Wellington Propertyscouts

Landlord returns to find house of grime, and a pit full of dog poo - 29th Mar 2016

He thought his Whitby property was safe in the hands of a rental property agency. That was until Stuart Shaw returned to see it.

The decks of the house were black with grime, rubbish floated in a moat of stagnant water out the back, dried dog poo was stuck to the garage floor, and daylight shone through the cat claw holes in his $4000 curtains.

"What I've discovered from my old tenant has been horrendous," he said on Monday.

The grimmest find of all was made after two weeks of cleaning the rented property, when he spotted the tops of some plastic bags sticking out of the bank out the back.

He stuck his garden fork in and made an Easter Sunday find like no other: a one-metre pit filled with hundreds of bags of dog poo.

"I've had to close all the doors and windows of the house. The whole area stinks and I've been retching whilst in the kitchen," Shaw said. 

"It has been utterly foul."

The three days he had set aside to ready the house for sale has been stretched out to five weeks.

This week he intends talking to lawyers about what action he might be able to take against the letting agency, which he was paying $150 a month for regular inspections.

He said the agency had been sending him mostly glowing reports while he was based with his family in Australia for four years, including 18 months working on communications at the Australian base in Antarctica.

He returned to find a toilet that stank of urine, water-damaged floors, a severely overgrown garden – which he said the tenants had agreed to keep tidy and clear – and a sheet of black plastic over an outside drain, which caused flooding around the back.

Inside, a dog had chewed the skirting boards, the carpet was ripped, and the dishwasher had rusted shut.

The agency had agreed to take the tenant to the Tenancy Tribunal over minor internal damage and some rubbish removal, he said, but it mostly refused to take any responsibility for the damage and filth.

"They are very, very defensive. I'm not winning on anything."

The agency has been approached several times for comment.

Wellington lawyer Karun Lakshman​ said that, unlike real estate agents, rental property managers were not covered by any regulatory supervising body.

The agreement between a house owner and agent was not covered by the Tenancy Tribunal, meaning any dispute would have to be taken to the Disputes Tribunal, or – if the financial loss was great enough – to a district court.

 - Stuff - Tom Hunt

Read the full article: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/business/residential-property/78309106/Landlord-returns-to-find-house-of-grime-and-a-pit-full-of-dog-poo

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