New research has revealed the strangest items tenants have left behind in rented homes, including bottles of urine and even their own pets.

Direct Line business insurance conducted the research by interviewing landlords about the items left behind by people once their tenancy is up.

In total 500 were surveyed between October 31 and November 7, 2023, discussing the most commonly left behind items and unusual occurences.

For those who have been left clearing up after their renters, rubbish was the main headache (63%), followed by general junk (56 per cent), clothes (42%) and kitchenware (38%).

The strangest items left behind by tenants

Alongside the most commonly left behind items, landlords were also asked about the strangest ones, which included:

  • Adult toys
  • the ashes of a relative
  • bottles of urine
  • a casket
  • underwear
  • a BMW
  • pets, only some of which were alive

Direct Line added: "There are strict rules relating to what a landlord can and can’t do with property that is left behind by tenants.

"Yet 32 per cent of landlords surveyed didn’t have a clause in their tenancy agreement relating to the disposal of tenant belongings that have been left behind and only half (52 per cent) were clear on the correct procedure to follow should this happen."

Sarah Casey, Landlord product manager at Direct Line business insurance said: “Landlords often face the grim task of clearing up and trying to reunite ex-tenants with their belongings after they’ve moved out, a task which can be both time-consuming and costly.

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“Ensuring that your tenancy agreement has a clause relating to the disposal of items left behind by tenants is a great first step to ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

"Trying to track down ex-tenants after they have moved out can be tricky, so make sure that you have their contact details should you need to contact them after the tenancy has ended.

“As with most things in life, prevention is better than cure. Make sure that you use a good tenant referencing system to help prevent problems and ensure that you or a representative attend the check-out inspection on the day tenants move out.”