Letting Lessons: Furnished or Unfurnished?


If you’re looking to let property in York you’ll know what a great opportunity this it, but that there are a few questions to answer before getting started.

As a landlord, one big question is how much furniture—if any— your property will come with.

To help you choose between letting a furnished or unfurnished property, we’ve put together this guide.


What do we mean by furnished and unfurnished?

decorative vases in an apartment

These terms have no legal definitions, but they do mean something similar to most landlords and tenants.

Unfurnished typically means a property with the bare essentials. This includes carpets, curtains, lights and possibly a few kitchen appliances like a fridge freezer, cooker and washing machine. Though it’s good to clarify which white goods are provided as unfurnished doesn’t guarantee this.

Part-Furnished includes the above, as well as some basic furniture like beds, wardrobes, chairs and a dining table. However, there’s no guarantee of any soft furnishings like sofas. Part-furnished can vary between properties so we suggest our landlords discuss what furnishings others in the same area are offering in order to be competitive. Generally, tenants don’t expect a lot of items with part-furnished properties, but white goods are usually presumed to be included.

Furnished/Fully Furnished will typically come with everything you expect from a home. This includes white goods, soft furnishings, appliances, storage and so on. For many students furnished is the preferred option and a lot of young professionals of York will also opt for furnished over unfurnished. This is mainly for the convenience of having essential home items already available and not having to worry about buying a whole home’s worth of furniture when renting.

Your property should meet the above definition of ‘unfurnished’ as a bare minimum. The furniture you add beyond that depends on who you want to let to.

Whatever furniture you have in your property, it must conform to fire safety regulations. Typically this means it has some kind of label saying it meets the regulations. 

You can read more about fire safety in UK properties here.


Who are you targeting with your property?

man holding binoculars

The location of your property will—to an extent—determine who lives in it. If you’re close to a university or college, your property will be highly attractive to students. If you’re near schools, nurseries or transport links, families and professionals will also be interested in your property.

The key with letting is to have a clear idea of who you want to let to.

This is because your target audience has a big influence on your furnishing choices.

If you want to let to students, for example, you will want to let a furnished property to maximise your prospects. Students will have limited disposable income and little essential furniture (like sofas and beds) they can bring with them. As such, furnished properties will be much more attractive to student tenants.

In contrast, a professional family will be more settled and have more furniture to hand. Fully furnished properties won’t be attractive to them because they may have to sell furniture, or put it into storage. If you’re targeting families, focus on the bare essentials and furniture that’s expensive or difficult to move. Depending on similar properties in the area you can consider unfurnished or part-furnished.  

If you’re letting an apartment in a busy urban area, you may want to include as much furniture as possible. This is because these properties will be highly attractive to young professionals, who want as little friction with their property hunt as possible.

These professionals may only need an apartment for a short time, making furnished properties the only viable option.


What are the pros of furnished properties?

room with bed, sofa and chest of drawers

In the short term, furnished properties can save tenants money as they don’t have to worry about sourcing and buying furniture. However, furnishing a property also means you can charge them a higher rent.

Since furnished properties are popular in certain areas, this helps you get tenants into them very quickly. This in turn could cut down on void periods (lengths of time without any tenants renting).

Furnishing a property can also make it more attractive to potential renters. By seeing a liveable space rather than bare carpets and empty rooms, it’s easier for potential tenants to see themselves living in that particular property.

Renting can be highly emotive so providing a homely feel can be the difference between a rented out and empty property.


What are the cons of furnished properties?

person with empty wallet

If you furnish a property you have the costs of repairing or replacing the furniture if it gets damaged. If your tenants are especially careless, this could put a big dent in the added profits you’d otherwise be making. Most of your furniture needs to walk a fine line between sturdiness and affordability, to make sure it doesn’t eat into your finances.

While students will accept cheaper, sturdier furniture in their properties, families and professionals—or anyone in a property for the long term—may want something better than flat-pack furniture. This represents another significant cost, especially if your furniture becomes outdated in the future.


What are the pros of unfurnished properties?

baby clothes in a pile

If you let an unfurnished property your tenants could stay in it longer when compared to other property types. This is because they’ll have brought some of their own furniture (which represents an investment) and will want to minimise moving costs. This is especially true of families, who will want to put down roots and provide a stable living environment for their children.

Unfurnished properties may also appeal to more creative individuals who are looking to put their own stamp on a property.

In many cases they will do this with furnishings, but some may want to redecorate. Make sure they know your redecorating policy before they move in! If you’re hoping to attract long-term tenants you may want to keep your redecorating policies open for discussion for if and when they come up. A bit of redecorating freedom can be appealing to tenants, but at the end of the day you want to know what changes are happening in your property.

Another major advantage of unfurnished properties is that tenants are responsible for their furniture’s condition. This means you don’t have to worry about repairing or replacing any furniture or appliances yourself.


What are the cons of unfurnished properties?

unfurnished property

Depending on the level of furniture in your property, it may be tricky to let to tenants if they have to buy their own furniture.

This is especially problematic if you’re renting out in an area that’s got predominantly furnished properties. It can be difficult for property viewers to envision themselves in a house or apartment when there’s nothing to make that house a home.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone and the people you’re targeting will determine how big a problem this is.


How to choose between furnished and unfurnished property lets

The choice between furnished or unfurnished let property in York depends on:

Which area your property is in

Which tenants you want to attract

What the property market overall is like

Once you’ve got these questions answered, you can work out if a furnished or unfurnished let is right for you.


Using a Managed Service

numbers in a spreadsheet

However you decide to let property in York, we at Quantum can make the letting process much simpler. We handle many of the day-to-day tasks that come with letting a property, and deal with any problems that arise as well.

Our managed service is costed as a percentage of your property income, with an initial setup fee and a monthly management fee thereafter. You’ll have access to many different benefits, including:

Rent Collection 

We’ll collect the rent every month and send it to you, along with a detailed breakdown of costs.

Property Inspections 

We’ll visit your property regularly, and discuss any maintenance issues with you and your tenants.

Post Tenancy Negotiations 

We’ll approach tenants in a friendly manner if they haven’t left your property in good condition.

The Knowledge 

With almost 20 years of experience in York, our team is fully trained in property assessments, serving notice, property viewings and collecting rent. Whatever problems might arise, Quantum is ready to handle them.


If you’d like to start letting with us—or you’re seeking advice on any other property matters—give us a call on 01904 631631.

Or view our managed service information pages .

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