Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Place Is a Tip but the Big Bad Tenant Has Gone; Armed with Industrial Quantities of Air Freshener and Detergent Victoria Whitlock Cleans Up after a Woman Who Left Her Flat Filthy and Paid No rentThe Accidental Landlord

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Place Is a Tip but the Big Bad Tenant Has Gone; Armed with Industrial Quantities of Air Freshener and Detergent Victoria Whitlock Cleans Up after a Woman Who Left Her Flat Filthy and Paid No rentThe Accidental Landlord

Article excerpt

Byline: Victoria Whitlock

CAN you imagine re-entering your rental property after the tenant has gone, discovering quite unspeakable stuff on the carpets, a filthy mattress, bin bags full of smelly rubbish strewn about in rooms reeking of cigarettes -- and sighing with relief? That's what I did. I was just so thankful that my tenant from hell had finally gone. As I wrote in this column recently, I was preparing for a long and costly legal battle, as the tenant hadn't responded to two eviction notices I'd sent when she stopped paying rent. I thought I was going to have to go to court to get her out.

However, before going to the expense of applying for a possession order, I went to the flat to make one last attempt to persuade her to leave. When she didn't answer the door I let myself in. Incidentally, I was only allowed to do that because this tenant wasn't renting the whole flat, just one room and the other tenants had already left. If a tenant is renting an entire property, you should not enter without their permission, even if an eviction notice has expired.

As soon as I opened the door I knew she'd gone. The bedroom door was open and I could see the wardrobe was empty. The living room was littered with bin bags and crates of empty bottles, there was a pile of personal possessions dumped in one corner and there was still some food in the cupboards, but I knew she wasn't coming back because she'd left her front door key on the table.

So how did I end up with this nightmare tenant? I must confess, it was my own fault. A previous tenant, who wanted to leave before the end of her contract, arranged for this young woman to take over her room behind my back so that she didn't have to cover the rent herself.

When I found out and tried to insist that the woman left because she had ignored my messages asking her to complete a reference report and credit check, the original tenant pleaded with me to let her stay. …

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