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In This Guide

Choosing an area

Getting in


Lettings agents


Looking for property

   1. Introduction

   2. Furnished v Unfurnished

   3. Renting privately

   4. Online search

   5. Offline search

Renting introduction

Tenancy agreements

Viewing property

Looking for property

Furnished v Unfurnished

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One of the decisions you will have to face when entering the rental market is whether to go for a furnished or an unfurnished property.

One of the biggest myths surrounding unfurnished properties is that they are much cheaper to rent. This is not true. There may be a slight price difference, but if it exists at all, it is just that - slight.

Why then would you inconvenience yourself with the burden of having to buy all the furniture, fittings, equipment and everything else that is a part of modern day life?

Here are three reasons for starters:

  1. You may already have all of those things having already been living in unfurnished owned or rental property.
  2. You have the advantage of not having to put up with the style selection of the landlord, which can often be far removed from your own.
  3. You are less likely to lose your deposit. If all of the contents of the house are your own, then you have less of a worry about damaging the landlord's possessions and losing all or part of your bond money.

A couple of points to note:

  • Landlords are sometimes willing to furnish a property if the property has been vacant for a while and is proving difficult to let out.

  • Unfurnished doesn't always mean stark raving naked. You are fairly likely to get kitchen appliances and there may be other things such as wardrobes and even beds. Such properties sometimes get referred to as part-furnished, but not always.

There is one other common scenario worth avoiding that involves unfurnished property. If you are renting an unfurnished flat, make sure that all any furniture left behind by the previous occupants is removed at the outgoing tenants' cost BEFORE you move in. If you don't do this, you will be liable for removing it at the end of your tenancy. Landlords will charge you the earth for removing property on your behalf, regardless of whether it was yours and regardless of whether they actually move it.

Lettings negotiators will often promise to have this sort of thing done, but it may not actually get done in the eventuality of you moving in. Make sure that if you agree to have anything delivered or taken away that it is included in the tenancy agreement and signed by the negotiator and yourself as a rider.

Here is some advice if you are thinking of renting a furnished property:

  • The standard of furnishing will vary across the properties that you view. Student houses will generally be kitted out with well worn furniture and items that can't even remember when they last saw better days, it was so long ago. Then again, many rental properties are finished to such a high standard, you resent having people round for fear of disturbing the immaculate pristine new ambience.

  • Find out what's included. A furnished property may be completely decked out with TV, video, hi-fi, beds, bedding, curtains, carpets, wardrobes, washing machine and every other conceivable home comfort. Then again, since the industry is unregulated you will always get the odd landlord who attempts to take the Mickey and provide a furnished flat that comes with little more than a bathtub, a carpet and a bed. Be warned.

  • If there are certain things provided that you do not need as you already have your own ones, such as a bed, make sure that you get your landlord or agent to agree in writing to remove the unwanted item.

  • Check if the furnishings are fire regulated. They should be, and any lettings agent is required by law to make sure they are checked, but they can sometimes be lax over this issue.

  • Bear in mind that appliances will not be tested for you. It may look like you have a microwave, but if you move in only to find that it doesn't work, then you only have yourself to blame for not checking it when you viewed the property.

  • Finally, if you are a student and get carried away in a drunken fit of wildness, leading to you breaking up some furniture and burning it in the garden (as someone we know once did many years ago), expect to lose your deposit.
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