The latest research by landlord insurer Direct Line for Business has found that nearly one in three people who have rented a property in the last five years think it is acceptable to take items that don’t belong to them when they move out.
Some of the more popular things tenants have removed from their rental properties have included fridges, freezers, light fittings, televisions and sinks.
Some of the reasons for taking items from rented properties included believing that the landlord wouldn’t 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.”
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, almost a quarter admitted 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.
Nick Breton continued: “The research highlights the importance of having a thorough inventory before your property is vacated. Building a relationship with your tenants is a bonus and can open up communication which 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!”