When he tried to enter the flat, he found himself blocked by a mountain of newspapers, magazines and clothes. But even that did not prepare the head of a flat owner’s group for the horrible scene awaiting him.
Describing it as “the most terrible case” he had encountered in years, Hong Kong Owners Club chairman Diamond Shea Hing-wan sent the media a collection of pictures showing a Sha Tin apartment covered in rubbish and grime.
In May, Shea helped the owner seize a unit in Golden Lion Garden from a female tenant who had rented it for HK$9,000 per month for four years but had failed to pay since the beginning of this year. A court had approved the seizure.
Even though he had the help of a locksmith, Shea had difficulty getting past the front door, which was obstructed by a metre-high pile of the owner’s items.
Shea finally managed to get into the flat after the tenant removed some of her belongings. But he found himself in a paradise for cockroaches and fleas, with the stench to match.
“We estimated there were more than 1,000 cockroaches, with fleas too – they ran around. The movers alone emptied three canisters of insect killer spray,” Shea told the media.
The flat was in an incredibly damp condition, with mildew everywhere. The originally orange couch had turned black. All the wooden furniture was wet and damaged beyond recovery, he said.
Shea said the family members of the tenant, a woman in her 50s with a normal appearance and manners, had been paying the rent for her for years, but had stopped for several months ago.
The flat owner might have to spend more than HK$100,000 to renovate the flat. Work on the bathroom alone is estimated to cost about HK$40,000.