a nice house. Now I just want to get a match and burn the whole thing down.”

“How can someone have lived like this?” she asked.

The family are still clearing out the rubbish, so they have yet to gain a good idea of the true extent and cost of the damage caused.

They expect the water damage in the kitchen will set them back thousands of pounds.

“When you consider that we’re already out of pocket because we’ve not received rent for 18 months and then add the fact that it’ll cost thousands to fix this place, it’s devastating to us.” said Vic.

Jane revealed that Andy Angell from Connect Flooring Swindon has offered to replace the carpets for the family, and they are overwhelmed by the messages of support they’ve received already.

She said: "We’re very grateful to Andy for his offer, and if anyone else is willing to help we’d appreciate it.”

A GoFundMe page set up by their niece Molly Curtis is now to raise £500 towards the cost of the huge clean-up operation.

Hundreds of pounds and countless hours have already been spent removing the disgusting mess from the property.

And the couple said they had been heartened by the outpouring of support from the community.

Jane added: "I think it’s great that people want to help and I can’t believe there are so many nice people out there.

“The support is appreciated so much. I really can’t thank people enough. It’s nice to know that there is nice people out there.”

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