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Tenants Leave The Weirdest Stuff In Property For Rent

Mar 3, 2008
Life as a landlord really does have its ups and downs.

The ups are building a private property portfolio that could secure your future for years to come. You have the possibility of making a lot of money buying property, doing it up and renting it out. It's a powerful way to become independently financially free.

The downs are all the challenges that go with owning property for rent. It's not much fun when a tenant doesn't pay their rent on time (regardless of the mortgage payments you must make), damages the place or does a runner. Juggling the demands of several properties as your portfolio grows is difficult. Those are the risks you face.

Well, imagine having a tenant move out of your property and you go in to get it ready for the next tenant... and discover they've left their pets behind. Or worse, you find a dead body there.

That happened to three landlords quizzed in a new survey to find out the most bizarre parting gifts left by tenants who have vacated property for rent.

A list has been put together by the Deposit Protection Scheme, which is a government approved scheme set up to protect tenants' deposits. It talked to 1,000 landlords to get the results.

You would expect bags of rubbish or an old phone book to be the top items left in property for rent. But no, rubbish only managed to make second place. The most left items in rental property are in fact "marital aids".

In third place, it's rotting food, both cooked and raw. Disgusting.

The scheme's top ten most left behind items are:

1. Marital aids
2. Rubbish
3. Rotting food, both cooked and raw
4. Furniture or domestic appliances such as fridges and ovens
5. Cats: (editor's note, we can believe this one, the cat never seems to come in when you want it to)
6. Condoms
7. Cannabis plants
8. Dirty nappies
9. Dead animals
10. Pornographic videos

There are some other shocking items left in property for rent that aren't on the list, but certainly surprised the landlords who found them.

Imagine going into a house after a tenant has moved out and finding a dead body. That happened to three landlords. Someone else was left a vial of blood.

Others discovered illegal immigrants hiding in the property. And another discovered a glass eye... he thought it was a joke and threw it in the bin. But the tenant, who had moved into a new property for rent, rang up later and asked if it had been found!

Pairs of false teeth have also been found, together with Nazi memorabilia, and one poor landlord was shocked to find bomb making equipment with a large quantity of fertiliser.

Animals seem to get a short draw from tenants. They were abandoned both dead and alive, and included everyday domestic animals such as cats, goldfish, rabbits and turtles, as well as rats and hedgehogs.

Naturally some dirty tenants also leave bed bugs behind.

But this example has to take the biscuit for the most vicious thing done to a landlord. Unhappy tenants who had left a property hid a kipper in an airing cupboard... it was presumably only found when the smell in the property for rent became overbearing.

A sensible piece of advice for landlords is to meet tenants when they leave the property for the final time. Not only can you inspect for damage before returning their deposit, but you can ensure they're not leaving you a little present - nasty or nice!
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