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Ongoing maintenance and safety

Furnished or unfurnished? That is the question

If you’re just starting out as a landlord, there are lots of things to think about before you sign up your first tenant, and whether you furnish your property or leave it unfurnished is one of the biggest.

While landlords are under no legal obligation to furnish their property, there are some circumstances where it’s the norm and where it could actually help you attract the kind of tenant you want.

Before you decide, here are some things you need to consider:

Your target market

If you’re looking for a long-term tenant or want to appeal to the family market, an unfurnished property is likely to be more in-demand. Long-term renters will want to make their home their own and families may already have their own furniture, so a blank canvas is likely to be their preference.

Some people find it easier to imagine themselves living somewhere if it isn’t furnished in someone else’s taste, so an unfurnished space may rent out quickly plus if tenants are moving furniture in, they’re more likely to stick around for longer to avoid the hassle of packing up again.

But if your property is aimed at young professionals or short-term tenants looking for somewhere they can simply lock up and leave, furnished makes perfect sense. Plus, it saves them money if they’re just starting out and don’t want to have to splash out on furniture.

How much you want to spend

If you’re getting in to the rental market as an investment, it’s likely you’ll want to keep costs to a minimum to maximise your returns, so furnishing your property might seem like an unnecessary outlay.

But if your target market want furnished, you could find you can charge a higher rent for a nicely presented property. So while there may be some initial spending required upfront, you could reap the financial benefits further down the line.

Insuring your furnishings

Providing furniture and appliances does come with ongoing costs, as you’ll need to periodically repair and replace anything that’s past its best, to keep your tenants happy and safe.

You’ll need to budget for insurance too. While you’ll no doubt have taken out Buildings Insurance on your property, if you let it furnished, you’ll need to think about taking out contents insurance too. You’re not legally required to, and your tenants will need to make sure their possessions are covered separately; but accidents do happen, so making sure your furniture is insured could save you money and hassle in the long run.

Making sure your tenants are safe

If you do choose to furnish your property, you’ll need to make sure that all soft furnishings conform to fire safety standards. If you’re using a lettings agent, some might ask you to make sure all electrical appliances you’re including are safety tested, though this isn’t a legal requirement.

Think about meeting them in the middle

If neither furnished or unfurnished works for you, part-furnished could be an option. There are no rules as to what this includes, but a lot of landlords choose to provide essentials like a cooker, fridge-freezer, and sometimes beds, sofas and wardrobes, depending on what the tenant already has.