A first-time landlord has been left with a costly damage bill and no explanation after a tenant destroyed his rental and then disappeared.
Ron Vulling purchased a two-bedroom property in Mortlake in 2018 and later put it on the rental market while he travelled around Australia with his wife.
It is the couple's only property which they planned to live in upon their return.
The home was fully furnished, including a lounge suite and double beds.
Mr Vulling said two wind farm workers signed a six-month lease before another woman aged in her early 20s moved in.
That woman rented the property for about 18 months before she started falling behind in her rent.
Mr Vulling said he was shocked when he attended with a real estate agent in mid-March to find the house in a deplorable state.
"When we arrived, we struggled to open the door and the first thing I saw was dirt and dog poo-infested carpet that had been pulled back from the wall," he said.
"There were dirty nappies, clothes and kids' toys everywhere. The couch was totally ripped to shreds and there were flies everywhere.
"It was just an absolute stink fest."
Mr Vulling said the inside of the once neat and tidy cottage was destroyed.
"I was horrified," he said.
"We found a fridge full of food that was well out of date, unused food parcels and crayon and Texta all over the walls."
Mr Vulling has spent the past three months cleaning the property and has spent tens of thousands of dollars making his home inhabitable again.
Insurance only covered about 30 per cent of the damage bill.
The tenant also owed over $1300 in rent, of which $150 was reimbursed by Mr Vulling's insurance company.
He also spent hundreds of dollars on skip bin and tip fees.
Mr Vulling said the woman had no rental history but her tenant application was suggested by a south-west family and youth service.
"I thought 'we all have to start somewhere, I'm happy to give her a go'," he said.
Phone calls to the tenant have remained unanswered.
The landlord said the tenant's rental bond hadn't been released because it was paid by a government body.
He said the matter would now go before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal but there were lengthy delays.
Mr Vulling, who will now reside in the property, said he would consider renting out his property again if the situation arose.
"I understand not every tenant is a bad tenant and I'd give someone else a go but would really filter the applications and make sure they have a good history," he said.
"As a first-time landlord, I think we are are at the bottom of the pile and that should be re-approached."
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