British mother, 46, says 'tenants from hell' have destroyed her dream Spanish holiday home and left her £50k in debt

  • Helen France, 46, from Rotherham claims tenants destroyed her Alicante home she bought with life savings 
  • She claims they ignored eviction notices and threatened to kill her, even leaving a knife wedged in her sofa
  • The single mother-of-one bought the dream property in the Orihuela province of the Spanish resort in 2015

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Helen France, (pictured) 46, from Rotherham claims the tenants destroyed her Alicante home

Helen France, (pictured) 46, from Rotherham claims the tenants destroyed her Alicante home

A British mother has shared shocking images of the damage to her Spanish holiday home after claiming squatters have left her with £50k of debt. 

Helen France, 46, from Rotherham claims the tenants destroyed her Alicante home - throwing furniture out of the windows, breaking walls and flooring and racking up unpaid electricity bills of more than €250 per month. 

She also says after ignoring eviction notices the renters threatened to kill her and even left a knife wedged in the sofa as a warning to her. 

The kitchen was left destroyed with holes in the cupboards and pink graffiti sprayed up the walls and appliances. 

Since getting the property back, after the squatters were evicted through court, Helen's debt has continued to grow after losing over £10,000 on unpaid rent, bills and solicitor's fees. 

The home owner said 'the tenants from hell' made her life a 'living nightmare' and she may lose the home entirely due to the damage inside.

The single mother-of-one bought the dream property with her life savings in the Orihuela province of the Spanish resort in December 2015, initially using it as a holiday home.

She decided to let it out in January 2018 so she could save to move to the country permanently.

Miss France moved to Alicante full-time in December last year assuming she could move into the property, but claims months of eviction notices were ignored, with physical threats made against her.

She said: 'They threatened to kill me, even leaving a knife wedged in the sofa with a threat on my life.

'The entire situation has left me beyond heartbroken - the house isn't even habitable at the moment.

'I've always been independent but this situation - it's truly brought me to my knees.

The kitchen of the property was left in a shocking state by the tenants, who left mess all over the floor and counters and even marked the fridge and washing machine with pink graffiti

The kitchen of the property was left in a shocking state by the tenants, who left mess all over the floor and counters and even marked the fridge and washing machine with pink graffiti 

Home owner Helen France said 'the tenants from hell' made her life a 'living nightmare' by leaving her dream home, including the kitchen (pictured) in a terrible state

Home owner Helen France said 'the tenants from hell' made her life a 'living nightmare' by leaving her dream home, including the kitchen (pictured) in a terrible state

The mother-of-one also says after ignoring eviction notices the renters threatened to kill her and even left a knife wedged in her sofa (pictured) as a warning to her

The mother-of-one also says after ignoring eviction notices the renters threatened to kill her and even left a knife wedged in her sofa (pictured) as a warning to her

The single mother-of-one bought the dream property (pictured) with her life savings in the Orihuela province of the Spanish resort in December 2015, initially using it as a holiday home

The single mother-of-one bought the dream property (pictured) with her life savings in the Orihuela province of the Spanish resort in December 2015, initially using it as a holiday home

'I was a trusting person, but I lost everything.

'I was even put on medication as I was anxious, battling depression, all whilst trying to live the dream I'd saved up for so long.'

She claims the police and other official channels won't help and both her UK solicitor and letting agent have reached dead ends against Spanish law because of its protection for tenants. 

This has left her no choice but to put the eviction notice through the courts at her own expense.

She says the tenants threw furniture out of the windows, broke walls and flooring and destroyed the sofas in the property (pictured)

She says the tenants threw furniture out of the windows, broke walls and flooring and destroyed the sofas in the property (pictured) 

Cupboards in the kitchen were left with several holes in them and were sprayed with pink graffiti. Miss France said the experience has been a 'living nightmare'

Cupboards in the kitchen were left with several holes in them and were sprayed with pink graffiti. Miss France said the experience has been a 'living nightmare'  

The walls in the main entrance of the Spanish home were spray painted with swear words using more of the pink graffiti

The walls in the main entrance of the Spanish home were spray painted with swear words using more of the pink graffiti 

Her friends have banded together to help begin fixing the property, but the damage is so extreme they've had to set up a GoFundMe fundraising page in order to raise the required funds.

She said: 'This has been a nightmare and it's taken a physical toll on me.

'I poured all I had into the property, and it's only now I've realised that here in Spain, the tenants' rights outweigh the homeowner's.

'When the letting agency first approached me with these tenants, they seemed like good, ordinary people.

'I requested that there should be no pets, yet the next thing I knew there were animals in there and my furniture had been tipped outside onto the balcony.

'When I arrived in early December, they said, 'we murder you' and threw a brick from the roof at us.

'I was told I had to pay the bills from my account because it's in my name - but they're not even paying the rent and I can't afford to keep paying for the bills for the property when I'm getting nothing in return.

'Since coming out here to Spain, I'm literally living hand to mouth.

'It's like living a nightmare, I feel so alone - I don't feel in control in any way.

'I've been to the police, and to the letting agency but it seems no-one knows what to do. The tenants have had an eviction notice, and that's it. 

Letting agents Compass Property Services helped Miss France find the tenants originally - but said they also encountered road blocks as they attempted to take them out.

Company owner Peter James has now spoken out to support Helen and advise those looking to let a property abroad that 'not all tenants are as they seem'.

He said: 'Helen signed with us in September 2017 and requested that we find a long term tenant, which we did in January 2018.

'Yet the tenants quickly stopped paying the bills and it was decided to inform the tenant that if they did not pay the outstanding bills then a letter of termination would be served.

'This was done when the tenant came to pay the rent but refused to pay for the electricity.

'A letter of termination was given on the spot giving the tenant one month's notice to vacate, as stated in the rental agreement.

The painted steps leading up to the front door of her home were damaged by the tenants who ignored months of eviction notices

The painted steps leading up to the front door of her home were damaged by the tenants who ignored months of eviction notices 

Her friends have banded together to help begin fixing the property, but the damage is so extreme they've had to set up a GoFundMe fundraising page in order to raise the money. Pictured: the garden of her dream house

Her friends have banded together to help begin fixing the property, but the damage is so extreme they've had to set up a GoFundMe fundraising page in order to raise the money. Pictured: the garden of her dream house

The living room before the squatters moved in. Since the nightmare began Ms France has said she feels 'alone' and 'out of control'

The living room before the squatters moved in. Since the nightmare began Ms France has said she feels 'alone' and 'out of control'

Ms France moved to Alicante full-time in December last year assuming she could move into the property but claims months of eviction notices were ignored, with physical threats made against her. Pictured: the pool at her home

Ms France moved to Alicante full-time in December last year assuming she could move into the property but claims months of eviction notices were ignored, with physical threats made against her. Pictured: the pool at her home 

The door frame at the house was also damaged. Her letting agent said: 'this is an example of the worst case scenario of what can happen'

The door frame at the house was also damaged. Her letting agent said: 'this is an example of the worst case scenario of what can happen' 

Bought with life savings, the property was intended to be place of solace for Ms France - and would eventually be given to her daughter Hope, 21 (right)

Bought with life savings, the property was intended to be place of solace for Ms France - and would eventually be given to her daughter Hope, 21 (right)

'During the one month's notice we were in talks with Helen's solicitor and provided all the necessary and requested documents required for the solicitor to start the legal eviction process just in case the tenants did not vacate on the specified date.

'This is an example of the worst case scenario of what can happen - Spanish law and procedures are different than that in the UK.

'Any eviction process has to go through the courts via a solicitor and we assist the solicitor by providing any documentation that they may need.

'Unfortunately Spanish law leans heavily towards the tenant rather than the owner.

'This is a horrible on-going situation in which we will help in any legal way that we can.

'On average, 97 per cent of tenants are good, honest people but you do get the odd tenant that is not all that they seem.

'Anyone looking at buying abroad needs to make sure they have full understanding and aren't going in blind - they need to have their eyes wide open.'

British mother, 46, says 'tenants from hell' have destroyed her dream Spanish holiday home

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