I'm not sure whether to let my property furnished or unfurnished - what are the pros and cons?

Question

I’m not sure whether to let my property furnished, unfurnished or part-furnished: What’s the pros and cons of the different options?

Answer

There are many options open to you with regards to how you choose to let your property, and it’s not necessarily as simple as leaving your furniture in, or taking it out! It’s really worth thinking hard about before you make the decision!

Furnished

A furnished property allows your tenants to move straight in, without having to provide any of their own furniture. This is hugely beneficial to many tenants, especially those moving for the first time, or in big cities, where moving large furniture can be cumbersome.

It's not all positive though. Landlords of furnished residential properties used to be able to deduct 10% of net rent from their profits to cover ‘wear and tear’ of furniture within their properties, however this all changed with the abolishment of the 'wear and tear allowance'. This deduction could be used whether ant furniture, fixtures and fittings or repairs were made to the property of not.

The change came in April 2016. Landlords are now only able to claim tax relief when they purchase or replace furniture for their rental property

Relief can be claimed against the cost of purchasing:

• Furniture
• Furnishings
• Kitchenware

Do be aware that even if you advertise your property as fully furnished, you should be open to negotiation if your tenant requests it. They may not require all of your furniture, so if you find a tenant that ticks all of your boxes, do try to be as flexible as you can with regards to what you are prepared to remove from the property.

Unfurnished

As the term suggests, this option means you are providing simply they empty property, with no furniture at all. Many tenants prefer this option, as they will have their own furniture, and will want to make the property their own.

It is expected that floor coverings, basic white goods (fridge, freezers, cookers, washing machines) and in some cases window coverings are supplied, so you should consider finding room for these basics in your budget.

There is also a hidden potential benefit to letting your property unfurnished. In void periods, some councils will give landlords relief from council tax if the property is unfurnished – not the case if it is furnished. This is not that case with all areas, so do check with your local council, but it is something to consider before making your decision.

Part-furnished

This is possibly the most confusing term – it is very open to interpretation!

Generally, you would expect to have to provide all of the basic elements - floor coverings and basic white goods (fridge, freezers, cooker, washing machine) – but also the ‘significant’ items of furniture, such as wardrobes, table and chairs– come with the property, but your tenant will supply their own ‘soft furnished’ items, such as sofas and beds, and electrical items.

This can be a good option if you have large items of furniture that fit well in a property, but do not want the responsibility of having to maintain easily damaged items, such as fabric sofas.

You should also consider that if you have expensive furniture, you might not want to leave it in a tenanted property, but cheap furniture may not last very long – and if the property has been let with the furniture, you would be obligated to replace it for your tenant.

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