Sex toys and iPods found in new flats


By Michael MacLeod

SEX toys, iPods, gym equipment and even a new kitchen are among items found by people moving into new homes – because the previous owners forgot they even had them.

Seldom-used vibrators are said to be the most common items left behind in bedroom drawers, according to one of Edinburgh’s leading property agents.

Letting agents are getting so used to finding bizarre objects that they say “nothing really shocks us anymore.”

The weirdest find in 2008, according to Braemore Property Management, was a stash of hundreds of photos of mannequins.

“For some reason there are always a lot of marital aids or risqué toys that people leave behind in rented flats,” said Kelly Cattermole, general manager and head of facilities.

“It’s got to the point where nothing really shocks us anymore when we’re inspecting properties that have been recently vacated by tenants.

“But every now and again, there will be something weird and unusual left behind in a property.

“In the past year, we inspected one flat and found hundreds of photos that had been left by the tenant – each one featuring a shop mannequin.”

Kelly’s staff clean-sweep every property when a tenant moves out, to leave it looking as new as possible for the incoming residents.

But her team often find themselves scratching their heads over the lifestyles of the people who lived there.

Kelly added: “But by far the most unusual one we’ve ever had was in a one bed flat in Edinburgh, where someone left a new kitchen behind when they moved out.

“The tenant wasn’t happy with original units in the flat, so they re-fitted the whole kitchen themselves without the owner knowing.

“When they moved out, they didn’t tell anyone what they’d done and just left it as it was.

“We were gobsmacked when we saw it – especially as the tenant hadn’t asked for any money back for doing the work in the first place.”

Clearing up after residents is all in a day’s work for the company, which is based in the capital’s Dundas Street and has a portfolio of 850 properties worth more than £250 million.

The cost of moving house can be too much for some people, leaving bulky gym equipment to be either passed on to the new owners as a bonus or taken away by the letting agents.

“We also had another tenant who worked for an airline and when he moved out of his flat, he left dozens of bottles of perfume and aftershave behind,” said Kelly.

“They were top name, high-end brands and although he’d bought them cheaply through his work, you would have thought he would have taken them with him.

“We’ve also found quite a lot of gym equipment that have been left in flats when tenants move out. It’s fairly expensive, so you would think that they would want to take it with them, but sometimes there just isn’t enough space in the car or van that they use to transport all their belongings to a new home.

“For many people, it’s far easier just to leave it behind and let someone else deal with it.”