To furnish or not to furnish? That’s the question many landlords renting out new properties ponder, but to which a new survey claims to have found the answer.

Most tenants now want unfurnished properties – possibly due to fears around used furniture in the current climate, according to lettings management platform Howsy.

Its research shows that in 19 of 23 major cities, demand for unfurnished homes was higher than for part-furnished or furnished, hitting 41% on average.

Tenants in Plymouth (62%), Portsmouth (62%) and Bristol (60%) were the keenest to put their own stamp on a property or have worries over wear-and-tear charges after the tenancy.

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Howsy compared the level of stock already snapped up by tenants as a proportion of all stock listed to see which was most in-demand when it came to furnishings and whether it’s worthwhile for landlords to kit out their property before putting it on the market. 

Tenants preferred a partly furnished home in just four cities, with demand at an average of 35%, but at its highest in Bournemouth (59%), Bristol (57%) and Plymouth (55%).

Furnished homes saw demand fall to just 21% overall, with Bristol (37%), Nottingham (33%), Oxford and Newport (30%) tenants particularly favouring homes ready to move in.

Howsy founder and CEO Calum Brannan reckons that as the initial costs surrounding a buy-to-let investment can quickly pile up, it’s important to decide how you’re going to furnish your home, if at all.

It can be a laborious process and one that comes back around if any items are missing or damaged come the end of the tenancy, and our research shows that it may not even be necessary,” he says.

“Some people may not want to run the risk of using furniture from a previous tenant while others will want to work with a blank canvas.”


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