As a landlord, it’s up to you whether you let out a property as furnished or unfurnished, but it’s not a decision you make by flipping a coin as you need to weigh up the pros and cons of each.
There’s no right or wrong choice or answer, but your decision will be influenced by the type of property you’re letting out, where it is and who your tenants are.
For example, a small city-centre apartment is often best let as furnished as you’re more likely to attract young professionals who haven’t accumulated much of their own furniture yet. A larger family home, on the other hand, is usually best unfurnished as you’ll probably have a more established household, with its own furniture, moving in.
Always check with your letting agent first
This guidance is very broad, so it’s always best to run your ideas past your letting agent before you make a firm decision. Your agent will know who’s most likely to move into your property and can advise you further.
You might also find that your own circumstances dictate whether you go furnished or unfurnished. If you’re working abroad for a year, for example, and you want to let out your home, it might be easier to leave your furniture in situ. On the other hand, if you inherit a property with a lot of old fixtures and fittings, it might be best to clear everything out and start afresh.
What is a furnished property?
There’s no strict legal definition, but in general, a furnished property is one which offers tenants:
- Beds, wardrobes and/or chests of drawers in each bedroom
- A sofa and chairs in the living room
- A dining table and chairs if there’s a dining room
- White goods in the kitchen, including a fridge, freezer, cooker, and washing machine
- Soft furnishings throughout the property, including carpets or wooden/laminate flooring and curtains
Remember, though, that white goods and soft furnishings are expected in an unfurnished let as well.
If you’re letting a property out as furnished, you do have a legal duty to make sure that all of the furniture and soft furnishings meet all the legal safety standards, including fire safety.
You must also be able to let tenants move in and find everything already there for them, including crockery, a TV and even cooking utensils if you’re providing them.
The advantages of letting out a finished property
- As you already have furniture in the house it can save you the cost of removal and storage, which are often high
- You’ll be saving the tenants money as they won’t have to buy any of their own furniture or equipment
- You can charge a little more rent if the property is furnished
- When the tenancy is ended, you still have the furniture (minus any wear and tear)
- If you’re letting out a furnished property in the right location, you can find tenants very quickly
The advantages of letting out an unfurnished property
- You don’t need to buy, insure or maintain furniture in the property (beyond white goods and curtains etc)
- You could attract more mature tenants who have their own furniture and intend to stay in the property for the long-term
- You don’t need to remove and store furniture between tenancies or when you decide to sell the property
- You don’t have to worry about wear and tear and doing a lengthy inventory if there’s less (or no) furniture
Whichever route you decide to take, make sure you’ve spoken to a reputable letting agent so that you know and understand what your obligations are and what you need to provide your tenants with.