When trusted tenants turn bad

Damage, unpaid rent, property discarded and two-year-old rubbish make a landlord's nightmare.

Damage, unpaid rent, property discarded and two-year-old rubbish make a landlord's nightmare.

DISHEARTENING: Landlord Phillip Freeman is frustrated with tenants who continue to leave properties in a mess and just expect others to clean up for them, which is not cheap. Picture by Liam Clayton
WHERE TO BEGIN: Good quality shoes, underwear on the line and stuff, all left behind by the tenants.
COSTLY JUNK: The side of the garage was piled up with old beds, a fridge and broken chairs that will cost a couple thousand dollars to clear.
THE FORGOTTEN TUTRLE: An abandoned pet turtle was part of a mess tenants left behind at a Tamarua property last week. This little guy was found outside in his algae-covered tank in about three inches of water.

LANDLORD Phillip Freeman is out of pocket and patience with tenants who leave a huge mess behind at rental properties.

Mr Freeman said it was a “depressing sight” when he checked his Tamarau rental property at the weekend and discovered clothes left on the line, holes through walls, smashed doors, a broken toilet, cupboards full of stuff, bins of footwear, heaps of furniture, mattresses, damage to the garage door and much, much more.

Perhaps worst of all was the lone little turtle left behind on the lawn outside in his algae-covered tank.

This is not an isolated incident. Every month at least three Gisborne rental properties are left in a “disgusting” state because tenants pick up and go, leaving a dirty mess and a huge job for other people to clean up, for which the landlord has to pay.

As a landlord of 15 years, Mr Freeman wants the public to know just what they have to put up with regularly.

“Landlords get so much bad press, but other landlords could tell you worse stories than mine."

He is frustrated and will now have to fork out at least $2000 to get the items removed, plus the three-bedroom home cleaned and repaired.

Out of pocket

Not only that, but when he gave his tenants the required notice to move out in June, that is when they stopped paying rent and put him even further out of pocket.

“It’s not so much the rent, it’s the rubbish left that is so frustrating. It's not the first time. I have had a few tenants over the years who have left a mess but this is the worst.

“If I do get any money back, it will be $20 a week at the most over the next 10 to 20 years.”

At 69, Mr Freeman says he would rather be doing anything other than cleaning up other people’s mess. He is disheartened at how people he trusted left his former family home, and just expected other people to clean up their mess.

Mr Freeman has been unable to get hold of the former tenants since they moved out last week. Finally, he got hold of another family member by text. He told them they had until last night to get their stuff or it was all going to get dumped.

A new pet

They did not come back for anything. It will all go to the dump or a charity store. But Mr Freeman said he would read up on what turtles eat and thinks his grandchildren would love to give this pet a new happy home and care for him.

Brian Williams was at the property to help Mr Freeman fix it up yesterday. Mr Williams said he had owned about 100 rentals over the years but gave up being a landlord because all he ended up doing was cleaning up other peoples’ mess.

“They don’t care because they can walk away and social welfare will help them start again. It’s the social welfare state. They’re getting too much and they can walk away and get too much topped up.”

Gisborne Property Maintenance Company owner Haidee Pereira said people leaving behind a mess in rental properties happened more often than people realised. She has a whole business built around it.

Every month she cleans two or three rentals in Gisborne that are “really bad”.

“Most of the time the properties are in good condition and it is just a surface clean but you do come across houses quite often where the tenant has just grabbed their stuff and left it in a pretty hideous state.”

Mrs Pereira said the worst cases have been where tenants sell their rubbish stickers for cash, then pile up their own household waste in black bin bags out the back.

“One shed I’ve seen was chock full of rubbish bags with maggots crawling all over them. It had probably been there for two years and they never took their rubbish out.

“I’ve seen that a few times and it is pretty nasty. But that’s the nature of the job. It ranges from a freshen-up to a full solid clean.”

LANDLORD Phillip Freeman is out of pocket and patience with tenants who leave a huge mess behind at rental properties.

Mr Freeman said it was a “depressing sight” when he checked his Tamarau rental property at the weekend and discovered clothes left on the line, holes through walls, smashed doors, a broken toilet, cupboards full of stuff, bins of footwear, heaps of furniture, mattresses, damage to the garage door and much, much more.

Perhaps worst of all was the lone little turtle left behind on the lawn outside in his algae-covered tank.

This is not an isolated incident. Every month at least three Gisborne rental properties are left in a “disgusting” state because tenants pick up and go, leaving a dirty mess and a huge job for other people to clean up, for which the landlord has to pay.

As a landlord of 15 years, Mr Freeman wants the public to know just what they have to put up with regularly.

“Landlords get so much bad press, but other landlords could tell you worse stories than mine."

He is frustrated and will now have to fork out at least $2000 to get the items removed, plus the three-bedroom home cleaned and repaired.

Out of pocket

Not only that, but when he gave his tenants the required notice to move out in June, that is when they stopped paying rent and put him even further out of pocket.

“It’s not so much the rent, it’s the rubbish left that is so frustrating. It's not the first time. I have had a few tenants over the years who have left a mess but this is the worst.

“If I do get any money back, it will be $20 a week at the most over the next 10 to 20 years.”

At 69, Mr Freeman says he would rather be doing anything other than cleaning up other people’s mess. He is disheartened at how people he trusted left his former family home, and just expected other people to clean up their mess.

Mr Freeman has been unable to get hold of the former tenants since they moved out last week. Finally, he got hold of another family member by text. He told them they had until last night to get their stuff or it was all going to get dumped.

A new pet

They did not come back for anything. It will all go to the dump or a charity store. But Mr Freeman said he would read up on what turtles eat and thinks his grandchildren would love to give this pet a new happy home and care for him.

Brian Williams was at the property to help Mr Freeman fix it up yesterday. Mr Williams said he had owned about 100 rentals over the years but gave up being a landlord because all he ended up doing was cleaning up other peoples’ mess.

“They don’t care because they can walk away and social welfare will help them start again. It’s the social welfare state. They’re getting too much and they can walk away and get too much topped up.”

Gisborne Property Maintenance Company owner Haidee Pereira said people leaving behind a mess in rental properties happened more often than people realised. She has a whole business built around it.

Every month she cleans two or three rentals in Gisborne that are “really bad”.

“Most of the time the properties are in good condition and it is just a surface clean but you do come across houses quite often where the tenant has just grabbed their stuff and left it in a pretty hideous state.”

Mrs Pereira said the worst cases have been where tenants sell their rubbish stickers for cash, then pile up their own household waste in black bin bags out the back.

“One shed I’ve seen was chock full of rubbish bags with maggots crawling all over them. It had probably been there for two years and they never took their rubbish out.

“I’ve seen that a few times and it is pretty nasty. But that’s the nature of the job. It ranges from a freshen-up to a full solid clean.”

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

G. Watson - 2 years ago
Landlords should know there is excellent insurance these days. It doesn't cost much. The landlord doesn't need to chase the tenants for rent or damaged.