One question I get asked all the time is – ‘is it cheaper to rent a property on an unfurnished basis?’

Whether the property in question is a 1 or 2 bedroom flat, or a 5 bedroom family house. whether it’s in a leafy suburb of London or closer to the city centre, there is no hard and fast rule with regards to furnishings. Some properties are offered furnished, some aren’t – and it often doesn’t really affect the price either way. Here’s why:

Demand usually dictates whether or not a landlord will furnish a property. In an area where most rental properties are provided furnished, it stands to reason that it’s because most tenants want to rent a furnished property. So, if a property is marketed as unfurnished in that area only a few tenants are likely to be interested in it, and as any landlord knows – if you narrow your market, you risk having your property empty for longer.  That’s not saying the landlord necessarily gets an increase in the rental for furnishing it – just that he would be wise to furnish it in order to be on equal footing with the competition.

According to a recent report published by David Phillips “The Furnishings Index Report – 2015”

  • 50% of flats in the UK were let furnished
  • 32% of houses were let furnished
  • 82% of rented properties within London’s zone one were furnished
  • Furnished properties do not rent for a premium in 24% of Outer London postcodes

Before we go any further – what does ‘furnished’ actually mean? Agents details can sometimes be misleading and usually it is something that would be discussed on an individual basis, but as a rule of thumb:

  1. Part furnished – a few large items (perhaps a bed and a sofa) included in the rental
  2. Furnished – Large items (and possibly some smaller items) in each room. The property will be laid out so that someone can live there without having to purchase furniture
  3. Fully furnished – this can include everything from the large items mentioned above as well as cushions, bed linens, towels, even down to cutlery and crockery in the cupboards

All properties – whether furnished or unfurnished – will come with white goods (fridge, washing machine, cooker, etc.), although there is no guarantee that there will be a dishwasher, separate tumble drier or freezer (ll these are up for negotiation at the time of the offer).  TV’s are sometimes provided but more often than not they won’t be, so be prepared to bring your own, or buy one when you get here.

So – in case you are still undecided – whether to opt for a furnished or unfurnished property should probably be a matter of personal preference.  Do you want your own things around you in your new property (it can certainly make it feel more like home if you do)? Or would you prefer the convenience of being able to simply bring a suitcase and move in? Do you have a personal style which you’d like to keep? These are the questions you should be asking…

And just throw something else into the mix: if you don’t like the idea of having to put up with furniture you don’t like, and don’t want to bring/buy your own furniture either, there is always the option of choosing what you want from a furniture rental company instead. They have ranges to suit different pockets and tastes so whatever your preference, there will be a solution to fit.