17 Dec, 2021 @ 12:45
3 mins read

EXCLUSIVE: Rental horror as British couple illegally evicted, their belongings seized and cat stolen by property agency on Spain’s Costa del Sol

Gareth And Emma Photo provided by Gareth Milner
Gareth And Emma Photo provided by Gareth Milner

A BRITISH expat couple have been left homeless after they were illegally evicted from their rental property, had their belongings seized and their cat removed by the letting agency while they were on a trip back to the UK.

Gareth Milner and his partner Emma Farrell, who is six-months pregnant with their first child, have described the appalling treatment they received from Competa Properties letting agency in the inland town of Canillas de Albaida in the hills above the Costa del Sol.

Two months after they moved in to the property and handed over €2,000 in cash just to get the keys for the flat they agreed to rent for €500 a month, they came back from a trip to the UK to find the locks changed and all their property seized.

The pair signed a year’s contract for €500 a month and after paying two months deposit, a month’s rent in advance and agency fees equalling a month’s rent, they were handed the keys in October.

But when they moved into the property, which they had chosen unseen from an online property advert, they discovered a host of hidden costs.

“I had been assured that there was fibre optic internet connection but after signing we were told we had to pay an extra €69 a month for it only to discover that it was a very ropey connection and definitely not high-speed.

“As we work from home and need reliable wifi, we had to take our own contract to install fibre optic.”

What’s more, they were informed that in order to use a hot tub that appeared on the terrace in the photographs for the property, they would have to pay an extra €40 a month.

“After we signed the contract we were told it would be an extra €480 cash a year if we wanted the hot tub,” Milner told the Olive Press.

“The property itself was basically a storeroom for a load of old furniture belonging to the owner, there were mattresses piled up in one room and a heap of old linen,” said Milner.

“We repeatedly asked the agency to clear out the old stuff but they refused.”

They also discovered issues with security.

“A window in the front downstairs room wouldn’t lock and neither would a rear ground floor terrace door, making us very vulnerable to intruders.

“Then there was a dodgy oven door which fell off onto my feet and caused significant bruising,” said Milner, who runs an occupational health business.

Plus the boiler ‘only produced moderately warm water’. They were then told to stump up cash amounts for electricity bills without being presented with the bills themselves.

The couple refused to pay the next month rent in cash until the issues had been fixed and fearing that the agency was incompetent sought to speak directly to the landlord, a Norwegian named Pal Ness.

“We requested in writing that we pay the landlord directly to his bank account rather than hand over more cash to a letting agency that were clearly incompetent, but he wouldn’t send over his IBAN number and insisted that cash be paid and that we now owed one month rent.”

Gareth And Emma
Gareth and Emma are expecting their first baby in March. Photo: G Milner

The couple said they returned to the UK for work commitments and while they were away received an email from the agency. “We were informed that they had entered the property, taken all our personal belongings – which include all our work computers – changed the locks and ended our rental.”

To add to the outrage Milner said their cat had also been taken and dumped at the local vet. “Without our permission they entered the house and took everything, including our cat. We were contacted by a vet in town who arranged for it to be moved to a cattery”

As a result the pair, whose baby is due in March, has decided to remain in the UK where they are temporarily living with family.

“The whole experience has been a total nightmare, we have reported it to the local police in Spain but aren’t hopeful of getting our stuff back,” said Milner, who added that belongings included several computers, a TV and electric keyboard.

Cat Oreo Kygo Was Stolen By Agency
Cat, Oreo Kygo, was removed from the property and dumped at local vets. Photo: G Milner

“We have arranged for our beloved cat, Oreo Kygo, to be looked after until we can get back to Spain,” added Milner. “Despite the ordeal we are likely to return to Spain to live, but are strongly considering our options”.

The Olive Press has made repeated attempts to contact the letting agency Competa Properties for comment but none was supplied.


Fiona Govan

Fiona Govan joined The Olive Press in March 2021. She moved to Spain in 2006 to be The Daily Telegraph’s Madrid correspondent and then worked for six years as Editor of The Local Spain. She lives in Madrid’s Malasaña district with her dog Rufus.

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