Having started my ‘tenant penalties for breaching tenancy rules‘ series a few weeks ago based on the Direct Line survey results, I was surprised to read this post from Property Industry Eye which pointed out that there was another tenancy breach.
It seems that one-third of all tenants (according to this other survey) have stolen items from their landlords.
“A poll of 2,000 adults by landlord insurer Direct Line for Business found tenants have removed items such as fridges, freezers, light fittings, televisions and even sinks.
Tenants estimate that the overall value of items they had taken from a property stands at more than £500.
I sort of expected that some items would go missing but I have to say ⅓ of tenants is more than I thought.
Their reasons appear to be:
- They thought the landlord would not notice
- The took it by accident
- They forgot it did not belong to them, and (the most popular)
- They just wanted to keep it
Hmm. I suppose most landlords won’t mind much if it’s a teaspoon, but will feel differently if it’s (say) a double bed.
Excuses 2 and 3 won’t really wash with theft of big items. You can’t expect anyone to believe that you walked off with the kitchen sink by accident!
Advice for landlords
The items (let’s not mince words) stolen by tenants can be expensive so you need to make sure that you do a proper inventory (so you can prove that things have gone missing) and carry proper insurance.
I would also suggest that you don’t put anything you value particularly in the property in the first place. This is particularly important if you are renting out your own home.
Don’t expect the police to be the slightest bit interested by the way. They will just brush it off as a ‘civil matter’.
Advice for tenants
I suppose you may ‘get away with it’ if your landlord is not vigilant. However, if they spot it:
- The value will be deducted from your deposit and
- You are unlikely to get a particularly good reference from that landlord in future (unless the items are very minor)
I suppose, though, some tenants will feel justified if their landlord has behaved badly towards them.
What do readers have to say about this? What’s your story?