Editors Note: The following content has been provided by freelance writer Ali Peebles.
With an acute rental property shortage in the UK, it could be a great time to enter the market if you’ve been thinking about investing in property to rent. Currently, the country faces a critical shortage of rental homes and by 2025 the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) estimates that 1.8 million more households will be looking for rental homes.
In addition to the heightened demand, using your property as a rental place an be a great way to garner income if you own a second home. However, to appeal to the right tenants and get the best price, it is important to present your rental property in the best light. A good way to do this is to ensure you get your furnishings right. Choosing the right furnishing for your rental property can not only maximize its appeal to tenants but can also minimise any void periods and help you keep maintenance costs low.
Pick a Neutral Colour Tone
Neutral colour tones are universally appealing– and easier to customise to a tenant’s taste. Tenants will like the idea of making a rental property a home, particularly if you will be renting on a long-term contract. For the walls, opt for shades of grey, ivory, and beige. When combined with chrome or mirror accessories, it can also help to give your rental property a luxurious feel. Similarly, you can easily customise a neutral-coloured room with your choice of sofa varieties, its coverings, and even your curtains. A modular sofa can provide versatility for tenants to customise the layout as per their wishes.
Balance your Budget
Furnishing your rental property has its perks. It can help you gain up to 30 percent more in rental charges compared to an unfurnished property. However, it does take some investment upfront to get your property furnished and if not managed carefully, can quickly add to the costs of getting your rental ready for the lettings market.
Landlords cannot deduct the furnishing costs on their tax returns, so you should be prepared to incur the costs yourself. You can, however, deduct them if they need to be repaired or replace. Ideally, it is recommended by The Tenancy Deposit Scheme that landlords replace furniture every 7 years. Keep in mind that you also lose a 10 percent ‘wear and tear’ allowance. So, with this in mind, it is important to balance your vision for appeal and design with providing necessary furnishings and your budget. Easy to replace and clean furnishings are a good start.
Keep your Furnishing Choices up to Code
All soft furnishings need to be fire-rated, according to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988. These include couches, mattresses, and curtains. So when furnishing your rental property, make sure you check that you are fire safety compliant. You should be able to spot a fire safety label easily. If there isn’t one, you can check with the manufacturer or retailer on whether they comply with fire safety regulations. You may also want to avoid small appliance furnishings like toasters or microwaves. While they can be a great bonus for a rental property, they can also represent a fire hazard if they malfunction. If found faulty, it could also open you up for potential litigation.
Tailor your Furnishings to your Location & Ideal Tenant
Another tip for furnishing your rental property: consider your audience and market. Before furnishing your property, do some research on your local area and similar rentals. Speaking to a letting agent or browsing current rentals on the market can give you a glimpse of what other rental properties on the market tend to offer. Are they furnished in a contemporary or traditional light?
Also, think about the renters in your area. For instance, rental properties located close to schools tend to attract young families. Because of this, these homes often focus on providing family-friendly furnishings like providing standard white goods like a washing machine, dishwasher, and fridge/freezer.
Once you have spent time (and money) on creating the right aesthetic appeal for your rental property with furnishings, it is time to think about protecting it. This can easily be done by creating a property inventory report, calculating an adequate deposit, and considering insurance policies. It’ll make sure your investment and it’s contents are safe in the event of any accidents, injuries or malfunctions.