Rental properties can be offered with or without furniture. Landlords make a personal choice on how to let, there are no real rules or guidelines which help them decide.
Smaller properties: studio flats, 1 bed and some 2 bed flats are more commonly furnished. These homes are often rented by first time renters, fresh out of the parental home or education, with few belongings and furniture of their own. So it makes sense for landlords to furnish the properties to attract more renters, who won’t have the additional cost or effort of getting their own furniture.
Prices are usually a little higher for furnished properties. This more reflects convenience and additional costs such as insurance for that furniture that the owner must take out, aswell as actual purchase costs.
Levels of furnishing aren’t uniform. Some properties will have just basic furniture for each room – all the large pieces, including beds, wardrobes, tables, chairs and sofas. Other landlords choose to include crockery, cutlery, glassware and soft furnishings such as bed linen, pillows and cushions.
Should you see a property you like and it’s only part furnished, you can request that the landlord adds extra items which you don’t wish to purchase yourself. Mostly they will oblige or ask for a small extra amount on the rent to cover some of the cost.
Do you have your own furniture? Still visit properties that are furnished – you can ask the landlord to put their furniture in storage and move your own in. Not every landlord will say yes, however you can always offer to pay for the storage yourself – rates are more reasonable than you would imagine.
Should a property you rent come furnished then all the items must meet British Standards for fire resistance. In addition ask if the landlord has carried out a PAT (portable appliance test) of the electrical devices (toasters, kettles, microwaves, lamps..) in the property. While this is not a legal requirement, it gives you confidence that appliances are safe – so ask for one before moving into a property fully kitted out with all appliances.
Larger properties and more expensive rental properties often come unfurnished. With a bigger home, owners assume that the renters will want to put their own personal touch on the home and bring their own furniture or buy new pieces. As more expensive properties are usually rented by older tenants, the assumption is they will have collected furniture previously and will want to bring their own.
Commercial landlords who own large rental property portfolios (especially the large London property estates like Portman, Howard De Walden, Grosvenor and Cadogan) rent their properties completely unfurnished. These large landlords will not take requests to furnish their properties if you ask for that. Only a small percentage of private landlords will furnish a property at your request, instead they prefer to rent furniture for a year and charge you, or suggest you do this yourself.
Some landlords will offer an option of furnishing or not. Letting agents often push owners to do this as it increases the audience for the property significantly. Be aware of a higher rental cost or one off fee if the property is furnished. If there is no additional charge for furnishings ask for a discount on the rent if you take the apartment furnished.