You’ve got a property and are planning to rent it out – one of the first questions that may come to your mind is: should I rent it furnished or unfurnished? And as (almost) always, the answer is: it depends.

If this question has been plaguing your thoughts on your journey to becoming a landlord, we’ll walk you through the various pros and cons of each choice so that you can make an informed decision that works for you.

What does unfurnished and furnished mean?

An unfurnished property isn’t completely empty – usually it includes the big-ticket fixtures and appliances. However, it is pretty sparse other than that and tenants will often need to bring a lot of their own furniture at their own expense.

If an apartment is furnished, then the landlord provides the necessary furniture to live there and will be responsible for the upkeep of it. Usually, a landlord will keep track of the items in their property by using an inventory that details the condition of each item at the time of move-in.

Each of these options tends to attract different potential tenants. For example, an unfurnished property is more frequently occupied by families who may already own their own furniture or have specific furniture needs (such as a cot) that wouldn’t usually be in a furnished flat. Those looking for a furnished flat, on the other hand, could be people from overseas who have less accumulated possessions or those whose life is a bit more in flux at the moment.

What should a landlord provide in an unfurnished property?

While this can differ from landlord to landlord, often it will include the following:




Washing machine



Other kitchen and bathroom fixtures

Unfurnished certainly doesn’t mean empty! When you create a listing or walk prospective tenants through the property, you should clearly state what is included in the rental and what is not. This ensures that there are no major surprises for tenants upon moving in – whether that’s working around furniture they weren’t expecting or a critical fixture missing that they weren’t prepared to supply themselves.

What should a landlord provide in a furnished property?

A furnished property tends to come with much more furniture and sometimes even cutlery and crockery. Essentially, the property is walk-in ready and can be used immediately be a tenant without them needing to purchase much.

There isn’t a specific set of items needed to be called a furnished property, so it’s important to let tenants know what you’re including. At a minimum, a furnished property tends to include:

A bed in each bedroom

Wardrobes or dressers in each bedroom

Sofa, coffee table and tv in the lounge

Kettles, microwaves, and smaller kitchen appliances

Kettles, microwaves, and smaller kitchen appliances

What does part furnished mean?

Though less common, there is a third furnishing option for your property. A part furnished property is an extremely broad term that can account for anything in between the other two options. For example, it may mean having abed in just one room rather than both or having a sofa but no coffee tables or smaller furniture.

Ultimately, it’s up to interpretation, but a part furnished property will mean you include some of the items, but there’s still plenty of space for tenants to make it their own as well. As always, being clear about what is included is important so that tenant expectations match with what you’re planning to offer them.

What are the pros & cons of renting out furnished property?

If you’re unsure about renting out your property as a furnished one, there’s a lot of things to take under consideration. We’ll run through the main benefits and drawbacks of being the landlord for a furnished residential property so that you can weigh up whether this is the right choice for you.

Pros of a furnished property:

  • Higher rent – According to, landlords can often charge 15% to 20% more for a furnished rental than they might for an unfurnished one. This extra income might be used, in part, for insurance on the furnishing you provide and for upgrading the furnishings when something wears out.
  • Attract a different demographic – If you’re struggling to fill an unfurnished property, it may be that the renter demographic in your area is looking for furnished properties. If your property is surrounded by students and young professionals, they’re usually looking to let for shorter periods and enjoy renting a property with some furniture supplied.
  • Money saving – If your property already has furniture in it, you’ll save money renting it out as is rather than paying to have the furniture removed. The furnishing can be re-used for a new tenancy once the old one ends, so you’ll have them for the long term.
  • Rent out faster – Generally, furnished properties tend to be rented out faster. In cities in particular, they tend to be a bit more popular. If you’re looking to fill a property fast, offering furnishings may help.

Cons of a furnished property:

  • Higher turnover – Because the tenants do not have as many large personal possessions, it is easier for them to move out to other properties. As such, you may see a higher turnover than there would be in an unfurnished property.
  • Costs – If you don’t already have furniture, there’s the cost of acquiring it. Once the furniture is in place, you’ll be responsible for fixing or replacing them when normal wear and tear occurs. This may be tax deductible, but it’ll still cost so make sure you have a budget for furniture upkeep and consider taking out insurance.
  • Inventory management – When you take on a new tenant, it’ll take a little more admin if you’re furnished. You’ll want to walk through the property and take note of what items are in the flat and what condition they are in. Having this inventory and getting a tenant’s signoff on it will help you should a tenant damage anything beyond the usual wear and tear.

What are the pros & cons of renting out unfurnished property?

If you have a property with no furniture or have furniture that you’re not sure is right for a rental space, here’s the pros and cons of renting out your property unfurnished.

Pros of renting out an unfurnished property:

  • Longer tenancies – Since these tenants come with all of their own furniture, moving is a big expense for them and a lot more time consuming. Therefore, it’s likely that they may stay longer than those who don’t have large items to move from place to place.
  • Lower maintenance – You don’t need to keep track of as much property inventory or furniture wear and tear. If you provide major fixtures such as the refrigerator, you’ll still be responsible for that maintenance, however you’ll be off the hook for any furniture upgrades or fixes.
  • Fewer costs – If the property isn’t furnished already, your upfront costs will be lower as you won’t need to purchase any furnishings. If you eventually decide to sell the property, you won’t have any costs to clear it either.
  • Less deposit issues – With less items that are yours, you’ll hopefully run into less reasons to try and hold onto deposit money from tenants. When tenants do damage your possessions, it can be quite a hassle to get deposit money to cover it, so having less of your items in the flat reduces the chances of ever needed to go through that process.

Cons of renting out an unfurnished property:

  • Lower rent – Since the tenant is only renting out the physical space and isn’t also renting furniture, appliances and décor, the rent tends to be lower. This means you might not earn as much from the rent you charge.
  • Narrower market – The property may be less attractive to certain markets such as students or young professionals who have not had the chance to accumulate furniture yet. However, you may be opening to young families who haven’t had a chance to get on the property ladder themselves yet.
  • Move in risks – With each new tenant, there’s the extra risk of damage to walls, door frames and floor as large items get moved in and out. While the tenant wouldn’t intentionally bump the walls or scratch the paint when moving in their bed or wardrobe, there’s always a chance that accidents happen.

What is the difference between furnished and unfurnished tenancy agreements?

Fundamentally, the tenancy agreements will still be very similar. It will still lay out the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant.

A furnished tenancy agreement may have more specifics around who is responsible for the upkeep of furnishings, about the timeframe in which tenants can dispute the inventory and have more details around inspections.

It’s important to remember though that reasonable wear and tear to furnishings, fixtures and anything else you provide is allowed and your tenancy agreement cannot indicate otherwise.

What are the safety standards of furnished & unfurnished properties?

As a landlord, there are certain safety tests you’ll have to carry out such as annual gas safety checks and electrical safety tests for sockets and lighting fixtures. Though it is not required, some landlords will also test the water for legionella as part of their duty of care to tenants.

If you offer a furnished property, you’ll also need a portable appliance test on any electrical goods you provide such as a toaster, kettle or microwave to ensure they are in working condition. Any furniture you provide will also need to meet flame resistance standards. This is shown by a label on the furniture that proves they meet this standard. Be sure you don’t remove this label otherwise you won’t be able to prove that your furniture meets the necessary safety standards.

How will this impact tax paid?

Depending on your council, there can be council tax credits for properties that are unoccupied and these often vary depending on whether the property is furnished or unfurnished. Hopefully, a property you’re renting out won’t remain unoccupied for long, but this discount can help if you’re struggling to get tenants in.

For example, in South Lanarkshire an empty and unfurnished property can get a 100% reduction for up to 6 months and a 50% reduction for a further 6 months after that. Whereas an empty but furnished property can get a 10% reduction for up to 12 months. The percentages may vary by council so it’s worth asking your local government what their rules are.

If you rent out a furnished property, you can also claim tax deductions for certain expense related to your furnishings such as the cost of insuring them and the cost of fixing or replacing them. This process is knows as claiming allowable expenses and you can read more about allowable expenses for landlords here.

Do I need different insurance for unfurnished or furnished properties?

There are many different types of cover that you might want from your Landlord Insurance. Policies for loss of rent insurance or property owner’s liability insurance are relevant whether your property is furnished or not.

However, you may want additional coverage for a furnished property such as contents cover or protection against damage and theft. Ultimately a furnished property is likely to cost you a bit more on an insurance policy because there are more items to protect.

Find out more about landlord cover with AXA


What’s right for me?

If you’re struggling to decide between renting out your property furnished or unfurnished, there’s a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • How quickly are you looking to rent out the property?
  • How do you feel about the admin needed to get new tenants in? Would you prefer to not do it as often?
  • Can you afford to either buy furniture or get rid of existing furniture in the property?
  • What do you think prospective renters in your area will be looking for?

Ultimately, the last question is one of the most important as having a property type that there’s little demand for will hurt you in the long run. Doing a bit of research on what type of properties are most popular in your area may be the most useful information for making this decision. If you’re struggling to find those details, a local letting agency may be able to assist you.

Protecting your property if you opt for a furnished rental

After weighing the pros and cons, if you’ve decided to furnish your rental property we have a few tips for protecting your property:

Carry out tenant reference checks

Tenant referencing is a landlord’s way of finding out information about a prospective tenant. A tenant reference involves a number of checks and verifications to help landlords decide whether a tenant is suitable for their property. There’s no way to guarantee you won’t face any problems during your tenancy, however carrying out a thorough tenant reference check is good place to start and will help you avoid rogue tenants.

Charge a security deposit

The cap for this varies slightly depending on where you live, but in England the maximum you can charge is 5 weeks’ rent. Charging a deposit and then putting it in a protected third-party scheme means that you and your tenants have protection should their be a dispute when they move out. If tenants were to damage your property, all or a portion of their deposit could go towards fixing the damaged property so that it doesn’t come out of your pocket.

Carry out property inspections

Once you have tenants living in your property, one of the easiest ways to make sure they’re following the rules set out in your tenancy agreement is to schedule regular inspections. You cannot drop by unannounced, so these will have to be pre-arranged with your tenant, but it will give you peace of mind to check in with the property and your furnishings and ensure they are still in good condition. Often, landlords will carry out an inspection once a quarter or slightly less.

Get the right insurance

While home insurance and landlord insurance sound similar, they’re classed differently because landlords receive an income through their rental property. Though both types of insurance will protect you if there’s damage to the building, your home insurance may not cover you if the property is let out to tenants.

If you let out your property to tenants you may need more than just home insurance. You’ll probably find that many of the buy-to-let mortgage lenders will insist you have a valid landlord insurance policy before you start renting out your property. Find out more about the difference between home insurance vs landlord insurance here.

AXA landlord insurance from £174*

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