The latest episode of ‘Bad Tenants, Rogue Landlords’ airs tonight (Thursday 3rdMay, 8pm, Channel 5), and this time we will be shown the story of one person’s experience having an extreme hoarder as a tenant.
Ex-social worker and professional landlord of 30 years Leslie-Ann Franklin originally bought the property next door to her own house, already aware of its untidy state, in an attempt to help her neighbour get the property back to a good condition.
However, this decision to invest in the 18thcentury two-bedroom cottage in 2014 has left her in financial ruin. Her elderly neighbour was rent-protected and already in situ when the property was purchased, and had lived there for over 30 years. Fast forward to March 2018, this humanitarian gesture may result in Leslie-Ann having to sell the rental property due to legal fees.
The beginning of the problems started when Leslie-Ann began to receive rent payments intermittently. She was also struggling to gain access to the property even to carry out basic inspections to fulfil her obligations as a landlord. Soon after, she noticed rubbish begin to pile up and obvious signs of vermin.
Having reported these issues to Fenland District Council, they investigated and the following report highlighted serious health and safety hazards. An advisory notice was issued for the landlord to gain access in order to carry out the necessary work, with Leslie-Ann offering her tenant alternative accommodation. The elderly neighbour refused, and, concerned about their mental health, she contacted Social Services, but to no avail.
Leslie-Ann’s next step was to seek a possession order. This led to Landlord Action eventually gaining access to the property, but the tenant had filed a defence, stating that the landlord had been harassing her, and that the state of the property was due to a lack of maintenance on Leslie-Ann’s part.
The tenant has tragically since passed away, which has left Leslie-Ann caught up in a legal battle to fight for a judicial review of her original case and avoid paying £25,000 in legal fees, further to the £30,000 she has already spent. £25,000 of this is for additional legal fees and £5,000 is to remove the tenant’s belongings from her property.
Leslie-Anne has said: “This whole situation has been a complete nightmare and now after years of battling the system, I may have to sell the property. I didn’t realise, until it was much too late, the severity of my tenant’s issues. I tried time and time again to explain to the council and social services but they all failed to act quickly enough. Somehow this has now come back on me. I’ve been a landlord for 30 years and never had a problem, and now I’m being vilified as a ‘rogue’ landlord.”
Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action, said “In 27 years, I have never seen a worse case. Entering the property with the film-crew was a stomach-churning experience, it was a real-life house of horrors. From the moment we stepped foot inside, the stench hit you even though we had masks on. We couldn’t move more than a couple of feet for overflowing mounds of rubbish, piles of belongings and black sacks full of human faeces – the bathroom had not been used in the proper capacity in over two years! The floorboards had given way and the ceilings were hanging down. I think viewers will be shocked when they see this case.”