How Should You Furnish A Property To Let?
16th January 2018
When you decide to let your property, one question you'll ask yourself is how to furnish the property or whether you should furnish the property at all. This guide will show you how to furnish your property if at all.
According to the Evening Standard, "About half of all prospective tenants are looking for unfurnished accommodation and furnishing a property does not generally increase the amount of rent you can charge." You can view their article by clicking here. However, there will be several circumstances where you have little choice but to furnish the property. For example, it would be unwise to have a shared student property and expect the students who will be living in the property for as little as 9 to 12 months to fully furnish it themselves and if they do, you should expect costs at the end of their tenancy to remove any goods they can't take onto a train with them when they go home. For most students, there will be ample student accommodation available to them that the choice really is theirs and as such, it may be very difficult to let the property to students if you expect them to furnish the property themselves. However, if you're looking for long-term house sharers, it may be suitable to allow them to furnish the property between themselves. For the most part, however, the market for shared properties especially dictates that they should be furnished.
We can help you source the finest quality furniture at affordable prices for your furnished properties, the furniture we select is specifically designed to be durable and withstand wear and tear to ensure your furniture lasts. You should also keep your eyes open for our tailored furniture packages that will be introduced mid-2018. Alternatively, we highly recommend Ikea for affordable, durable furniture.
In regards to furnishing your property, it depends on who your target tenants are. If it is students, a desk may be essential (especially if you let the property via the university) with a fully kitted out kitchen whereas a professional may only need basic utilities, a bed, a wardrobe and a place to charge their phone whilst they purchase the furnishings they want to make their home their own.
If your target tenants are families, however, it may be wise to leave the property unfurnished as they'll often prefer to furnish the property themselves. You will find, however, many younger families (who may be in receipt of benefits or on low incomes) may prefer furnished properties and will later ask (hopefully) to throw out some furniture so they can replace it; this allows you to collect the furniture for storage for when you next let your property thereby saving you money. In fact, you should also include in your tenancy agreement that tenants should not remove provided furniture without your written consent, in doing so, they will be liable for the costs of replacements. Nobody wants to go to their property to find their expensive furniture has been ruined by the elements because the tenant couldn't be bothered to send their landlord a text.
You can save money by picking up used furniture on websites such as Gumtree or from Freebie sites, at auction and in second-hand shops but it’s better to leave a property unfurnished than fill it with items that are unsuitable so make sure when you do pick up second-hand furniture, it is suitable for the prospective tenants you expect to accommodate your property. You should be mindful of any fire safety regulations and ensure your furniture/appliances are compliant with expected safety standards. Remember, what was considered safe when you were renting a property may not be considered safe in 2018 so it is important to do your homework and if you're in doubt about any item of furniture, don't use that item of furniture to furnish the house. It isn't worth the risk.
There are government and local authority schemes which will provide free furniture to tenants on a low income so, if you're considering letting your property to housing benefit tenants, it may be worthwhile letting them furnish the property themselves. Alternatively, there are furniture rental services available to tenants and landlords but we would advise landlords to not bother with in case the furniture goes missing or is damaged.
When it comes to electronic appliances, you should try to have these built into the mains. Portable appliances (anything that can be unplugged from the power outlet) will have to be PAT tested and will be your responsibility to keep in good working order, to repair and replace the appliances if they break down.
You can’t deduct the cost of furnishing a rental property from your tax bill but you can deduct any expenses for repairs or replacements. Also, from April 2016, landlords will lose their 10 percent “wear and tear” allowance for furnished accommodation, too, so it makes sense to provide only what is absolutely necessary. As such, our recommendation for the majority of properties (except shared houses, especially student shares) is to leave your property unfurnished but offer to provide furniture or appliances as required, if you wish to furnish the property.