PICTURE EXCLUSIVE: The “nightmare” Finsbury Park house that landlord didn’t inspect before buying
PUBLISHED: 15:38 26 June 2013 | UPDATED: 14:48 27 June 2013
Most homeowners are guilty of holding on to keepsakes for longer than they should.
But these shocking pictures – the result of 40 years’ worth of hoarding – reveal the “nightmare” scenes which confronted one Finsbury Park landlord this week after buying the Fonthill Road house at auction without inspecting it first.
Books, children’s toys, clothes, newspapers and discarded furniture were piled up shoulder-deep in many of the four-storey town house’s 10 rooms, with only enough space to crawl up the stairs.
New owner Mehmet Koch, who bought the house with his brother, Abbas, for £450,000 at a blind auction, spoke of his “shock” at knowing people lived there until just a few months ago.
The 33-year-old said: “We just saw it and thought, ‘How the hell are we going to clean this up?’ We were just shocked.
“When we saw it, we just felt sorry for the people who lived here at first. I mean, how could anyone live like this in the 21st century?
“There was no running water, no electricity and no gas. I thought I was having a nightmare, I have never seen anything like this before.”
The house had been lived in since the 60s by an elderly couple, now in their 70s.
Hal Davis, owner of clothes shop Guate Goat opposite, said: “To get out, she would have to move about 15 bags and stick them on the doorstep, step outside and then the husband came out, then the dog came out and she would put all the bags back in. Then when they came back it was the same process.
“I have been watching that almost every day for seven years but just had no idea what the inside of the house looked like. It’s a massive revelation.
“This was the first I saw of how bad it was as she never used to open the windows.”
Angry scenes were sparked as workers began the clean-up operation after throwing everything into the front garden without arranging for a truck to collect it. As a result Islington Council “served notice” on the landlords and the mess has since been removed.
Police were also heard ordering passers-by to act with “more respect” after several began bagging items from the pile. One neighbour said: “It’s shameless. It’s like stealing from a dead body. She was a lovely old woman and those are still her things.”
Firefighters first raised the alarm with social services over the extent of the pensioners’ hoarding about a year ago after needing to go through the property to tackle a blaze. The woman is understood to be living in sheltered accommodation with her husband who had become ill.
The Koch brothers, who own about 10 premises under Kaya Properties, are planning to turn the house into flats if they gain planning permission.