Should I rent my Hampstead property Furnished or Unfurnished?

Posted on June 28th, 2017.

Furnished or unfurnished? This is a common dilemma that landlords the length and breadth of the country face when letting their property. With the Chancellor’s raid on landlords balance sheets, the wear and tear allowance has also been scrapped and exemptions given only on replacement furnishings and appliances.

In essence, it all depends on which sector of the market you are operating in. For example, if you are letting to students or for holiday/short term lets, you have no choice. As for all other types of tenants your property may attract, the old adage of “less is more” seems to make practical and economical sense, in almost all cases. Below are my 5 reasons not to furnish.

1.Practicalities

If you received a call from your tenant late one evening in the middle of winter to say that the boiler had stopped working and need you to get it checked out, that’s not in any way unreasonable. If that call was to say the dining table leg had come off, that would be somewhat irritating.

2.Disputes and Damages
The more contents you include in your property, the greater the scope for disputes over damages and even theft. Disputes at the end of a tenancy are not uncommon and it only takes a poor inventory report to weaken your position if you are looking to claim against any damage that may have been caused. In any case, you will have to meet the costs of replacement in the interim.The other issue is with beds/mattresses.Where the property is offered on a furnished basis, the tenant may request a replacement mattress, for example, on the grounds of personal hygiene or because they have back problems and wish to bring their own bed mattress, therefore you now have to arrange for disposal of the existing one.

3. Council tax Exemptions

Some local authorities, not all, give landlords a council tax “holiday” during void periods- please note, its on the condition that the premises is vacant and unfurnished.

4. Tenants who have their own furniture

Should you find a tenant who has his/her own furniture, its also likely to be half way decent, therefore expect a request to remove the items you have in situ. Depending on the age, quality and condition, you will either have to pay to store it somewhere safe if you don’t have a facility, donate it to a charity or if its seen better days, have the local authority collect it for a nominal fee. In most cases, tenants who supply their own furnishings tend to be well established and will look to put some roots down wherever they move to. The likelihood  is that they will move less often, for practical and economical reasons which has a positive knock-on effect for your interests in the property.

5. Cheap Furniture – A false economy

Budget range furniture is quite common in rented accommodation, though the truth of the matter is that it doesn’t last the course and you will end up having to replace some, if not all of it, over time. In a more challenging market, you may find yourself having to accommodate more requests in order to facilitate a rental. Any slight increase that you may charge in rent will be wiped out by the extra expense and hassle you have to go to.