A LANDLORD who fought in court to win possession of her rented property was devastated to discover the tenant had left it covered in animal faeces.

Grandmother-of-one Angela Leeming said her rental house in New Market Street, Colne, would cost almost £10,000 to make habitable again after a ‘nightmare tenant’ trashed it after she stopped paying rent in March.

As well as dog and cat faeces on carpets and furniture, mounds of litter were found piled high in every room as well as mouldy food, old clothes and alcohol bottles.

The 62-year-old from Colne said the oven door was also missing and a lounge mirror was smashed.

The first-time landlord is now calling for a change in the law to give landlords more power to recoup losses when a property is damaged and to get problem tenants out of a property quicker.

Mrs Leeming, who rented out the property with her husband Tom, 63, said: “I feel like we are the victims.

“Despite winning a court order, we’ve had to pay all the costs and fees because the tenants could not afford it because of their financial situation.

“Landlords have no rights, there’s lots of schemes landlords have to adhere to and follow to protect tenants, yet there’s nothing for us.

“I know not all landlords are not good, but my husband and I are caring genuine people.

“It’s just not fair. My husband and I left the house in a condition we were happy to live in. It was immaculate.

“On three occasions she was given 14 days notice to leave and she ignored it.

“To me tenants should just get one warning as all the legal work can become expensive.”

Mrs Leeming said the problems with the property started when tenant defaulted on the rent.

Despite being warned she would not have her tenancy renewed if she did not pay up, the tenant did not pay.

Two written warnings were sent to the tenant, who refused to move out.

The couple applied for a court order to gain possession of the property and when they returned with bailiffs the tenant had disappeared.

Mrs Leeming, a mother-of-two, said the stress had made her husband ill.

She said: “My husband has had difficulty sleeping and it has put a lot of pressure on him as well as myself.

“The smell in the house is absolutely horrendous, it is awful.

“The tenant cannot tell me they did not smell it, there was animal faeces everywhere, it was on the carpet and draws. It had even got into the underlay.

“I can’t see why people would leave it in such a terrible state.

“This is a really big issue because the landlords have no rights, but the tennants do.

“We were tempted to sell the house off and move on, but as my husband said it would mean the previous tenant had won.

“We will carry on going and hopefully the home will be taken on by loving tenants.”

Mrs Leeming said the property would have to be fumigated because of the level of dirt found.

The couple posted pictures showing the state of the house on Facebook.

Anne Garner posted: “This is disgusting. Your house looked beautiful and I hope you can get it back to how it was. People like that have no respect for other people’s property and give us good tenants a bad name.”

Diane Ward said: “The law needs to change and power returned to the owners. It’s absolutely disgraceful.”

Cllr Joe Cooney, who represents the area on Pendle Council, said: “This is an awful situation which should never have happened.

“I don’t think the law should be changed because it’s already at a very fine balance of making sure the rights of both tenants and landlords are agreed.

“I don’t think landlords should be able to throw out tenants as they please, but tenants should not be able to leave a property in a mess and get away with it.

“The landlord has every right to pursue any legal proceedings she is entitled to regarding what has happened.”