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Landlord left £30,000 out of pocket after tenant from hell destroys property

A buy-to-let landlord has been left with a major clean-up bill after a tenant from hell trashed his rental property in Warrington, leaving it in a disgusting state, before moving out owing around £29,000 in rent. 

David Wright was forced to issue his tenant with a notice to vacate the four-bedroom house following several missed rent payments, which he is unlikely to be able to recoup.  

When the landlord gained access to the property via a possession order, he discovered it was filled with rubbish, the carpets were ruined beyond repair and the shower appeared to have not been cleaned for a lengthy period of time, leaving Wright with a £2,000 clean up bill. 


Wright commented: “The house has been left in a terrible state - I allowed her [the tenant] to rent the property because I felt a bit sorry for her.

"I knew that her rent was in arrears, but I didn’t realise how much money was outstanding.

"In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t waited too long to do something about it - I won’t be renting again after this, once the repairs are completed, I’ll be selling it.”

Sim Sekhon, managing director of LegalforLandlords, told the press that this incident is “unfortunately not unusual”.

He said: “This case really illustrates the importance of having a robust legal mechanism to protect landlords’ rights, and to reach a resolution in a timely manner.

"We regularly see cases where landlords have failed to act quickly enough when rent arrears start to mount, but it’s a huge red flag and may not be the only thing to be concerned about.

“It’s very sad that this has been the outcome, but I’m pleased that we have been able to help David to regain control of the property and begin to remedy the damage.”

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Poll: Have you ever been left with a major clean-up bill after a tenant left your property in a sorry state?


  • Don Holmes

    It would be interesting to learn how his insurance company supported him (ha) I’ve had the same issues. Had malicious damage, loss of rent, and all standard cover but the insurance say it’s not malicious it’s just the way they live!

  • icon

    Women tenants from hell are far worse than the men, never stand for the sob story from a woman.

    John Cart

    Too bloody true mate, I fell for it once but never again, they're brilliant at the emotional blackmail stuff. I would just get shot of them now asap.

    Daniela Provvedi

    Twice I was left with my apartments in a terrible state. Both times were 2 young men sharing! Not only did they leave the flat in a mess, but they also drilled holes in the walls for wiring; they put up shelves and left holes in the walls, and they painted their rooms in a ghastly colour.
    We can't generalise, I'm afraid. A pig can be female or male!

  • Rob Mills

    This is why every landlord should use a professional letting agent and have adequate insurance cover. If the tenant was correctly referenced and Legal & Rent Protection had been taken out then the landlord would not be out of pocket and the process would have been much quicker, at the end of the day a rental property is a large investment for anyone so it is imperative that it is look after and insured correctly.

    • 12 November 2019 10:20 AM

    What a load of twaddle.
    Professional agents are definitely NOT needed.
    Any fool self-managing LL is able to reference tenants effectively for very little.
    As for the sweeping statement of just obtain RGI etc.......... ridiculous!
    In 11 years I have only had one tenant that qualified for RGI and I had to claim.
    Cost them £10000.
    It is simply a fact that despite the aspiration to achieve such very few LL are able to source tenants who are able to qualify for RGI.
    Most LL know how important it is.
    But insisting on it means empty properties.
    So they take a gamble and often lose out to the tune of £9 billion a year.
    If LL insisted on only RGI qualifiable tenants the PRS would be almost non-existent.

    LL provide a great service but they do so by mostly gambling their tenants will be OK.
    There really ISN'T any alternative for a LL than to gamble on tenants.
    RGI companies are far too stringent with the criteria.
    But of course that is their prerogative.

    • N P
    • 12 November 2019 13:58 PM

    To say that "every" landlord needs a professional letting agent is unfortunately nonsense, no disrespect. Yes some landlords definitely do, but letting a property is not difficult when you keep informed of regulations and use common sense. It's so easy to vet tenants yourself. An agent would be earning thousands from me, for doing very little work.

    As for RGI... well let's just assume every tenant I have ever had qualified for it (when in reality most wouldn't have). I would be seriously out of pocket. In 12 years of managing my own properties, I have had ONE tenant default for 4 months (I lost 3 months rent after claiming the deposit). I have probably had over 100 tenants. If I had paid the insurance for all of them the insurance companies would have earned a fortune at my expense. The only time I would recommend this insurance is if you depend on the income from one property. If you're diversified, vet your tenants properly and request a guarantor where possible, I wouldn't bother. Yes you may get unlucky occasionally, but the amount you'd save in insurance fees would outweigh the lost rent (unless you're like the above LL who left it far too long before taking action). And an outstanding agent would not be any quicker than a smart landlord at repossessing the property.

    It's also not easy to find a "professional" letting agent. There are more rogue agents out there than landlords judging by all the feedback I hear.

  • Rob Mills

    Well everyone is entitled to their opinion but having been a Director of a family run letting agent that looked after over 2000 properties we made sure our landlords were protected so this did not happen and anyone who could not pass where entitled to provide a guarantor, at the end of the day owning a rental property is an investment and often landlords rely on the income for pension etc...they need to make sure their income is protected. There are of course landlords who decide to not use agents and that is fine as their decision, as more regulation comes into force things will change and it will be interesting to see what happens over the next 2-5 years...

    • 12 November 2019 11:00 AM

    Any LL can be as selective as you.
    It just isn't practical.
    I would suggest that you are unique in being able to source tenants who all qualify for RGI.
    You must have the magic touch.
    I'd willingly use a Letting Agent if they were able to source tenants who qualify for RGI.
    If through you business acumen you are able to achieve this for your LL client can you act for me.
    I need 3 kits of tenants at £1450 rent pcm exclusive and I want only RGI qualifiable tenants.
    I guarantee you would not be able to source any!
    Openrent dies what you do but considerably cheaper and they rarely source RGI qualifiable tenants.
    Perhaps you attract HNW tenants.
    They are few and far between in the PRS.
    But I totally applaud what you seem to routinely achieve.
    It is all about tenant selection........ unfortunately the vast majority of tenants AREN'T select which is why LL have to gamble.


    I used to manage all mine , I'm down to 4 that I manage now, the rest (12) are all managed by a good local agent, they get me a bit more rent than I would myself, and the money is transferred into my account on the same day they receive it, just avoid those big national agents their staff are all wet behind the ears youngsters, useless.


    Hi Andrew
    My understanding is that it is always a LL responsibility for any shortcomings in the documentation or maintenance even if you let and get the property managed by a letting agent except that you may blame them for the problem

  • Andrew McCausland

    Hi Paul,
    I take my hat off to any LL who self-manages in the current legal and political climate. It has never been easier to make a simple mistake that tenants and solicitors will hammer you with, and the courts seem to always support tenants at the moment. Add in the penalties under various licensing schemes and the HFHH Act and it can be an expensive time if you get things anything but absolutely right when you start a tenancy off.

    Organising inspections with tenants who know how to play the system (as seems to be the case here), and a lack of support from Council's and UC who withhold information on tenant backgrounds, and things can easily go wrong for well meaning LL.

    I do agree with you on the insurance points. I have never been able to get insurance for any tenant except the extremely low risk ones. Even then the payout seems very limited (capped at 6 weeks rent in some cases). I have not taken it out for this reason myself.

    • 12 November 2019 11:47 AM

    There are RGI providers out there that provide far better cover than you seem to have achieved.
    If I could I would ALWAYS obtain RGI.
    The RGI products I use cover £50000 of losses and provide all legal costs..About £100 per year!!!!
    Just shop around and you will source a far more effective RGI policy than you have been able to achieve to date.
    I also agree that a LA is vital for any LL that can't be bothered to be engaged in what he is doing.
    It is only by constant engagement with all forms of social media like this site that I am able to keep up with all the fiddly changes that are used to catch LL out.
    You basically have to become a bit of a LL anorak to manage.
    If you can't be bothered then using a LA would be ESSENTIAL!!

  • icon

    Another horror story of letting out a property!

  • icon

    So, lots of tenant horror stories, who hasn't got one to tell? But what about horror LAs?


    Horror letting agents ? yes there have been a few of them haven't there , thankfully I have no personal experience there.


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