Here at Property Go To Girl something we get asked a lot by prospective landlords and those interested in the buy to let market (whether for an HMO in Oxford or a straightforward one/two bedroom let) is whether it makes more sense to furnish a flat or leave it in all its naked glory with just bare wells and floorboards so that the tenant can put their own mark/s on it.
It’s a tricky question actually because it depends it depends on a lot of factors, such as:
Why you should furnish a propety to let
In the pro-furnishing camp the reasons to go down this route include:
Why you should leave a property unfurnished to let
Perhaps a better option would be to opt for a middle ground and part-furnish a flat ie provide the basic necessities such as a cooker, fridge, sofa and dining table etc then allow the tenants to fill it out with their own furniture.
If you’ve built up a portfolio – or are in the middle of doing so – then the chances are you may have quite a bit of furniture spread throughout three or four properties. This means you can move it around at will.
Tips on buying furniture for a buy-to-let
Many companies offer furniture packages for landlords with buy-to-let accommodation (these are more expensive than sourcing your own furniture but handy if you have don’t have the time for the former).
When buying upholstered furniture for rented property (ie sofa, sitting room chairs etc) this must be in line with fire and safety standards, namely the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1983 (updated 1997). You can tell this because the item should have a label declaring this is the case.
Upholstery (covers and foam fillings etc) which conform have been tested and approved for match and cigarette burns and don't give of any noxious fumes when lit. This includes any furniture in a rented flat regardless of whether it is new, second-hand or self-built.
And it’s not only furniture which has to comply. Also covered in the Act are:
Strangely, sleeping bags, curtains, pillow cases and duvets aren’t covered by the Act.
Buying fire-resistant furniture is a must – not just morally but refuse to do so and you could find yourself in contravention of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and on the receiving end of a hefty fine. You may also be banned for renting for some time.
Fire safety and furniture for HMOs
And talking of fire safety, HMOs are a particular focus. Each HMO is expected to have a Fire Plan in place which all tenants should be made aware of. There should also be an alarm system, unhindered escape access and a fire blanket and foam cylinder on the premises (preferably in the kitchen).
For more letting tips check out our website at Property To-To Girl. Meanwhile, what’s your experience of letting in a furnished or unfurnished fashion? We’d be keen to find out.
I'm Jacquie the Property Go-To Girl. I am passionate about property. I love to help people make the most out of their property investments!