Furnished properties mean that all the furniture you need in a property is already there when you move in. As a result, this can be good for tenants who don’t want to deal with furniture for whatever reason.
But what are the costs associated with renting a property in this way? Also, is it something you should be doing as a tenant or not? Read on to find out.
Should you rent a property with it furnished or unfurnished?
In the property industry, there is a debate as to what isn’t profitable for landlords and what is worth it financially. Ultimately, it will come down to the personal risk you want to take as a landlord alongside the cash you have upfront. In addition, the type of property and your goals for the investment are all factors that go into deciding on a furnished or unfurnished property.
Finally, the type of tenant you want to attract is also something you should take into consideration. But before you decide on this and weigh up the pros and cons, it is important to define what a furnished property is so you know what a furnished property should include.
What’s the difference between a furnished and an unfurnished property?
A furnished property is a home that has the necessary furniture in it before a tenant moves in. This can include beds, sofas, tables and other smaller furniture and perhaps furniture with a utility like washing machines. Some furnished properties also make sure there are utilities in the property too like kettles or toasters.
An unfurnished property may also come with white goods such as a washing machine and dishwasher but this is up to the landlord. Other than this, the only thing that would typically be provided would be window coverings like curtains or blinds and the correct flooring. The rest would be up to the tenant.
What should you include in a furnished property?
For a list of the items you should include in a furnished property, you can look at the list below that goes over the contents commonly included in a furnished property in general. If any of these items are missing from a property then it may be considered unfurnished or partly furnished and this should be made clear in the advertisement of the property.
- Oven, washing machine and fridge
- Dining table
- Dining chairs
- Sofas in the living room
- Wardrobes in the bedrooms
- Chest and drawers and cupboards in the bedrooms
- Lamp shades and light fittings
- Curtain and or blinds on the windows
- Carpeting or flooring
- Garden furniture
However, you should be reasonable with these items. For example, a tenant with a property that doesn’t have enough wardrobe space may find the property is in fact furnished but the furniture just isn’t up to scratch with their lifestyle choice. In this case, it would be the tenant’s responsibility to add to the property and buy additional furniture as they require it.
What does a part-furnished property mean?
Part-furnished properties include all of the most basic types of furniture in a property. This definitely includes beds and sofas and maybe tables, chairs and wardrobes.
A property must be advertised as part furnished if it is missing some of the main furnished requirements for a property such as white goods or garden furniture. Being transparent with tenants as a landlord is the best thing you can do because without doing so you could leave a tenant disappointed with the property when they eventually visit.
On the other hand, it may be the case that a tenant is taking their furniture from their old property so they won’t mind or in fact prefer a part furnished or even an unfurnished property, to begin with.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of furnished properties for tenants?
So, you are deciding to move into a property as a tenant but aren’t sure whether a furnished property is a right decision as you look for a property to move into. The following pros and cons of furnished properties are listed and explained to clear things up.
Pros of furnished properties
The main reasons are it saves time and money. Making things especially convenient for the tenant who wants to move in for a short term rent and with little headache.
Saves money on buying furniture
First of all and most importantly, the cost of moving into a furnished property may be less than if you were to move into a property you had to buy all the furniture for as a tenant. This means you can get busy saving for whatever else you need.
Nonetheless, the rent may be priced higher to compensate for this as a result.
You can move with little moving costs
Moving in with little moving costs happens because a tenant doesn’t have to move around a lot of furniture they own. When a tenant doesn’t have much to take with them they can shift from property to property perhaps in different parts of the UK or even internationally with little resistance.
This would very much suit the tenant who likes to live without owning a lot of items and who is perhaps younger and without much responsibility.
Ideal for those renting short term
If you are renting short term, chances are you wouldn’t want to get properly set up in a property with the most personalised furniture and the most optimal setup for your life. Making do with standard furniture bought and owned by the landlord would make things suitable for the short-term renter.
As an example, if there was a younger, perhaps recently graduated student who wanted to travel to the UK for an internship where they will be renting an apartment for a small period of time, they wouldn’t want to worry about buying new furniture.
Finding a property with furniture already built-in is the best way to keep things simple for the tenant, saving them time, which brings things nicely to the final point.
Saves time for those needing to get settled in quickly
Saving time in moving into a property is a valid concern for those who do not want the hassle and don’t mind paying the extra costs for a landlord to provide them with furniture.
Cons of furnished properties
Renting out a furnished property is not something that is always beneficial. So here are the drawbacks of renting a furnished living space. Higher rents and perhaps cheaper, impersonal furniture choices are all things you have to worry about as a tenant.
Higher rent payments
Because of the added investment a landlord must make by bringing in furniture for the tenant, they have to then charge more for the rent as a result. This is because the landlord would make their money back over time. Ensuring that the property pays for the furniture costs through rent payments made.
Furthermore, furnished properties may also require higher security deposits too to cover the furniture costs which the tenant would have to pay in addition to the higher rent.
In general, it is not always the case that unfurnished properties are that much cheaper than furnished properties so you would have to look at each property individually.
More reasons for a deposit to be kept
Renting furnished property means there are more things that are able to be damaged by the residential tenant. As a result, the damaging of furniture may warrant the landlord to keep a tenancy deposit.
Therefore, if you feel you don’t mind buying your own furniture so you can treat the furniture how you want and not have to worry about keeping it in good condition. Renting a property that is unfurnished, to begin with, may be the right choice for you.
More reasons for dilapidations to be enforced
Like the previous point of a deposit being kept, dilapidations may also be given to tenants who are in a lease where furniture has been damaged. Dilapidations are fees given to tenants at the end of their tenancy agreement if the property isn’t left in the same condition at the start of the tenancy.
This means the tenant has added risk in a furnished property as they would have to take better care of the furniture to make sure they aren’t given a fee when they leave.
Furniture is impersonal
Moving into a property with furniture already in it means you cannot style the property to your exact taste. In addition, you run the risk of discovering that furniture is cheap, uncomfortable or not sufficient for your needs if you don’t observe all these things before moving in.
All in all, the chances that a landlord would get everything right, especially if you are particularly choosy about the furniture in the space you are renting is pretty slim. Your property may therefore look more like a furnished holiday let or hotel rather than a home.
Overall, is a furnished or an unfurnished property best for tenants?
When looking at the pros and cons and considering the main reasons that tenant chooses a property, the answer lies in whether you think the time, money and additional responsibility you’ll acquire spent buying furniture makes up for being able to live in a more personalised space and is relative to the rent you would be already paying for the property.
As a result, the tenant’s financial situation should be looked at in detail as the decision to rent a property furnished or not varies widely depending on the type of tenant involved.
Also, the time of year and the economic climate can also impact your decision. If you are already impacted by a lot of competition in the marketplace and the cost of renting is already high then renting an unfurnished property and taking on more costs to furnish a building may actually do more harm than good.
Pros and cons of renting furnished properties for landlords
For a landlord, the list of pros and cons of renting out a furnished property is a bit more simple. But it is still a big decision you have to make.
As a landlord, the decision to buy furniture before you begin renting out a property or not determines quite a lot. It introduces you to a different type of tenant and also influences the rent you must charge to cover costs.
What are the benefits of renting furnished properties?
The below reasons mainly relate to the finances involved in a tenancy because furniture is a big cost in the setting up of any building.
Landlords insurance may protect your furniture
If you have landlord’s insurance in a property, the advantage of this is you won’t have to pay for damages or wear and tear of furniture in the property. This means the landlord may as well buy as much furniture as they want if it is covered in their insurance policy.
You can charge a premium on the amount of rent you pay
Another advantage of adding furniture to a property if you are a landlord is allowing you to charge a premium on the rent you charge.
It is acceptable for most tenants that if there is furniture in the property, they would have to pay more to be able to let the property from the landlord. As a result, the landlord can add an additional amount to the rent that not only covers the cost of the furniture but also charges for the expertise and logistics of including furniture in a property.
This is emphasised in properties that are especially hard to add furniture to such as the top floor of a flat where the added inconvenience for a tenant to move their property into a building like this may tempt them into paying a higher rent to save them from bringing additional furniture.
Makes your property available to a wider range of tenants
Contrary to unfurnished properties, a furnished property appeals to tenants who are looking to rent for the long term as well as the short term. This is because unfurnished properties aren’t likely to be rented by someone renting for just a few months.
For a tenant like this, the effort to buy their own furniture for them to move out soon would mean they are more inclined to just go for a property that has furniture in it already.
What are the downfalls of renting furnished properties?
Like all things that are good, there are also downsides too. So what should a landlord look out for that could hurt them by renting out a furnished property?
Finding the right quality of furniture can be difficult
If you want to provide furnished accommodation, you will need to consider the trouble of finding the most suitable furniture for the property. As a result, this can take a lot of time and even once you do buy the furniture, you may find that they degrade over time and need replacing.
This is something you cannot find out until you buy the furniture in the first place and have it on the property for a certain period of time. Often finding out the furniture is low quality before it is too late. The most a landlord can do in this case is buy the best-reviewed types of furniture that are the highest quality and made from the right types of materials relative to their price.
You may attract the wrong type of tenants
In general, tenants who personalise their space are more likely to stay there for longer. Therefore, providing a furnished property may bring in tenants who are looking for a short-term lease or are perhaps going to leave in the first break clause of their tenancy.
You can try to prevent this from happening by taking care of the tenant and making sure you always abide by the terms in the tenancy agreement, even when it comes to the small things some landlords forget like providing a how to rent guide. This can encourage them to stay there for longer. On top of this, asking for a rent guarantor if you aren’t confident about the tenant being able to pay rent for the long term is advised.
You will often have to replace furniture due wear and tear
As you may expect, if you own the furniture of a property, the furniture may get damaged over time and if you cannot prove it is the tenant’s fault or you didn’t confirm a tenant is liable for furniture damage in the tenancy agreement, this is an additional cost a landlord has to cover.
Property maintenance will cost more and take longer
Landlords have to conduct general checks on their buildings legally. For example, electrical safety certificates must be provided for all areas of a property and PAT tests are mandatory in Scotland. Consequently, the longer electrical safety checks may take in a property and the more a landlord has to ensure properties are kept up to date.
Should a landlord rent out a furnished property?
Overall, the decision to provide properties for lease that are unfurnished or furnished is a decision a landlord has to make carefully. Evaluating all the risks and benefits as you go along.
How should you insure a furnished property?
As you can imagine, protecting furniture is a valid concern for landlords investing money into their property. First of all, a landlord may find it reasonable to add furniture to cover their landlord insurance or take out contents insurance.
Finally, a way to insure furniture less directly is to include any costs from overtly purposeful damage from a tenant as part of the tenant’s responsibility.
Landlords insurance is similar to home insurance but it also covers additional things to do with a rental property such as rent guarantee insurance within the cover.
It is helpful to think of landlord’s insurance as a conclusive type of insurance representing all the different types of insurance available to landlords.
Depending on the policy, you may have certain insurance types included in the agreement or not. For example, one landlord’s insurance may not cover the furniture in a property whereas the other may cover furniture, fixtures, and fittings and also protect the property from rent arrears in rent guarantee insurance. So seeking out the most relevant insurance for you is essential.
Content insurance is a great way to cover the furniture of your property. This is because landlords’ content insurance directly covers just the contents of a property. This is great if you particularly want to cover the contents of a property if you feel the furniture you have bought is exceptionally expensive.
What is the difference between an unfurnished and furnished tenancy agreement?
In terms of the agreement a landlord and tenant sign, the agreement will not differ that much from a standard unfurnished agreement. Having said this, the agreement will have to include who is responsible for the furniture and the repairs if the equipment was to break down.
For example, it may be the case that it is the landlord’s responsibility to repair the white goods of a property but the damage done to furniture is covered by the tenant. This differs from tenancy agreement to tenancy agreement but in general, the landlord takes responsibility for to wear and tear of furniture within reason.
Overall, renting a furnished property has many details involved. Both landlords and tenants have to consider their options carefully before deciding on a new lease agreement. There are a few legal consequences worth noting on either side so it is not just a matter of adding or taking away furniture.
The quality of the tenant, the amount you can charge for rent and the time and resources involved all come into play to make a decision.