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A couple have been left devastated after a tenant from hell turned their future retirement home into a house of horrors, leaving piles of rubbish and poo and a collapsed ceiling behind.
Vic and Jane Shoulders couldn't believe their eyes when they saw their property in Swindon, Wiltshire, had been completely wrecked.
Shocking pictures show the bedrooms full of rubbish, takeaway packaging, dirty clothes, mouldy food, and even human faeces.
The kitchen suffered the most damage, after a huge water leak caused the ceiling to collapse and the cooker hood to fall off the wall, as well as causing potentially serious damage to the structure of the house itself.
Now, the local community have chipped in to help the couple, filling 200 bin bags so far as an expensive clean-up operation begins.
Vic, 63, said: "Some of the things we've found have been unbelievable.
"There was a hoover that had a dead hamster in it, bags of shopping that had been delivered and just been left laying around, all of the carpets were ruined.
"There were takeaway boxes in every room. Upstairs there was a children's truck with faeces on it.
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"I've used three bottles of acid on the toilet so far and it's still not clean.
"I was lost for words, there were no no words, I couldn't even come in the house, couldn't even look.
"We've filled up 200 bags of rubbish so far. I estimate we've probably got another 100 to go."
The tenant moved into the property in January 2020, and the couple received just one months' rent before payments completely stopped.
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However, current law states that landlords must give tenants three months' notice before they can be evicted.
When the pandemic happened, tenants could not be evicted during lockdown, so the Shoulders were unable to do anything.
Legal proceedings were eventually started in June 2021 and the tenant was legally evicted on 12 August.
Vic continued: "We had to call a locksmith to get in because she had changed the locks.
"But when we finally got in I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The smell straight away was horrendous and there were flies everywhere.
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"I managed to film a quick video but could only stay in there for 20 minutes."
Vic and Jane, along with members of their family, have spent two weeks cleaning up the house after purchasing shovels, body suits, gloves, masks, fly traps and an abundance of bin bags.
Jane, 60, said: "Both of us were shocked.
"We're reasonable people, we would have fixed anything that was wrong, but to leave the house like this is heartbreaking.
"It was a nice house. Now I just want to get a match and burn the whole thing down.
"How can someone have lived like this?"
Because the family are still clearing out the rubbish, they have yet to gain a good idea of the true extent and cost of the damage caused.
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They expect the water damage in the kitchen will set them back thousands of pounds.
"When you consider that we're already out of pocket because we've not received rent for 18 months and then add the fact that it'll cost thousands to fix this place, it's devastating to us," said Vic.
Jane revealed that Andy Angell from Connect Flooring Swindon has offered to replace the carpets for the family, and they are overwhelmed by the messages of support they've received already.
She said: "We're very grateful to Andy for his offer, and if anyone else is willing to help we'd appreciate it."
A GoFundMe page set up by their niece Molly Curtis is now to raise £500 towards the cost of the huge clean-up operation.
Jane said: "The support is appreciated so much. I really can't thank people enough. It's nice to know that there is nice people out there."
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