Sylvia and John Purcell decided to rent out their three bedroomed home in Mortimer Road, South Shields, after moving to a new property in Jarrow as they made financial plans for later in life.
But they say their investment plans turned into a nightmare when they had to take civil court action to take possession of their house again and were left out of pocket because of rent arrears and repair bills, which they say amounted to £10,000.
A year on from then they first let it out, they say they are still facing a series of issues.
Sylvia, 59, who runs Sam’s Deli in the same street as the house, and John, 50, who works for a car company, spoke out in the wake of a suggestion by a South Shields-based letting agency that tenants should pay into an insurance scheme, rather than a deposit programme.
Ajay Jagota, who runs Kis, is lobbying the Government over his proposal to help deal with rogue landlords.
Sylvia, who with her husband has five children and 16 grandchildren, said they had learned important lessons from their experience - but say the advice they were given could have been better.
She said: “There was trouble from the first week. When we got the house back we were just stunned to see what it was like because it had been our home for eight years.
“I think there should be more protection for landlords, I think the court system is a joke.
“If we were to do it again, we would do more vetting, we would do it differently.
“Yes, there should be help and protection for tenants, but it should be more balanced.”
She added the couple had been given good support from South Tyneside Council’s environmental health department, with the authority’s staff being the first to spot warning signs of issues with the documents issued in relation to the rental.