If you’re a landlord with a property to rent, you may be wondering whether to provide furniture to your tenants. What are the pros and cons of letting out a furnished property, and what furnishings should you provide? Read on to find out your options and decide which is right for you.
Levels of furnishing
There are, in general, three ways in which you can advertise your rental property: as unfurnished, part-furnished or fully furnished. There are no standard industry definitions for these terms, but there are some basic guidelines which apply. ‘Unfurnished’ means that no furniture is included, but the landlord will usually still provide carpets, curtains and white goods like an oven and a fridge. ‘Part-furnished’ might also include wardrobes, beds, sofas and a dining table and chairs, and ‘fully furnished’ will include everything to make the property a liveable home; you could even throw in smaller items such as kitchen utensils.
The advantages of furnishing
Advertising your property with some furnishings can bring you a number of benefits. Tenants who don’t already own large pieces of furniture such as beds and sofas will actively seek out furnished properties, so you might find that your rental home gets snapped up more quickly. You may also be able to charge more for a furnished property, although the price difference only tends to be significant for fully furnished rentals. Furthermore, there are certain tax benefits: for a furnished property, you can claim the ‘replacement of domestic items’ relief, which gives you a deduction for your capital expenditure on replacement furniture, furnishings, appliances and kitchenware.
The disadvantages of furnishing
Of course, providing furnishings isn’t all plain sailing. Many tenants already have their own furniture and so will only be looking for unfurnished properties, and some tenants will even stay longer in an unfurnished property because they have invested in the appropriate furniture themselves. You should also bear in mind that you are responsible for any furniture you provide. That means that if it gets damaged you will be probably be responsible for replacing it, which could necessitate extra work and expenditure.
Properties that benefit from furnishings
Certain types of rental property suit furnishings more than others, and this can also depend on who you are letting to. For instance, students and groups of young sharers may not own their own furniture and will snap up any property that is even part-furnished. Houses of multiple occupation or properties with four or more bedrooms also benefit from having some furnishings, because of the significant outlay for the tenants in furnishing a large house. Of course, if you are letting out your home on a short-term basis (eg: whilst you go travelling for six months) then you’ll likely find it easier to fill if you let it fully furnished. If you are struggling to let your property, try offering prospective tenants the choice of having it furnished or unfurnished; this might be just the nudge they need.
What to provide
If you do decide to provide furnishings, there are certain basics to include: white goods (ie: fridge, freezer, oven, possibly a microwave), curtains or blinds on all the windows, and bathroom fittings like mirrors and shower curtains. Many part-furnished properties include sofas, beds and bedside tables too, and if you’re letting to students or groups of sharers then you might wish to add in wardrobes, desks and a dining table and chairs. Whatever you choose to include, make sure that all of your furniture is sturdy and easy to clean.
Extra things to consider
Before you let out your furnished property, make sure to extend your landlord buildings insurance so that it covers your furniture too. Your soft furnishings should also comply with legal fire resistance standards, so check them all for the appropriate fire safety label. If you are currently between tenants, check with your local council whether you are entitled to a council tax exemption or discount: this can vary council by council according to whether your property is furnished or unfurnished.
If you would like to let out a property in Bristol, contact Gough Quarters today for assistance.