SURREY - A Surrey family is facing thousands of dollars in repairs after they rented their home to two men they found on Craigslist.

“You can see all the flies,” said Sager Ghai, the landlord, as he walked through the kitchen of his Newton home.

Thousands of bugs crawled on the walls above the mounds of garbage that had been left behind.

The smell of sour milk filled the air as piles of food decayed around the house.

Ghai and his parents purchased the brand new townhome at 142 Street and 60 Avenue as an investment property, but were unable to sell it.

They decided to rent it out in June to two guys they found online.

“They came off very nice, very polite, quiet. They said they didn’t drink, they didn’t smoke, they didn’t party,” said Ghai.

Just weeks after the pair moved in, there were several noise complaints and a steady stream of visits from police.

“The final straw was on the third month when the rent didn’t come through,” explained the landlord.

Ghai says he evicted them in September, but they refused to leave.

He changed the locks a few weeks later, but was not prepared for what he found inside.

“There’s drug paraphernalia, there’s needles, there’s bongs, there’s cigarette butts in the carpet. It literally looked like nobody ever took a shoe off in this house,” Ghai told News.

The damage is extensive; soiled carpeting, walls riddled with holes and burnt hardwood flooring.

The house is also filled with mattresses, clothing and garbage.

“We’ve had strata people and neighbours telling us there were upwards of 14 people at one time living in this house,” explained Ghai.

The cost of repairs is expected to cost more than $15,000.

Industry experts say it’s a cautionary tale about the importance of doing your homework before becoming a landlord.

“The reality is, it is a business. It has risks, you need to do it right and educate yourself,” said David Hutniak, CEO of LandlordBC.

“The odds are hugely in your favour to ensure you have a good tenancy if you know the residential tenancy act and if you learn what the best practices are for screening and managing tenants,” explained Hutniak.

It’s a lesson Ghai admits his family learned the hard way.

“My advice to other people is to actually take your time and vet them. Especially people that come off being very nice in the beginning,” said Ghai

His family is now filing a civil suit.

He says his former tenants are now renting another home in the same neighbourhood.