How to furnish a flat for rental
I am often asked by landlords for advice on furnishing a property for letting. Some landlords go a little crazy when furnishing a property and can overdo it somewhat by using the wrong colour paint, chintzy furnishings and too may trinkets laying around which serve absolutely no purpose.. Other landlords seem to think that a furnished property means basic furniture but no appliances. Others provide furniture and appliances but no cutlery or pots and pans! So what is the happy medium?
The first obvious thing to consider is that a happy tenant will stay in the property and be a good asset which can only benefit the landlord. Tenants should not be shy of insisting that a furnished flat is indeed furnished. Take nothing at face value and ask questions. I recently let a one bedroom flat that was supposedly furnished but there were no kitchen utensils or small appliances. These items are not that expensive to buy and a small investment up front could keep a tenant for many years to come.
Here are some ideas for the basic items that one should find in a furnished property:
For the kitchen: one basic set of pots and pans. One set of glasses for drinking water. Two to four coffee mugs. A set of cutlery. Cooking utensils such as a set of knives, a chopping board, a bread knife. A set of (four) plates, both dinner and side plates.
For each bedroom: one set of sheets including duvet and duvet cover. Pillow cases. Eiderdown or blankets. Mattress cover. One bed and at least one side table per bed. Note: mattress covers extend the life of mattresses and are widely available.
Bathroom: one set of new towels- face cloth, hand towel and bath towel. One bathmat placed near either the shower cubicle or bath. A vanity cupboard above the bath sink to store personal items.
Living room: one sofa or two arm chairs. One coffee table or side tables for the sofa or chairs. Bookcase which can double up as TV stand and stereo stand. Adequate lighting to read at night (a good reading light is always a thoughtful touch from the landlord).
Dining room: dining table and chairs (four chairs or more for larger apartments or two chairs for a studio). Sideboard (optional).
Lighting: all lights should be covered with a shade or other appropriate fixture – please, no naked bulbs. I have seen upmarket flats with naked bulbs throughout. The usual excuse is that the property is a new build and the tenant could install fixtures of their choosing. This is grossly unfair.
Windows: curtains and black out blinds. Again, I have seen expensive properties with no curtains! Black out blinds are a thoughtful addition especially since London suffers with terrible light pollution.
Flooring: adequate flooring such as wood effect or carpet in a neutral colour. There are very good laminates available at a lesser cost than real wood. The same applies for carpets- choose a good quality that is durable.
Finally, landlords, remember that a rental property is not your home but temporary accommodation for a tenant. As such, landlords should remember not to place expensive items or family heirlooms that once damaged or lost, can never be replaced!