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Renting furnished vs unfurnished: which one is better?

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If you're on the hunt for a 
rental property in London, you've probably come across the terms fully furnished, part furnished and unfurnished. If that's not enough to take in, throw in phrases like white goods, and you're now knee-deep in confusion. So what do these terms mean, and which option best suits your lifestyle? Look no further, I'm here to break it down for you and help you navigate the rental market lingo like a pro! 


What does the term "white goods" mean? 

Before we get into it, let's clear up the term "White Goods". In the UK renting world, white goods refer to larger household appliances typically found in the kitchen and laundry areas. Think fridge freezers, washing machines, cookers and dishwashers. White goods is simply a term used to describe those essential household appliances that keep your home running smoothly. Typically in London, you'll find that most rental properties provide white goods, but it's always worth checking in with the agent or landlord to confirm. 


Fully Furnished: The "all-inclusive"

Picture stepping up into your new London flat, dropping your bags, and everything you need is already there waiting for you. That's what a fully furnished property offers - a hassle-free arrival. You'll usually have a sofa, dining table and chairs, beds and wardrobes already there - in some cases, you'll even have a few home accessories like rugs and mirrors. Opt for a fully furnished property, and you can officially wave the days of spending your first week sleeping on a mattress goodbye.

Pros: 

  • Budget-friendly: you won't have to spend much money on furniture.
  • Ready-made: all you have to do is arrive and move in. 
  • Delay-dodging: you don't have to worry about those dreaded stuck-in-transit emails or your ideal dining table being out-of-stock.

Cons: 

  • Not my vibe: you might find that the furniture provided isn't to your quality or taste.
  • Not so care-free: you'll be responsible for ensuring the furniture is intact throughout your tenancy, so a glass of red wine on the sofa may have to be a no-no. 


Unfurnished: The "hotel only"

The blank canvas kind of home is the better option for those who want to really put their own spin on the interior and don't mind the occasional trip to IKEA. Why would you? It's the perfect excuse to grab another one of those hanging plants and a hotdog. Typically, most London rental properties we've come across will include white goods, so don't worry, you won't be fridgeless or heading to the laundrette every three days. The only thing to consider here is you may come across some rental properties that have built-in wardrobes or other built-in storage facilities, so again, it's worth checking with the agent or landlord so you know exactly what you're working with.

Pro's 

  • Interior masterpiece: you have the flexibility to get creative and style your space however you want.
  • Right at home: you may feel more encouraged to settle a lot longer because you'll feel more at home with your furniture.
  • No worries: you won't have to worry about any deposit deductions from any furniture damage.

Cons 

  • Moving costs: a man with a van can come at a hefty rate, and you'll have to incur any charges for getting your furniture to and from the property.
  • Furniture shopping: Although pretty fun, it can cost a pretty sum too, and you'll have to invest in furnishing your new home.
 

Part Furnished: The "half-board" 

Otherwise known as semi-furnished, this option has always left room for confusion. Essentially, "Part-furnished" is used for rental properties with some furniture but not enough to make it fully furnished. For example, if the property has a sofa and a double bed but no other furniture, that would be considered part-furnished. If you come across a part/semi-furnished property online, look closely at the listing for any furniture listed. If you can't see any furniture listed, we recommend contacting the agent or landlord so you can fully understand what furniture is available.
 

Your FAQ's answered: 

Does furnishing affect council tax?

No, whether your property is furnished, unfurnished or part-furnished, you are still liable to pay council tax. You can find out how much Council Tax you will pay annually here.

Can I ask for some furniture to be removed? 

Yes, you can ask for furniture to be removed. We've found that most landlords are willing to do so if you have a strong offer, and it's a case of removing one or two items. You can also ask the landlord to provide particular furniture items; keep an eye out on the property descriptions for terms like "furniture negotiable" or "owner will provide furniture". It depends entirely on the owner's circumstances, but it's well worth checking and asking if needed. 

Does furnished include a TV?

You'll find that sometimes furnished includes a TV, but we don't see it often. In the UK, the resident usually provides smaller electrical appliances such as TVs, kettles and microwaves. Mostly because, if the owner provided these, they would have the additional expense of having the items PAT tested and replacing them if necessary.

Do landlords have to replace furniture?

In some cases, landlords will replace furniture. Let's say, for example, a piece of furniture has been in the property for a while, and it's broken due to fair wear and tear; the landlord may replace it. However, suppose it has broken due to neglect or reckless behaviour. In that case, it's reasonable for the owner to request that the resident replace the item on a "like for like" basis (essentially, a similar item). 

Do landlords have to provide blinds or curtains?

We've found that most landlords will provide blinds or curtains. Although it's not a legal requirement, it's very rare for blinds and curtains not to be provided. 

Did we miss anything? Let us know! We'd love to hear from you! 

Whilst you're here, why not read "Why are rents rising?" or "A guide to property jargon"

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