Landlords and property managers have been reminded to insure their assets following a spate of thefts which included a tenant stealing an entire kitchen from their rental property.
Everything – including the cabinetry, stove top and sink – was ripped out and removed from the rental property, prompting Terri Scheer Insurance to warn landlords that tenant theft is more common than they may realise.
“They say ‘everything but the kitchen sink,’ but in this instance they stole that too,” executive general manager of Terri Scheer Insurance Carolyn Parrella said.
“Until then I’d never heard of a tenant liking a kitchen so much they decide to take it with them when they leave.
“From my experience, theft from investment properties is more common than landlord realise.
“While we do see unusual claims from time to time, such as theft of lightbulbs, taps and door knobs, there are more commonly stolen items too.”
The insurance company cited instances of stolen televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, beds, mattresses and pool cleaners.
“This can be very costly for landlords and leave them out of pocket when they have to cover the replacement costs,” Ms Parrella said.
From 2014-15 to 20150-16 financial years, the frequency of theft claims received by Terri Scheer Insurance increased by a whopping 20 per cent.
To help minimise the financial burden of theft in investment properties, property managers could offer the following advice to landlords:
- Record an inventory of all items in the investment property before it is leased, including make and model numbers, condition and value;
- Keep photographs/video and purchase receipts of proof of ownership for valuables;
- Select an appropriate landlord insurance policy to provide cover for stolen items; and
- Report of any incidences of theft to the police and keep the report number for missing items to assist with your insurance claim.
Property managers are also advised to thoroughly check the rental history of tenants and conduct regular property inspections, particularly before a tenant moves in or vacates a property – making sure to check the items remain in the property.