Almost a third of tenants in the private rented sector think it’s ‘fair game’ to keep items belonging to the landlord when they move out of their private rented accommodation, new research reveals.
A new survey by Direct Line for Business shows that 30% of tenants who have rented a property in the last five years think it is acceptable to take items that do not belong to them when they leave the property, with some of the strangest items removed including a bee hive.
Some of the more popular things tenants have removed from their rental properties have included fridges, freezers, light fittings, televisions and sinks!
Various reasons for taking items from rented properties were given and included believing that the landlord would not notice that the item was missing, taking items by accident and forgetting that the item was not theirs. However, the most common excuse – given by more than a fifth of respondents who admitted that they had stolen items – was simply that they wanted to take the items.
The cost to the landlord of replacing these items adds up, with tenants estimating that the overall value of items they had taken from a property stands at over £500.
Nick Breton, head of Direct Line for Business, said: “The range of items that tenants feel that they can take with them when vacating a property is quite amazing. It isn’t even just small items that go missing; our research found that renters are helping themselves to beds, sofas and cupboards once their tenancy agreement comes to an end. These are expensive to replace and could have a knock-on effect for future tenants of that property. Plus a tenant could find that they lose their deposit.”
Interestingly, the research also revealed that 21% of respondents who have stolen goods said they did not complete an inventory when they moved into the property. However, 23% confessed that all of the items they removed were listed on the inventory but this did not deter them from taking the items.
The research also identified some very unusual items that were taken from rental properties including coconuts, a bee hive and a rolling pin.
Breton continued: “The research highlights the importance of having a thorough inventory. Building a relationship with tenants could minimise issues further down the line. If the property is furnished then make sure you have the right insurance in place so you’re covered should things go missing – like the kitchen sink!”