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Landlords – to furnish, or not to furnish?

24 August 2020

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As lockdown measures continue to ease, the rental market is enjoying a spike in activity as people are confidently moving home.
So much so, that the number of new tenancies is almost back to pre-pandemic levels and average rents have risen since the last quarter, according to fresh research from The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS).
With an increased appetite from prospective tenants and strong competition for rental homes in the UK, landlords will need to think about how to best present their property. One major consideration is whether to let your property furnished, unfurnished or part furnished.
As it’s one of the most important decisions you are likely to make, here at Balgores Property Group, we outline the pros and cons of each approach.

Unfurnished

The main benefit of renting out a property unfurnished is that the costs are considerably less, as you won’t need to shell out on beds, sofas, dining tables, wardrobes and other furniture.
Research suggests tenants prefer unfurnished properties, as they allow them to personalise their space. And with some tenants likely to rent for years to come, it’s no surprise that long-term renters prefer a home they can make their own, choosing their own furniture and (where allowed) their own décor too.
Even in an unfurnished home, nearly all tenants will expect some ‘white goods’ – for example a fridge, a washing machine and an oven – even though there is no legal obligation for you as a landlord to provide these.
Other, more ‘luxury items such as dishwashers, tumble dryers and microwaves, however, aren’t as common in unfurnished properties unless you are targeting the higher end of the market. 

Furnished

Furnished properties, on the other hand, tend to fetch higher rents than unfurnished ones because they are already kitted out with all the relevant furniture and homeware, saving tenants plenty of hassle and money.
While furnished properties don’t have as much of a wide appeal as unfurnished properties, they still attract a large chunk of the market, particularly among those looking for short-term rents – for example students, young professionals, or foreign nationals based in the UK for work reasons – and those who prefer everything to be provided for them.
Of course, letting to students means your property may not be kept in as good a condition as homes let to families and older tenants. This represents a risk for your long-term return on investment, but on the upside, student and house share tenants are likely to be less fussy about the furniture they are provided with.
Furthermore, furnished properties are likely to experience a bit of wear and tear over time, and landlords will need to bear in mind that mitigation against the risks of this is now no longer so favourable.
If you opt for furnished homes, you must adhere to safety regulations when it comes to soft furnishings (including rugs, duvet covers, pillowcases, sofas and mattresses). Your soft furnishings must comply with the latest furniture and furnishings fire regulations. What’s more, fire retardant labels must be attached to these items, with the only exceptions being those which were manufactured before 1950.

Part-furnished

Letting your home part-furnished is the third option that offers the best of both worlds, but the risk with this is knowing where to draw the line. For instance, how much of the home is furnished and how much will be left untouched?
There is also a danger it could look a bit muddled and confused, potentially putting would-be tenants off. Some, however, will appreciate the halfway house approach, so it’s still worth some thought.
Here at Balgores Property Group, we continue to work alongside the government guidelines to ensure we are helping our clients to let their property in the safest possible manner. For more information on our current operations, please contact us today.
To find out how much your home could be achieving in rent, check out our free and instant lettings valuation tool.

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