In what has been described as a “a very unusual case”, a court has ordered a former tenant to pay £1,000 in compensation after damage estimated at £12,000 was found at the property.
The damage was found after the tenant moved into the property, which was advertised by agents Richard Watkinson and Partners for occupancy with no pets.
The agreement also stipulated no pets, but Martin Starsmore, 28, signed it, knowing he intended to have pets in the property.
He and his wife moved in with a border collie dog and three cats.
In court, Starsmore admitted fraudulently signing a tenancy agreement.
Nottingham Magistrates Court heard that the tenants did not often allow the agent into the property, and that a neighbour reported a bad smell. Starsmore was said to suffer from agoraphobia and never walked his dog.
After the property was vacated, an inspection found dog urine and excrement, with damage throughout, including to the window boards and cooker.
Building work costs were £4,000 and including replacing floorboards, while the carpets had to be replaced at a cost of £1,012.
Prosecutor Lee Shepherd said: “This is quite a strange set of events.”
He put the damage at £12,000.
He said that it had been difficult to know what to charge Starsmore with.
It could not be criminal damage, because it was alleged that the pets were at fault, and they could not be tried.
Defending, Graham Heathcote said that Starsmore “knew he was making a false claim but didn’t know that it would cause financial loss to the landlord.
“It’s something of a sentencing conundrum.”
Starsmore was told by magistrates that they were not convinced all of the damage could be attributed to the animals.
He was ordered to pay £1,000 in compensation to the agents to cover the cost of new carpets.
More about the case here