Q. I’ve just completed on a family home and have decided to keep my one bedroom flat for investment purposes. Having never rented anything out before I’m a little confused as to whether I let it furnished or unfurnished. I’ve had conflicting advice from friends and family so far. Can you advise?
A. The answer depends on many things actually. Certainly location plays a large part. In town the type of tenant broadly speaking tends to be young professionals and singles who will almost always want furnished. However, I have noticed that tenants relocating from overseas tend to require unfurnished, as places like the USA and Australia for instance never usually furnish properties so tenants from those parts of the world have usually had to acquire all their own furniture so often want to continue in that fashion when they move to the UK, I have to say from experience that 90% of my tenants require furnished so I would always advise Landlords that prefer to rent out unfurnished to be flexible as in the long run a little furniture can ensure that you prevent any long void periods on the property which in turn will secure your profit on your investment. Remember too, if you do provide furnished you have an obligation to ensure everything is in good order and good condition as well as compliant with fire regulations. Landlords are required to provide fire-safe furnishings, such as sofas which must have fire retardant foam. I think my main advice is to be open to compromise, for instance if you would prefer to let the property unfinished maybe get your agent to advertise offering both options furnished/unfurnished and see what comes in first. You may even find that tenants who want furnished ask for certain items are removed, like for instance the kitchen things, again it’s all about being flexible, and for the right tenant its worth having a little bit of disruption at the onset to ensure the property is rented out swiftly and to the right type of tenant that is going to look after the property. Do make sure you take out some Landlords insurance particularly if the property is furnished so that any accidental damage will be covered. Rent wise I have never found any difference in price either way.