Monday, 18 December 2017

Should you let properties furnished or unfurnished?

IF you’re a landlord needing to keep your property continually tenanted, deciding whether to let your property fully furnished or

IF you’re a landlord needing to keep your property continually tenanted, deciding whether to let your property fully furnished or unfurnished is a decision you need to base not only on your personal circumstances but on the demand from tenants.

“There is no right or wrong answer,” says Richard Chambers, who is the lettings manager at Romans’ Reading branch.

“The type of property and location often determines whether it’s best to provide furnishings or not.

“It’s important to seek advice from an experienced local letting agent before you make a decision on whether to furnish your rental property or not, as tenant types can vary dramatically from one town to the next.

“For example, in towns such as Maidenhead and Henley, a majority of the properties currently available to let with Romans are unfurnished, whereas in Reading 80 per cent all of the properties to let are furnished.”



Another issue to be considered is that, until recently, landlords renting furnished properties could claim a wear-and-tear allowance of 10 per cent of the net rent.

However, the recent summer budget changed all that and this benefit will be replaced with a new version from April 2016.

Before, landlords could claim wear-and-tear allowance even if there had been no actual expenditure, but the new allowance will only enable landlords to deduct the costs they actually incur on replacing furnishings in the property.

The positive news is that all landlords, whether you let a furnished or unfurnished property, will be able to make claims against the new wear and tear allowance.

If you decide to let a property as furnished, you will need to make sure that all the furniture provided meets legal safety standards, including fire safety regulations, whereby all fabric furniture, such as sofas, must have labels proving that they meet this standard.

Also note that if you advertise a property as fully furnished, tenants will expect to be able to move straight in, similar to a holiday rental, with items such as crockery, cooking utensils and a TV included.



The benefits of letting a furnished property:

• If you already have furniture in the house it saves you the cost of removal and storage

• It saves tenants money as they don’t need to buy their own furniture

• You can often increase the rental price if it’s a furnished property

• Once the tenancy has ended you still own the furniture, which you could sell or use for yourself

• Your property may let faster than an unfurnished property, depending on the property type, location and demand from tenants. Seek the advice of local agents on this. For a full list visit our agents index at www.henleystandard. co.uk/property/agents.php



For example...

Pictured above, this attractive converted listed barn in idyllic Skirmett comes fully furnished for £1,350pcm, plus fees.

There are two bathrooms and two bedrooms on the top floor; the kitchen/dining room is open plan, there’s a downstairs WC and the spacious living room has an open fire. A private back garden overlooking open fields, plus parking for two cars, pretty much clinches it.

A spokesperson for local agent Simmons & Sons said: “The barn has features worthy of its listed status and is situated just outside one of the prettiest hamlets in the Chiltern Hills yet within easy reach of Henley, Marlow and the M40 for commuters to Oxford or London.” To let for £1,350pcm plus fees with joint agents Romans, Simmons & Sons, Davis Tate, Chancellors and Granville.



The benefits of letting an unfurnished property:

• You save money as you don’t need to pay for any furniture for the property

• It could quickly attract tenants with their own furniture who don’t want to pay for storage

• If you decide to sell the property, you don’t need to worry about removing furniture

• You are not responsible for insuring tenants’ furniture

• You have less concerns over general wear and tear if the tenant is providing their own furniture.



For example...

This newly refurbished three-bedroom home in Britwell Salome is a conventional choice in a stunning location. It’s available unfurnished through Brookstones Property Solutions for £1,700pcm plus fees.

Access is via a private drive, there is parking for several cars along with a double open garage plus storage/office — and you get a lovely private garden to the front from where to enjoy those views.

Other extras include built-in kitchen appliances such as a dishwasher, a separate utility room and walk-in larder, and an open fire in the living room, which has a door to the private back courtyard garden.



PS What constitutes a furnished property?

There is no legal definition for what constitutes a “furnished” property. However, as a general rule of thumb, if you are advertising a property as furnished, tenants will expect the following items to be provided:

• A bed, wardrobe and/or chest of drawers in the bedrooms

• A sofa in the living room

• A table and chairs, if there is a dining area

• White goods in the kitchen, including a fridge, freezer, cooker, and washing machine, although these items are also expected to be included in unfurnished properties.



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