Should you let your property furnished or unfurnished?
Buying furniture for your buy-to-let property can be a major expense. Should you go ahead, or is it best to let tenants bring their own furniture?
There are no strict rules guiding whether a landlord should furnish property. However, the decision to let a property furnished or unfurnished will make a difference to your chances of finding a tenant and the kind of tenant you will attract.
The positive things about furnishing a property include:
- It saves tenants money, since they don't need to buy furniture
- You may let the property more quickly than an unfurnished property, because (generally) there are more tenants looking for furnished lettings
- When the tenancy ends, you will still own the furniture and can use it yourself, or offer it to future tenants.
The positive things about letting an unfurnished property include:
- Tenants who buy their own furniture may stay for longer periods, since they have made an investment and moving could be complex and expensive
- Tenants may be happier with their own furniture and less problematic for you
- You are not responsible for insuring tenants' furniture or any other items they bring into the property
- You have no concerns over wear and tear to furnishings if the property is let unfurnished.
A third option is to let a property part furnished, which is a term completely open to your interpretation. You could put in everything except beds (since many tenants have their own beds) or you could show the property to potential tenants, offering them the choice of whether to have additional furniture or not.
Ideally, there should be enough furniture that the property looks 'lived in' and functional, but not so much that the place is cluttered. Having too much of a landlords' furniture crammed into a property is off putting.
In general, landlords with larger properties / houses tend to let them unfurnished, since tenants are likely to be older and may have families, along with their own furniture. Smaller properties are more often furnished and attract younger, more mobile tenants.
Furniture must conform to the legal fire-resistant standard - all fabric furniture such as sofas and armchairs much have labels proving that they meet this standard.
Any eletrical items (more than 12 months old) are required to be Portable Appliance Tested, which ensures that all your electrical goods are in good order and are safe.