While you might expect an ‘unfurnished’ property to contain, you guessed it, no furnishings, this isn’t quite true. As a landlord renting out an unfurnished property, you’re still expected by law and by tenants to provide certain items. The furnished/unfurnished question is important for landlords because it feeds into how to find tenants for your property.
So what should a landlord provide in an unfurnished property in the UK? The answer depends on the type of tenants you want to attract. Our property management experts at Flex Living rent countless furnished and unfurnished properties, so here’s our brief guide on what to consider if you’re thinking about renting out your property unfurnished.
In this article, we are going to discuss :
What is an Unfurnished Property?
You might think ‘unfurnished’ implies that a property is entirely unequipped, but this is not the case. An unfurnished property usually comes with more than just bare walls and flooring; it could still include:
- Built-in kitchen elements such as cabinets, countertops and sinks
- Built-in bathrooms fixtures, including toilets, showers, sinks and fitted cabinets
- White goods such as fridges, freezers, ovens and washing machines
- Carpets or wooden flooring
- Curtains and blinds
The best way to consider what should come with an unfurnished property is those household elements that are built-in, fixed or at least not easily removed. We’ll get into what landlords are legally obliged to provide later, but first, let’s look at the difference between ‘furnished’ and ‘unfurnished’ properties.
Difference Between Furnished and Unfurnished Tenancy Agreements?
To be classified as an unfurnished tenancy agreement, the property usually includes no more than the basics – curtains, carpets and some white goods in the kitchen. In other words, a tenant would have to buy many extras that allow them to live comfortably in your property.
What Should a Landlord Provide in an Unfurnished Property UK?
So, what are you legally required to provide as a landlord if your tenant has signed an assured shorthold tenancy agreement? If you are going to rent out your property unfurnished, you must still provide the following for your tenants:
- All electrical work and light fittings (checked and maintained by an electrician)
- Heating systems, including hot water and electric vs gas central heating
- Kitchen sink, oven and stove top
- Shower/bath, toilet and bathroom sink (free of leaks, clogged drains and mould)
- Any type of flooring
- Electrical wiring system for lighting and power (with an approved EICR)
- Functioning safety systems including smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and working locks on doors and windows
You must also supply your tenant with a How to Rent guide.
Speak with our team today to learn more about our free property refurbishment services
What Are the ‘Optionals’?
The following items are not required by law. However, many landlords renting out unfurnished properties include them anyway. Why? Because they meet the growing expectation that these items should be included and also increase the chance of getting the property rented.
- Washing machine
- Curtains, blinds and shutters
While these items are not legally required for an unfurnished property, they will likely make your flat more appealing to a broader range of tenants who may greatly appreciate the homely additions. By providing beyond expectations, you have the chance to inject a positive, respectful element into your tenant/landlord relationship from the outset, potentially making the landlording process easier moving forward! For further ways to make your job easier as a landlord, check out Flex Living’s Guaranteed Rent scheme.
Do Landlords Have to Provide White Goods?
As mentioned above, you are technically not legally obliged to provide white goods such as fridges, freezers, ovens and washing machines in an unfurnished property. However, many landlords include these items because they may attract more tenants (many of whom now expect these inclusions in unfurnished properties).
If you have supplied a white goods furnishing and included it in your landlord inventory and any type of tenancy agreement, then you are liable to make sure the item works. If, however, you have supplied a furnishing and not included it anywhere in the agreement, you are not responsible for its on-going functioning.
Should You Rent Furnished or Unfurnished?
The most important factor to consider when deciding between letting your property unfurnished and furnished is your ideal tenant’s lifestyle – what kind of tenants do you want to attract to your property. Additionally, you need to consider the ‘cultural norm’ of the location in which you’re renting. Some areas typically trend more towards either renting furnished or unfurnished; you will rent your property out more easily and have wider tenant options if you fit within the trend of your locale.
For example, a family with all their own pre-existing furniture is unlikely to want or need a fully furnished property. Generally, families or well-established professionals will typically seek unfurnished properties where they can add their own personal style through self-selected furniture and furnishings. People looking for unfurnished places may also be more likely to stay longer, offering higher financial security for you as a landlord. So, if these are the type of tenants and benefits you desire, then renting out your property unfurnished could be a better option.
On the other hand, students, young professionals, overseas travellers or even corporate professionals relocating for work may not have their own furniture already and will typically seek furnished accommodation as a convenience measure. For more information on finding your ideal tenant, check out our article on How to Find Tenants.
Remember there are some unique situations where it may be better to rent your property unfurnished. For example, if you live in an area where people tend to have lots of pets (e.g., in rural areas), you might want to ask tenants to bring their own furniture so you can avoid wear-and-tear of easily damaged furniture like sofas and beds. Check out our ‘Can Landlords Refuse Pets?’ blog for more information on your landlord rights regarding renting and pets.
Let Flex Furnish for You
If your property is currently unfurnished and you want to attract professional corporate tenants, get in touch with Flex Living today to learn more about the free property refurbishment service included in our rental model. Our talented design and maintenance team will revamp your property with fresh paint, new artwork, stylish furniture and the latest technology before renting it out on your behalf. The best part? You get to keep all additions and furnishings as your own. For more information on property refurbishment – such as where to buy furnishings – check out our property refurbishment blog.