Whether you’ve been providing accommodation for tenants for a while or you’re new to the industry, the type of property your tenants choose to let ultimately comes down to personal preference and circumstance. You may want to leave a blank canvas so your tenants can introduce their own belongings.
If you’re still trying to decide, here’s an overview of the pros and cons of both options to help you make your decision.
The definition of an unfurnished property is one that includes very minimal fixtures and fittings. Tenants can expect to rent a flat or house that includes a bathroom and kitchen fixtures; flooring or carpets and perhaps, properties do often include some white goods and major appliances, such as a fridge/ freezer, oven, and washing machine - although this differs from Landlord to Landlord and if in any doubt should be clearly defined in the inventory.
•Potentially longer tenancies
This is because they will have accumulated their own furniture over the years, so the moving process becomes more involved, costly, and time-consuming for them than those who can move out without having to worry about this.
•Lower maintenance occupants
As they are bringing their own furniture with them, your tenants will be responsible for making the empty flat or house a furnished space. This means that you’re giving them the freedom to set out the property as they see fit and you’re not going to get requests for replacement furniture from them.
•Fewer worries about wear and tear
With none of your own furniture in the property, you won’t have to keep track of furniture that might need updating or swapping out before the next lot of tenants move in.
•No responsibility for breakages
The responsibility for replacements and breakages lies with the tenant. Also, although you could still consider landlord insurance and other types of Landlord cover, you won’t be responsible for insuring your tenants’ furniture and belongings.
Unfurnished properties still require inventories, but these are much shorter than those for furnished properties.
While there are plenty of reasons to choose to leave your rental unfurnished, there are some points to consider that may make you think twice about going down this path. The main ones are:
You are less likely to achieve the levels of rent that you’d get if you were letting a furnished property. This is because you are renting a space that will be furnished by the tenant, whereas with a furnished property you’re renting out the furniture, appliances, and other items, too.
•The different target audiences of potential tenants
By not offering furniture, you’re making your property less attractive to some potential occupants, such as students and young people who may not yet have had the opportunity to buy their own furniture or professional renters who may move regularly for their careers. However, many tenants don’t want you to furnish the property, they have their own furniture and won’t want to pay extra for a furnished property when it’s not necessary. If you agree to remove furniture for a tenant who doesn’t want it furnished, you’ve got the hassle and cost of moving and storing furniture each time you are looking for new tenants
A furnished property provides a home-from-home experience and is somewhere that tenants can move into without having to go to a furniture shop first.
It’s a step up from part-furnished because it includes a bed in each bedroom; enough sofas to accommodate the number of people living there; and appliances, such as a TV, kettle and microwave. It also includes extra necessary additions such as cutlery and crockery, freestanding lamps, coffee tables, and bookcases.
•Charge higher rent
As you are providing a property filled with everything your tenants could need, you can ask for more rent than you would if it were unfurnished. This can be especially important if you’re using the rental money to cover the cost of the mortgage.
•Attract different demographics of tenants
You are probably targeting your property to a different rental market if it’s furnished. From students and young professionals who may have little or no furniture, to those on placements who may want an easy and quick property to let for a short time such as junior doctors and city professionals, these potential occupants are more likely to snap up your property as you’ve made it easy for them to move straight into.
While there could be financial gains and other pros involved in renting out a furnished property, there are some other points to think about:
•Higher turnover of tenants
While furnished properties are likely to attract tenants, the lack of their own personal possessions makes it easier for them to move on. This could mean it’s more probable that you’ll see a higher turnover of tenants.
•The cost of furnishing a property
If you opt for a furnished property, you’ll need to cover the cost of the furniture you add, which can be expensive. Even if you shop for budget or second-hand items, the amount soon adds up.
If you decide to buy low-cost or budget items, to begin with, there is a higher possibility that you’ll have to pay out for new items when your tenants move out, too. However, it makes sense to avoid paying out for premium furniture where possible as this could prove costly too.
•Looking out for wear and tear
You’ll have to keep on top of replacing and updating furniture that’s looking worn or a bit tired. If you’ve had a few tenants in the space of a couple of years, you may find that the sofa is becoming threadbare or the dining table is looking worn, so it’s time to replace these items – and this can be expensive (although likely tax-deductible, so don’t forget to save your receipts).
•The responsibility lies with you for replacing furniture
If items are broken, you will need to fix them or replace them. Your Landlord Insurance may cover the cost, depending on circumstances or you could recommend to your tenants to cover themselves against accidental damage with Tenants Liability Insurance, but you can’t insist upon this. You may invariably end up footing the bill for damaged furniture or end up becoming involved in a deposit dispute which you may or may not win. Either way, it could cost you more.