THE owners of an Apsley house have been left shocked and disgusted by the state it was left in by the tenants they evicted.
Dog faeces on the floor and up to 1m high on walls, torn and missing carpet, broken fittings and piles of rubbish have left the owners with a clean-up and damage bill they expect will exceed $20,000.
The couple couldn't believe the scene that faced them when they gained access to the house last Wednesday night after evicting a young man and woman for continually failing to pay their rent.
They phoned the Herald on Thursday to express their disgust about the situation, and their heartbreak at the poor treatment of a house lovingly renovated by the female owner, an Apsley local of 10 years.
"It is absolutely putridly revolting - from a house that was pristine," said the owner's partner, who added that he had previously seen first-hand very poor living conditions including camps in northern Australia.
"There is dog excrement 1m high 'painted' on the walls the dogs had been imprisoned by, new carpet put down some 14 months ago is just completely gone missing in some parts or destroyed, we got in through a door that was virtually off its hinges.
"I have never, ever, ever seen anything as bad as this. This is just appalling.
"This is blatant - they had no intention of living in a normal fashion."
The man said his partner had worked hard to save her money and bought the property to renovate it, and she didn't deserve this.
"She's worked bloody hard and slaved over this house, and for this to happen is really disheartening," he said.
"You wonder if all the effort is worth it."
The female owner said she had made a mistake in managing the tenancy agreement herself and trusted the tenants to have the decency to treat the property well.
"I shouldn't have allowed it to go on, but I've been a rental tenant all my life and I've always had animals, so I didn't want to be a hypocrite, I didn't want to say no to animals.
"They'd get behind in the rent, but then they'd say 'We'll put $300 in next week' or 'We'll put $800 in', but then it got to the point that wasn't happening.
"I gave them an eviction notice two weeks ago but we didn't get in to see the place until 10 o'clock last night, and this is what we found."
The couple were initially only able to inspect the house by torchlight, because the power had been cut off beforehand, but the carnage was clear."I just can't understand their thinking," she said.
"There was a green bin with the house that gets picked up by the council and doesn't cost anything, but they weren't using that, they were dumping their rubbish in the shed.
"There was three televisions in the house, three vacuum cleaners. In one room there was no carpet at all, I don't know where that's gone.
"They've just used the house as a dump and a dog kennel. We have now been informed by associates of the tenants, that the dogs kept in the house had pups and that the pups had parvo (presumably Canine Parvovirus).
"We contacted the local vet and they have advised due to the nature of the disease that thorough precautions should be taken to avoid the transfer to our own dogs and other dogs in the community.
"So now on top of the massive clean-up, we have to disinfect all our own clothing and boots each time we visit the property."
The owners are $1200 out of pocket for rent arrears, but are yet to count the full cost of repairs and cleaning up.
They believe there is little chance of recouping the money.
"You can take them to court, but if they don't have any money, it's like getting blood out of a stone," the owner said.
"It's really sad because a lot of local people know the previous owner, and those who know about this are absolutely horrified.
"I won't do it again. I will fix it up and re-rent it, but I'll be a lot stricter the way I go about it next time."
Even if they can't replace what they've lost, the couple have vowed to do what they can to make sure the tenants don't take advantage of any other unsuspecting landlords.
"We've rung the public health department, the local council, the residential tenancy people, and we've let all the local real estate people know about them," the man said.
"Further to this we will also be referring this to the police and the RSPCA, particularly as the dog had obviously whelped inside the house so not only were there at one stage at least two adult dogs, but also up to 10 pups."
The owner added: "We live in a small area, and people need to be aware of this. You can't do this to people in a small country town."