To furnish or not to furnish? That is the question!
I was asked by a new landlord recently whether they should furnish their property for renting. It is a question I have been asked many times and an excellent one that can only be answered once I understand what the landlord is seeking to achieve from their property. From a landlord’s perspective there are pros and cons for each option, but ultimately the decision made must be right for you to get the right person to rent it.
Should I Furnish my Rental Property?
The furnished and unfurnished markets are almost separate entities in the Private rented sector. It is a cross roads in a tenant’s decision-making process whether to move forward with a furnished or unfurnished property. Generally, their decision depends on their means and whether they are willing, or able, to provide and transport their own furnishings.
Furnishing in the City
The furnished market, particularly in bigger towns and cities, is normally larger than the market for unfurnished properties. This means that a Landlord with a property in the city would be able to present their property to more people by having it furnished and therefore hopefully achieve a shorter time to let. Furnished properties suit a younger demographic of renter, who perhaps don’t have the means or capacity to provide their own items. It is also popular with people coming from abroad and seeking the security of a property with everything they require whilst they settle in to a new country. Obviously, there are other groups of people who consider furnished properties, but those described represent a majority of the tenants we see looking to take them on and represent a huge portion of the rental market.
Typically, tenancies in furnished properties might be shorter given the tenants capacity to give 28 days’ notice (with PRT Leases) and leave with the few belongings they have brought with them, but this is not always the case as some stay for years. When providing furniture as part of the tenancy it creates an expectation in tenants. If an item breaks or is damaged through normal everyday use it should be replaced, which is a more than fair expectation, but it is not always an issue that is in the forefront of a landlord’s mind so is something they need to be aware of when considering whether to furnish it or not.
What Type of Furnishings are Typical for Rental Properties?
With regards to the types of furniture we would expect a landlord to provide here is what we would typically expect:
- Living room – Sofa, Arm chair, coffee table and TV stand (depending on space)
- Kitchen – Washing machine, Fridge, Freezer, Cooker and Dining table chairs (depending on space)
- Bedrooms – Bed, Chest of drawers, Wardrobe, Bed side table(s) (depending on space)
Does Rural mean I go Unfurnished?
In more rural locations, where properties are fewer and far between, an unfurnished property may be more appealing where potential tenants want to stay longer term, provide their own furnishings and make more of a home of the property they are renting. People willing to make the effort to furnish a property are investing, with time, in their tenancy. This is sometimes more beneficial to a landlord, but such tenants usually take a bit longer to find. There will be less maintenance required for the landlord where there is no furniture or white goods which may benefit some owners, but these are the type of things that should be considered when making the decision.
Furnished or Unfurnished – You Decide
As a leading property management agency in Edinburgh; In all cases I recommend that landlords provide the necessary tools for the tenant to maintain and clean the property, even if it is unfurnished. Vacuum cleaner, Mop & Bucket, Dustpan and Brush are important items and failure to provide them can encourage poor cleanliness and maintenance of the property by a tenant. So as a minimum please invest in these items for your property.