Offering Furnished Lets to Tenants

You can rent furnished or unfurnished properties in the United Kingdom. Investing in real estate and being a landlord comes with pros and cons, and which option you choose will depend on your own investment strategy and preferences, the characteristics of your property, and how actively you intend to manage it. In any case, for those property owners who choose to let their properties furnished, it is worth looking into how to do it in a way that truly adds value. 

Furnished vs Unfurnished Rental Properties

It is important to take into account what it means to rent a property furnished or unfurnished since there can be a lot of variation between the two. To begin with, letting an unfurnished property does not simply mean providing the building’s bricks and mortar.

To make their properties habitable for tenants, landlords must provide them with the essentials. Ensure that the kitchen, bathroom, and flooring of the property are sufficient and appropriate. After this point, property owners can begin to use their discretion.  

Despite advertising their property as ‘unfurnished’, many landlords include additional furnishings for their tenants. Unfurnished properties are often equipped with ‘white goods’, which include items like: 

  • Dishwashers 
  • Washing machines 
  • Dryers 
  • Fridges 
  • Freezers 

It is common for larger family homes to be rented without white goods, however, properties targeted at students, young professionals, or short-term lets will almost certainly require white goods to appeal to their target markets. White goods are rarely owned by tenants, especially those who rent for short periods, and will want to avoid the hassle of having to move them from one property to another. 

Additionally, landlords may choose to include certain softer furnishings in their properties to make them more attractive to prospective tenants. Blinds or curtains are often provided by landlords for their properties. It is also possible to include smaller items like mirrors and additional kitchen and bathroom fixtures. This is entirely up to the landlord and does not constitute furnished accommodation

A property can be furnished, part-furnished, or unfurnished without there being a legal definition. His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs recommends:  

“To be classed as furnished, the property must comply with the Stamp Office definition of “furnished”, meaning that the tenant can move into the property without having to take with him any furniture at all. The property should therefore contain as a minimum such items as a sofa, one or more beds, plus a dining table and chairs, a cooker, carpets, curtains, and other white goods in the kitchen. If the property only contains curtains, carpets, and white goods in the kitchen, this would not be classed as a furnished property.”  

The Benefits of Letting a Furnished Property

There is often a higher capital outlay and increased maintenance costs associated with renting a furnished property. In light of this, you may wonder why a property owner would let a furnished property.  

Property owners who choose to let their properties furnished are primarily targeting a particular market segment that may be underserved in their local area. For successful young professionals, corporate tenants, overseas tenants, short-term tenants, and those seeking a closer place to live during the week, furnished rentals can be highly appealing. Tenants who live in fully furnished properties often pay a premium. It is possible for landlords to unlock new markets and achieve potentially more profitable rents by letting their properties as fully furnished.  

Having a furnished property to rent means that tenants won’t have to spend time and money furnishing a property when they move in. In addition to providing additional flexibility, it also saves time, which is greatly appreciated. Landlords provide tenants with additional furnishings as part of the tenancy agreement, which is compensated for through higher rents.

Choose the right market for your rental property

Knowing your target market is crucial to renting out a furnished property. In other words, the tenants you want to live in your property. There will be a significant impact on the type and quality of furnishings required in the property depending on your target market. 

As a result of their short-term nature, holiday lets, for example, allow for more expressive and characteristic furnishings. Furnished student accommodation, on the other hand, will require more basic and replaceable furnishings because of the wear and tear they may endure.

Choosing The Right Amount Of Furniture for Your Rental Property

If you decide to let a property fully furnished, your next question should be how furnished you should make the property. Your choice of tenants will entirely depend on your goals. The bare necessities may be sufficient for tenants with more basic needs, such as young professionals and students. 

The furniture includes a sofa, table, beds, wardrobes, and a chest of drawers. It will be important for such tenants to make the property feel more like home by putting their own stamp on it. Typically, they are willing to purchase additional smaller pieces of furniture and soft furnishings as needed to equip the property. Adding too much furniture and soft furnishings can negatively impact the property’s desirability and inconvenience tenants.

Conversely, high-end professionals, foreign students, and short-term tenants will expect a higher quality of furnishings in their rented properties. These tenancies often include a wider array of white goods, such as toasters, kettles, and microwaves. 

In addition to coffee tables, TV stands, bookshelves, and bedside tables, foreign students and high-end professionals may expect their properties to include additional furniture. Still, they will want to add their own touch to the property, so they are unlikely to want more personal items such as artwork, cushions, or crockery. Unlike short-term rentals, which require a fully habitable property on day one, long-term rentals do not require this. 

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