Last week we looked at Tenants deposits. This week we are looking at furnishing your rental property.
Should I Let My Property Furnished?
As a landlord you will need to decide whether to let your property furnished, part furnished or unfurnished.
This includes everything – furniture, furnishings, beds, desks. Tenants from different areas of the UK have different expectations of what a furnished property includes so it is wise to make a list of everything that is included and ensure all potential tenants have a copy. You should ensure you have specific insurance for furnished properties. You can also take out accidental damage to cover any damage done to your furnishings by tenants.
This is usually just the essentials – things like beds, sofas, chest of drawers etc. This can be an attractive option for young couples or for those whose reasons for moving are work related.
This does not mean the property is completely empty – curtains and white goods are common in unfurnished properties. You will still need contents insurance, as landlords contents insurance will give you public liability – so if your tenant trips over a piece of loose carpet for instance and tries to sue you, the legal costs will be covered by the insurance company.
When deciding, it is worth bearing in mind:
- Families and long term tenants will usually have their own furniture.
- Young couples are usually attracted by properties with some furnishings, and particularly white goods.
- Laminate or wood floors are more durable than carpet and so are a good choice for long term leases. They are also more pet resistant, if you are landlord who accepts cats and dogs.
If you do decide to go ahead and let your property with furniture, then remember you need good quality and durable items in your property. It is not worth scrimping too much as you will end up with a false economy of having to replace items on a regular basis. Check out sites such as freecycle.org and gumtree.com to look for items you can pick up for free. Auctions and auction sites such as e-bay can be invaluable for picking up good quality second hand items. Remember the items are not for you! So whilst you want them to be in good condition, it is more about practicality and durability rather than being overly stylish.
Check with your accountant or speak to a tax specialist as you may be entitled to claim allowances for wear and tear. This looks to be changing in the near future so it is worth talking to someone who knows the latest updates.
It is a criminal offence to let premises with furniture or soft furnishings that does not comply with the following fire safety regulations: The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) Safety Regulations 1988 and the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993. You can check this by looking for a fire safety label attached to the item. This is particularly important if you are buying second hand furniture. When buying new furniture this is not so much of an issue, as the onus is on the retailer to ensure it complies, but you should ensure the fire safety labels are left attached to the furniture and keep your receipts.Non-compliance could mean a fine or imprisonment and it will certainly invalidate your insurance cover.
NEXT WEEK: Part 6: What to consider when investing in buy to let