Furnished Or Unfurnished? Which Is Better For Landlords And Tenants?

As a landlord, the decision to rent a property furnished or unfurnished is entirely yours to make. It will depend on your needs and priorities, local tenant demand, and what type of tenant you are hoping to attract. Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether to rent your property furnished or unfurnished.

Furnished Rental Property

furnished property

What type of tenant will a furnished property attract?

Furnishing your property will attract tenants wanting hassle free renting. This includes students and young professionals who may have little or no furniture, corporate tenants on short-term placements or tenants from overseas who don’t want the hassle of bringing furniture over with them.

The benefits of a furnished property

  • As a landlord, letting out a furnished property could lead to a higher monthly rental income because tenant will be able to justify spending more on rent if they don’t need to invest in furniture.
  • You may be able to let a furnished property much quicker as furnished properties are more in demand than unfurnished.
  • If you are renting out your property on a short-term let whilst you are overseas you can save money on storage costs for your furniture.

The disadvantages of a furnished property

  • Furnished rental properties can prove more of a worry and a hassle for landlords. This is because furniture will have to be accounted for in the inventory, and any wear and tear or damage done to the furniture will need to be replaced and paid for by the landlord. However these costs are tax deductable.
  • Some tenants can be put off a property if the furniture is not to their taste. Landlords may have to pay expensive storage costs for furniture that the tenants do not require.
  • Tenants are arguably less invested in a property if they are using furniture owned by the landlord, and without their own furniture, they may be more inclined to move on and not stay in the longer-term.

What do I need to provide in a furnished property?

When it comes to furnishing a rental property there are no hard and fast rules regarding what must be provided. However, a standard furnished property would include:

  • A fitted kitchen with white goods (cooker, fridge, freezer and washing machine)
  • A fitted bathroom
  • Sofas and/or armchairs
  • Dining table and chairs
  • Beds and bedroom furniture such as wardrobes and chests of drawers
  • Carpets or other types of flooring throughout the property
  • Curtains or blinds throughout the property

Some furnished properties will also include crockery, cutlery, towels and bedding.

Legal obligations for landlords

Landlords must ensure that all of the furniture provided is “fire resistant”. Furniture should display a permanent label to show that it meets the specified ignition resistance levels. This label should be displayed on both new and second-hand furniture.

The regulations apply to things like sofas, sofa beds, mattresses and even bean bags. Items such as carpets, curtains and duvets are not included.

For more information read our article ‘Landlord’s Fire Safety Regulations and Risk Assessment for Rental Properties’.

Unfurnished Rental Property

Unfurnished Property

What type of tenant will an unfurnished property attract?

Unfurnished properties attract tenants who want to put their stamp on a rental property as well as couples or families who already own a lot of their own furniture.

The benefits of an unfurnished property

  • Tenants who have their own furniture may be more likely to remain in the property for longer, as they have more invested in it. This will reduce voids for landlords and provide landlords with regular rental income.
  • As a landlord, you won’t need to worry about damage caused to the furniture or having to replace an item of furniture. It is also not your responsibility to insure the tenant’s furniture.
  • The property inventory you draw up for the tenant will be less involved and complex than it would be if you had a fully-furnished property.
  • If you decide to sell the property, you won’t have to arrange and pay for the removal of furniture.

The disadvantages of an unfurnished property

  • By not furnishing your property you are effectively making it not as desirable to a large sector of the rental market it generally won’t appeal to corporate tenants, some young professionals and overseas students.
  • Completely bare properties can be unappealing to prospective tenants.

What do I need to provide in an unfurnished property?

Renting your property unfurnished does not mean you leave it completely bare!

Most tenants will expect an unfurnished property to include:

  • A fitted kitchen with white goods (cooker, fridge, freezer and washing machine)
  • A fitted bathroom
  • Carpets or other types of flooring throughout the property
  • Curtains or blinds throughout the property

Part Furnished Rental Property – the middle ground

A part furnished rental property offers the best of both worlds and gives both tenant and landlord the flexibility to reach an agreement about what furniture is provided. This is more achievable for landlords with multiple properties. For instance, you could install a bookcase or shelving, or additional racks in the kitchen. You could even choose to furnish the property in full but without including beds. A flexible approach from the landlord will be received positively by any potential tenant.

Insuring the contents of your rental property

You are not legally obliged to take out contents insurance but you would be well advised to do so.

Not all insurance companies offer contents insurance for rental properties and those that do will commonly charge a premium. You must ensure that your insurance company knows the property is rented out otherwise a future claim could be invalidated.