Accommodation provided for renting can be either furnished or unfurnished. You should consider carefully which option suits you best.
Any items provided by the landlord in a furnished property belong to the landlord. While this means that the landlord is responsible for replacing any faulty items, it also means that you may be held liable for any damages the items sustain during your tenancy. Generally, if the damage has occurred as a result of your actions you will have to pay to replace it.
When viewing a property you should check which items will be provided with the tenancy. It is likely that some of the items in the property will belong to the current tenant, if there is one. You may be disappointed if you find these items missing on moving day.
What furniture should be provided?
If the property is described as furnished, it is reasonable to expect not to have to pay for any additional items of furniture when you move in. There's no legal definition saying what should be provided in furnished accommodation, but HMRC defines furnished accommodation, for landlord's tax purposes as having "sufficient furniture, furnishings and equipment for normal residential use". This would normally include:
- Adequate seating in the living area
- Table and chairs in dining area, if one has been provided
- A bed and clothing storage in each bedroom
- Floor coverings throughout the dwelling
- Curtains or blinds on the windows
- A cooker and fridge
Any furniture provided by your landlord must comply with Fire Safety Regulations.
Although some landlords may provide basic kitchen items such as a toaster or kettle, they are not required to do so. Some of the items you may have to provide yourself include
- Pots and pans
- An iron and ironing board
- A telephone
- A washing machine
You should check if any of these items will be provided by the landlord.
You might prefer to rent an unfurnished property if you have your own furniture and amenities. Landlords renting out an unfurnished property will still be expected to provide some kind of floor and window coverings. They may also provide kitchen appliance such as a fridge, cooker and washing machine. Check with the landlord what will be included in the flat.
If the property you want to rent is furnished but have your own furniture, you should negotiate with your landlord to see if the existing furniture can be removed from the flat. You should never dispose of any items belonging to the landlord without first getting written consent.
You should always get an inventory at the beginning of a tenancy. This will not only list all items that have been provided by the landlord, but will also detail the condition of these items. The inventory should list the condition and the cleanliness of every item provided as part of the letting.
Make sure you agree with what's written in the inventory. Your completed inventory will be really important if there is a dispute at the end of tenancy in relation to the return of your deposit or paying for repairs.