Who Steals a Beehive?
The sting in the tail for accommodating apiarists
If such a question were thrown casually into conversation, it would, more likely than not, be met with something of a raised eyebrow. But believe it or not, it is one of the items stolen by tenants who have rented a property. New research by Direct Line for Business has revealed that 30% of tenants think it’s OK to take items that don’t belong to them when they leave. Quite why tenants should think like this is unclear. Perhaps they feel, after renting for a while, that they’ve ‘paid’ for or ‘earned’ the items in question.
The excuses, such that they are, behind this casual kleptomania, range from believing the landlord wouldn’t notice, taking items by accident or forgetting that the item is not theirs. Extraordinarily though, the most popular comment, given by almost a fifth of respondents was that they simply ‘wanted’ to take the items.
A beehive is not the only odd item to have been taken. Coconuts, a rolling pin, a kitchen sink (how did they do that?) fridges and freezers, light fittings and televisions have all gone missing. The average cost of replacing these items by the landlord now stands at a rather astonishing £509 per property.
One fifth of tenants who took items hadn’t even completed an inventory and of those that did, nearly one quarter still went on to remove the items.
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.”
Nothing really surprises us at SLC and we have certainly acted on behalf of clients in some really odd instances. As usual, we strongly advocate robust and comprehensive documentation from the outset and a clear system for referencing and assessing the potential tenant. As this rather startling research from Direct Line would indicate, a complete inventory would be an absolute minimum. That 20% of landlords appear not to bother with one seems rather relaxed at best.
Jo Green, Head of Commercial Operations at SLC commented “Clearly, there are people out there who do not respect the fact that the items they are taking are not their possessions. Quite a lot of them it would seem! At SLC we take both a practical and holistic view of tenants. Naturally, as a legal firm, we like to ensure our clients are as well protected as possible and that means having a suite of documents and systems in place to minimise all negative eventualities, not just light fingered lessees… But, we also recognise the importance of building a relationship and communication. As the institutional PRS begins to emerge, communication is one of the most important elements to the new management platforms; where renters are treated much more like valued customers and a constant two-way dialogue is the norm. We like to think that in passing on our experience to clients, a better landlord/tenant relationship means a significantly reduced instance of conflict. However it manifests itself”