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Furnished vs Unfurnished Rentals: What’s the Difference?

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

Fully furnished, part-furnished or unfurnished - the three different options available to those who rent.

Surprisingly, the definitions of each of these can sometimes get blurred - or interpreted differently! So, it’s important to be very clear with the landlord or agent about what you’ll actually be getting with your lease.

What are the pros and cons of each? Let’s clear things up a little. Here’s the difference between furnished vs unfurnished rentals.

What is a fully furnished property?

A fully furnished rental property generally includes all white goods (cooker, fridge freezer, washing machine) and basic furniture (sofa, dining table and chairs, beds, wardrobes, etc.).

Usually, those looking for furnished rental properties expect these items - at the minimum.

Here’s where things differ property to property. Some rentals also include kitchen and bathroom necessities such as vacuum cleaner, crockery, cutlery and electronic items. What is the case in one rental home may not be the case in another.

The advantages of renting a furnished property

So, what are the benefits of a furnished property?

  • Moving in is easy – you only have to pack up your personal belongings
  • It will save the time and money needed to furnish your new home
  • You may have more choice of properties available - there’s an abundance of furnished houses and flats to rent out there!

A property that’s fully furnished generally attracts young professionals, students or short-let and corporate tenants. In short: those looking for hassle-free renting. This is not a hard and fast rule, however.

Of course, the landlord is responsible for insuring every item of furniture that comes with the property, and making sure they meet safety standards - particularly electronics.

The disadvantages of renting a furnished property

It’s not all good news though, a furnished property to rent comes with a few disadvantages:

  • If it isn’t your furniture, it might not feel like home immediately
  • You’ll have to be mindful that it isn’t your furniture and you are responsible for it. Any damage accidental or otherwise could risk a deposit deduction
  • Your rent and deposit could be higher to accommodate the furniture your landlord is providing
  • Council tax exemption differs whether the property is furnished or unfurnished, therefore a landlord may charge you higher rent to cover the cost of void periods
  • You might get lumbered with well-used soft furnishings you’d rather not use, but cannot get rid of. Those looking to let out a property don’t necessarily re-furnish it tenant to tenant

Remember - there’s a general rule for how much a landlord is allowed to charge you for wear and tear. You cannot be charged if it’s considered ‘fair’.

All furniture tires over time, and as its part of the rental package, it’s worth checking the wear and tear before you move in. If required, discuss a replacement with the landlord or managing agent.

Part-furnished definition

A part-furnished rental property usually just includes the white goods. It may include some furniture with the option for it to be removed if it’s not required.

But, what makes a part-furnished property differs property to property. For this reason, it’s essential you check and double check the tenancy agreement to see what is and isn’t included.

Unfurnished meaning

An unfurnished rental property is usually an empty space for you to furnish entirely yourself. The definition of ‘empty’ is sometimes an ambiguous one, however.

For example, an unfurnished may have no furniture in a bedroom, except some built-in wardrobes that come with the property itself.

If you’ve viewed the property and seen that it has furniture in it, double check if it comes with the property. Be sure to request an update of the inventory to reflect what is and isn’t included in your tenancy, prior to moving in.

The advantages of renting an unfurnished property

There are a few benefits to unfurnished rentals:

  • If you already have furniture, you can move it straight in - just be sure to measure and make sure it fits first
  • If you don’t already have furniture, you may prefer to just buy your own bed and take on other furnishing options provided by the landlord
  • Unfurnished properties might be slightly cheaper than furnished ones
  • Tenant’s furniture cannot be charged for if damaged - so wear and tear won’t impact your deposit
  • If you plan on renting for the long-term, making a property entirely your own can be a highly appealing option

The disadvantages of renting an unfurnished property

Of course, there’s a downside to everything. Unfurnished properties aren’t without their disadvantages:

  • If this is your first time renting an unfurnished property, the financial outlay to fill it with furniture can be expensive (part-furnishing might be the best option so you at least get the white goods)
  • You have the responsibility of moving all of your belongings at the start and end of each tenancy. The bulkier your move, the costlier it can get
  • Depending on where you live and the type of property, you may not actually save any money on rent. It’s a misconception that unfurnished always means cheaper

Choice of the tenant - furnished vs unfurnished

So, should you rent furnished or unfurnished? Or, find the middle ground?

The choice is entirely your own, as there’s no right answer for the best way to rent. Consider your individual circumstances. If you’re a student looking to rent, it’s unlikely you’ll have enough of your own furniture to fill an entire property.

On the other hand, those looking to rent for the long-term, perhaps to save enough money for a house, may find unfurnished to be the better option.

Need advice on finding the right rental property for you? Fully research a property and the area using Phil Spencer's Property Report which will tell you all you need to know. From rental estimates, to local crime stats, to local amenities - everything is covered. Get your report here.

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