Landlords are often in two minds about what to provide in their properties when they let them out. Whilst there is no absolute fixed rule on this, as it completely depends on the landlord, the tenant, and the property, there is a simple guide to follow. Generally, in flats and residential lets, the tenants will have their own furniture, so these are best provided unfurnished. Whereas in HMO shared houses or student houses, these are best provided furnished, particularly as the tenancies don’t tend to be as long, so moving furniture in and out regularly can be a pain (and generally leaves at least a few scuffs and scrapes).
We recommend to all of our landlords providing furnished properties, that the minimum they should be aiming for is a bed and wardrobe in each bedroom (along with desks and chairs in the case of student properties) and some communal seating in the living space (usually sofas, but some properties lend themselves more to table and chairs). We’ll analyse the best items to include when furnishing properties.
Previously, a lot of our landlords provided divan style bed bases, as they were generally cost-effective, but that came with one major problem… DIVAN BEDS ARE RUBBISH! They look fairly unappealing and generally show their price in their durability. We understand as a landlord if there’s a chance you’re replacing an item fairly regularly, you don’t want to be spending loads of money on it, but the catch 22 here is would you have to replace it as often if it was of better quality? We generally recommend that our landlords provide wooden framed bed bases, as they can be easily repaired if necessary by replacing sections, but they also look good and are fairly durable. They do cost a little more, but from a decent supplier, the difference is negligible, when you consider the longer lifespan. We also recommend where possible, including 4ft double beds to maximise space in the room, whilst respecting that no adult really wants to sleep in a single bed. In having a base raised slightly off the floor, certain items can be stored underneath, leaving more space within the room.
Mattresses are one of the most contentious points when considering what furniture to provide within a property. The problem is that as a landlord, you don’t want to be spending loads of money on something that can need to be replaced quite frequently (depending on use and care), but as a tenant, you don’t want to be sleeping on a pile of bricks, or something with no structural integrity. Our suggestion would be to find something that is fairly comfortable, without breaking the bank. We know from experience that this can be hard to do, but don’t be afraid to send items back! If it arrives and isn’t up to the job, don’t end up stuck with a mattress you wouldn’t sleep on. It doesn’t need to be luxury, but if you wouldn’t lay down on it, will your tenants want to?
The risk with wardrobes is the worry that they may have to be replaced regularly, but the same message rings true as with beds, that something of simple design that is built sturdily will generally last. This will negate the fear of having to replace them regularly. It may be that they are slightly more expensive to buy in the first place, but this doesn’t have to be some solid oak antique for it to be suitable. Simply find something of a reasonable price, that is sturdy enough to stand the test of time. We’ve seen wardrobes in the past that were practically built of cardboard! We’re never all too surprised when they last little more than a year before they need to be replaced. The trick is to keep it simple and think of longevity over upfront savings. Some clichés last for a reason… buy cheap, buy twice (or, as we often see, buy annually)!
Desk and Chair:
Although looking good when first entering the room, having a swanky looking office chair in your bedroom is cumbersome and takes up way too much floor space! Not to mention being fairly costly to replace if anything goes wrong. Our suggestion here though is to again consider comfort. Particularly in student properties, these chairs can see a lot of bum time. Would you want to pull an all-nighter in an uncomfortable chair? There's no need to break the bank, but if you pick up a cheap, uncomfortable chair, then your tenant will work elsewhere and feel they aren't getting value for money from the property they rent, as they are using it less and less.
The consideration for desks is a simple one. As long as they are durable enough to last a few years, the quality is on the mark, but what size is right? No one wants a massive mahogany desk taking up 1/3 of the useful space in their room. Where would the room for activities be? Instead, the desk should offer enough surface space to be worked at, without eating into space that can be used within the room.
The only area we’ve not covered here is what appliances to provide in your property. Now, this can be subjective as well. It depends on a lot of factors, as to what is reasonable to provide, but that’s a topic all in itself! So, we’ll cover that in a later blog.
We’ll always welcome any comments on your thoughts about furnishing properties, so let us know what you think too. If you have a property you’re thinking of letting out and would like us to come and take a look, get in touch!