House hunting horrors: From giant bats to pole dancing

You never know what you might find on property viewings

Handshakes with customer after contract signature

Who lives in a house like this? Whether you are looking to rent or buy a new home, you often end up visiting a few duds before finding the perfect house or flat.

But ugly carpets or dodgy plumbing could be the least of your worries. When house hunting gets weird, it's often the inhabitants you need to watch out for...

See also: Which house would you buy with £1m?

See also: Seven tiny homes that prove size isn't everything

Advice service Propertymark has come up with a list of some of the strangest things to happen to house hunters.

"We hear bizarre experiences from potential buyers and renters all the time," said NAEA Propertymark chief executive Mark Hayward. Here are our top five.

House hunters' horror stories

1. Giants bats

When a group of students visited a house they were considering renting in Leeds, they were surprised to see a large empty cage in the corner of the living room.

Their surprise soon turned to fear when the cage's occupant, a Sugar Glider, or large bat-like creature, swooped down on them from above.

2. Naked oil paintings

When one house hunter visited a property he was interested in buying, he was confronted with naked oil paintings of the current owner in every room.

3. Sex toys

As one prospective buyer was telling the property agent how impressed they were with a house, they were horrified to discover what they thought were condiment sets in the kitchen was in fact a collection of sex toys.

4. Strange Chloe

One unlucky viewer stumbled across 'strange Chloe' as they were being shown around a rental flat.

When they reached the bedroom a hand emerged from under the bed, gesturing for the potential tenants to join them. The landlord's response? "Not again, Chloe!"

5. Pole dancing poles

How you decorate your home can be a personal thing. A very personal thing.

For one house hunter, one of the bedroom fittings - a pole dancing pole - proved a little too personal for them to view the property as their next family home.

Estate agents' strangest tales

Estate agents view properties all the time, so it's not surprising that they too have plenty of weird and wonderful stories about crazy homeowners and tenants.

In many instances, the craziness comes from tenants who don't want to have to move out.

One such tenant - a young lady - always greeted the lettings agent and his clients naked, while another wrapped everything in tarpaulin to prevent viewings taking place during his tenancy.

Homeowners can be just as kooky, though.

One estate agent reports having to conduct a valuation with Darth Vader (his client, in a mask, heavy breathing), while another homeowner from Battersea in London expected her agent to show people round as her collection of around 50 snakes looked on.