Letting and residential property fully furnished, part-furnished or unfurnished in England & Wales no longer has any implications regarding security of tenure for the tenant or for taxation. However, Council Tax and the 10% Depreciation Allowance may be affected – you don’t pay Council Tax during voids if let unfurnished, but if you do this you cannot then claim the 10% Depreciation Allowance.
Definition of Furnished & Unfurnished
There is no legal definition of furnished, unfurnished or even part-furnished in the UK – these are terms have come about through industry custom and practice, in reality there is no exact specification or industry standard. What is defined is that certain furnishings supplied must meet fire safety standards and it’s in your interests as a landlord to ensure that your furniture and furnishing meet legal requirements. Landlords and tenants should be aware that what is present and accepted by the tenants at the viewing and on entry is what is to be provided, unless otherwise agreed. If landlord promise extra items or to carry out extra work, then this must be complied with as it forms the basis of the contract. Failing to provide promised items or services could result on the tenancy agreement being set-aside on the grounds of mis-representation. The inventory records the items provided and their condition. Many inventories now provide a photographic record. It is then signed by both parties preventing later disagreements, as the tenancy is then based on those items actually provided and accepted as part of the contract.
A landlord guide:
Unfurnished – many tenants prefer unfurnished (or part furnished) as, being quite mobile, they bring their own furniture and prefer to use their own items, particularly beds. Even unfurnished generally means that carpets, curtains and some white goods (i.e. fridge, cooker) are included. Part-furnished – here you would expect to see the basics as above, but perhaps the addition of items such as wardrobes, dining table and chairs etc, but not beds, 3-piece suites, TV, dish washers, washing machines etc. Furnished or Fully Furnished – it’s to the landlord’s discretion and to some extent by negotiation as to the standard and amount of furniture required by your target tenant group. In a fully furnished letting you would expect to see similar to above with the addition of beds, 3-piece suites – in fact everything needed to make a comfortable living home. Crockery, cutlery, towels, bedding etc while expected in the high-end lettings may be subject to negotiation and not always provided. When you have viewings of a property, while still tenanted, point out to the new tenants exactly what is to be included and excluded and discuss requirements then. If you are willing to be flexible as a landlord, for example removing and storing unwanted items or adding additional items as required, you will increase your chances of letting quickly, increasing your annual rental income.