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Choosing Furniture for Your Rental Property
Furnished or unfurnished, both can offer drastically different experiences for landlords and renters alike, but how do you furnish a rental property? We are here to dispel the common misconceptions behind furnishing your rental property, helping you decide if you should furnish your let, and how to choose the right furniture for your rental property.
How Do You Furnish a Rental Property?
When furnishing and decorating a rental property it is important to keep in mind cost efficiency and longevity in what you choose to decorate your rental with; and whilst these touches may not immediately increase the value of your property, furnishing your property, when done correctly has many other benefits. But, how do you furnish a rental property?
Topically when decorating a rental property landlords favour neutral colour schemes, not only for their universal appeal. Whilst some would argue this could make the property lack any distant character, this can be easily compensated with by adding some mirrors and wall art to your accommodation, which can be done at a fraction of the cost of other furnishings. Choosing these cooler tones will also make the rental far easier to clean and make it easier to identify any damage upon property inspections further into the tenancy.
A similar rationale is employed when considering upholstery items, carpets and curtains. By choosing darker tones dirt, stains and other blemishes can be easily concealed and will easily compliment many areas throughout the property.
Regardless of the exact piece, ensure that the item is easy to replace. This means that if you ever have to make a claim on landlord’s contents insurance or deduct an amount from an occupant’s tenancy deposit then the costs will be simple to translate. Also, whilst we understand that many landlords are of course fond of their investment, personal items or belongings with sentimental value should not be left in rental accommodation.
What Should a Landlord Provide In a Furnished Rental?
Whilst there are no legal regulations or industry definition to constitute what is strictly considered a rental property, homes must still be let out in a habitable condition and tenants have rightly come to expect a few basic amenities. At the very least a rental opportunity being advertised as furnished should include white goods such as a washing and drying machine, alongside an over, fridge and freezer. Furnished properties also typically include beds, chairs and tables along with sofas, wardrobes, draws and cupboards. These expectations are also extended onto the less obvious, but no less important curtains, blinds, headboards, carpets and light installations.
Should You Furnish Your Rental Property?
Whether or not you should furnish your rental property is largely dependent on not only the type of tenant that you wish to attract to your let, but also what similar accommodation is being offered in the area. It is largely accepted that certain renal demographics will simply need to have a property furnished as they will simply not own furnishings themselves, or have the disposable income to do so. Whilst this largely brings to mind students and young professionals, fully furnishing a property for these groups are seen as relatively inexpensive, as they are content with not having the most luxurious and contemporary tastes in home décor being exhibited throughout their home. With this being said, regardless of if you are intending to rent to young academics or larger families there are certain benefits to offering a fully furnished rental opportunity that cannot go ignored.
Providing that the rental property in question in tastefully furnished with a suite of offerings for the occupants, the landlord can place a slight premium on this luxury. It is important to consider that prospective tenants are not simply looking for the basics, with perhaps the stereotypical exception of students, they are looking for a home that will facilitate their lifestyle, and comprehensively catering your rental to this will mean potential tenants are happy to pay a higher rent, if your furnishings are of a higher quality than competing local rentals.
It goes without saying but a property that is more aesthetically pleasing, and offers more amenities will attract a larger pool of potential tenants. Being stuck for choice when choosing a new tenant is hardly a poor outcome for rental property owners; yet when trying to find the ideal tenant offering a well-furnished property could be the thing that gets their foot through the door. Not only will this will this contribute towards minimising landlords exposure to problem tenants, but offer the peace of mind that the occupants of the rental will respect the condition of the rental and return it in a state of good repair.
Whilst unfurnished properties can be commonly associated with longer tenancies, due to the occupants using their own furnishings to make they feel more at home, not to mention to avoid the exorbitant costs and hassle that comes with moving a properties worth of furnishings. With this being said, the same feeling of belonging can be inspired if your furnished rental property offers something unique, and comprehensively satisfies the tenant’s needs.
How Much Does It Cost to Furnish a Rental House?
When deciding on how to furnish your rental property, the costs can quickly add up as you look to stand out amongst other rental opportunities in the area. Of course, finding the ideal furnishings and décor to meet your expectations for the property can be time consuming to say the least, and that is failing to consider transporting and assembling the amenities of your tenant’s future home. Naturally, some landlords seek a more efficient, less labour intensive means to this end, through package deals on property furnishings. However, whilst this alternative method of furnishing a property, whilst convenient, isn’t exempt from shortcomings either.
As comes with many online retail experiences, it is difficult for a landlord to accurately assess the overall quality of the furnishings being ordered. After all, if you are hoping to offer an exception experience in return for a higher rental charge, the standard of these pieces cannot be overlooked. It is also worth noting that the warranty available on these items will vary drastically between online providers and should be checked before ordering, particularly if you are accounting for high amounts of wear and tear.
When bulk ordering furnishings it also essential to remember that these deals are not intended to cater for any specific type of accommodation but rather a one size fits all approach. Double check the dimensions of the available space in the property and envision an appropriate layout with the furnishings being ordered; if it doesn’t detract from the personality or “flow” of the rental then it’s likely to be a great choice. For the very same reasons, landlords cannot to expect these packages to be offering the latest in contemporary taste in regards to interior design, if you want your rental opportunity to offer a truly bespoke experience you will commonly have to pay more.
Estimations on an exact cost to fully furnish a rental property can drastically change based on the dimensions, number of occupants and style of the property; however the costs doing so doesn’t have to break the bank.
Fire Safety Laws
Of course, it goes without saying that every landlord has a duty of care and obligation to uphold safety in their rental properties. To this end, landlords must ensure that when furnishing their property that its furnishings and contents , particularly any items of upholstery, complies with the conditions set out by the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988.
These rulings dictate that aside from a property containing fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms, specific pieces of furniture and décor within a rental property must meet a minimum level of fire resistance. With the regulations applying to chairs, sofas, pillows, throws, curtains, beds and even some garden furniture, all of these items, if purchased by the landlord must have authentication of meeting these standards. Due to this each of the items founds contained within a rental property must display, or the landlord have a record of, the provided labels stating that the piece of furnishing has passed all of the necessary checks fulfilling the appropriate criteria. The furnishings of a rental property must prove a resistance to ignition through cigarettes and matches to be permitted into a rental property.
Of course, if the landlord decides to offer their rental opportunity in an unfurnished state then this would not be of concern, however, for those that do neglecting to abide by these regulations can be a detrimental mistake. If a landlord is found to be renting out a furnished property with furnishings that are insufficiently resistant it will be dealt with as a criminal matter, potentially landing the property owner with a maximum fine of £5,000 per piece of inadequate furnishing, alongside a six month imprisonment. With this being said, the landlord is only legally responsible for the contents of the property they introduce, not the tenants belongings, therefore if the occupants possessions do not meet the regulations, no action will be taken against the property owner.
What Is Wear and Tear?
Naturally, over the course of several tenancy periods furnishings within the property will start to exhibit signs of high usage, or unavoidable damage. This is referred to as “wear and tear”, with anything that falls under this term at the end of the rental period being except from what the landlord is able to deduct from the tenancy deposit. But what is considered a fair amount of wear and tear? Well, this is why it is imperative for landlords to curate an inventory before the tenant moves into the property, allowing both parties to comprehensively document and detail the overall condition of the property and agree that it should be returned in a similar manor. The occurrence of scuff marks, scratches and other blemishes are not to be considered avoidable or malicious damage caused by a neglectful tenant, and are therefore “fear wear and tear.” If however, an inspection at the end of the rental period shows the property to be in disrepair with numerous signs of neglect, the associated costs of repairing or replacing the effected items will be taken out of the tenancy deposit, with the remaining amount being returned to the tenant.
It is not uncommon for many landlords to request and increased amount for the tenancy deposit from the properties occupants, if the renal is furnished. Landlords and property owners see this as a monetary incentive for their tenants to better respect the property and its contents throughout the rental period, as if the excessive damage is found the full amount of the deposit will not be returned. With this being said, I is important to consider that high upfront costs could be deterring potential tenants away from your rental. However, landlords are prevented from requesting excessive amounts, with the Tenant Fees Act 2019 introducing a cap on the maximum amount that can be taken from tenants. The regulations mean that landlords are unable to request move that the equivalent value of five weeks rent when the annual rental charge for the property is under £50,000; if the amount a tenant pays each year in rent exceeds this amount however, the landlord can ask for up to six weeks rent for the tenancy deposit.
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