A landlord discovered a 'gigantic' boa constrictor among mounds of rubbish when his 'nightmare' tenant finally moved out.
Ironically, the tenant from hell was an animal rescuer who bragged how well he looked after them.
Landlord Phil Tewkesley had been battling for months to evict the occupants, who he claims used the Covid-19 pandemic as an 'excuse' to refuse him access to inspect the property for the last two years.
However, upon entering the property, south of Kendal, Cumbria, once they finally left Phil was horrified to discover the property swamped in litter and 'junk'.
The 47-year-old soon discovered among the mounds of trash in the rented bungalow four snakes – two dead and two alive – fish, bugs crawling across the carpets and even scorpions and a tarantula.
Phil, from Worlsey, Greater Manchester, said: "It was unbelievable, the sheer volume of not just belongings but actual rubbish and food.
"I've never seen anything like it in my life – it was like a rubbish dump with a roof on it. The neighbours said they were hoarders – they got deliveries every day and never threw anything out.
"There was mould growing from the carpet and it was full of urine, mealworms – you name it, it was rotten. There was also evidence in a number of spots of rodent damage and a bit of an infestation with holes gnawed through places around the house.
"The daughter's room was the worst – my partner Lisa cleared that and had to run out of the house heaving and retching numerous times because of the stench of urine.
"I saw this huge tank and it was dirty. I looked a bit closer into the tank and got the shock of my life – there was this gigantic snake curled up.
"I was terrified, I screamed and ran out of the house because the shock of seeing something like that was unbelievable."
Phil issued a formal notice for the tenants to vacate the bungalow upon his return to the UK in late 2020, after living and working abroad for six years.
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But the couple, who lived in the property with their teen daughter, didn't leave for another year, even allegedly refusing to pay rent for the final six months.
The landlord was only able to regain access to his property, in December 2021, by having a locksmith burst and change the locks after neighbours informed him they had seen the tenants move out.
Phil phoned the RSPCA and left a spare key with the neighbours, allowing them to come and collect the 'gigantic' snake the following day, December 31.
Due to the discovery of various animals, RSPCA officers called the police, who sent an officer to witness the recovery of the animals.
It took the landlord, his partner Lisa McCartney, 40, and some friends around 54 stomach-churning hours to clear all of the rubbish and rip the soiled carpets out.
Phil said: "I initially hired three skips – at £250 each – and we filled them in one day, followed by another two which were full to the brim as well.
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"It cost about £1,200 just to get rid of their stuff and the stuff they'd wrecked and it's going to cost tens of thousands to get it back to how it should have been."
The 'heartbroken' landlord now vows never to rent the property out again. He was rejected for any compensation by his insurance.
The tenant acknowledged the house was 'a state' but blamed not having his boiler serviced, a family member's illness, issues with his shower and central heating for the mess.
When quizzed on the number of dead animals in the property, the tenant said they were 'a lapse' and that he was 'still grieving' for them. He claimed there was no tarantula.
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