Unfurnished property, do I need an inventory?

Purchasing a buy to let investment is a desirable option due to the steady return a rental property provides over time. With more people in the UK choosing to rent rather than buy means landlords are rarely short of tenants and getting a property in the right location can put one in high demand. By having an experienced property management company or letting agent working on your behalf, this demand can be even greater.

Once you’ve decided on the most promising location to invest in, the question of whether to furnish the property is something to consider.  We’ve seen a rise in unfurnished properties being let. Last year we carried out near enough a thousand more property inventories at unfurnished lets than furnished lets.

Renting a property furnished or unfurnished both come with their own benefits

Furnished interior

The Benefits of Furnished

  1. Tenants will save money as they do not need to purchase furniture of their own
  2. A furnished property can ask for a higher rental fee
  3. A furnished property could let faster than an unfurnished property. This is due to it being ready to live in from the get-go

The Benefits of Unfurnished

  1. Not having to furnish the property keeps initial investment costs down
  2. Your property will be desirable to tenants looking to put a more personal touch on the property
  3. The tenants’ furniture is not your responsibility
  4. There will be fewer items that could be damaged in the property or stolen
  5. Tenants who have worked hard to move their furnishings in will be more likely to stay longer

Unfurnished, do I really need an inventory?

If you have chosen to rent out your property unfurnished, you might be questioning if you really require an inventory, check in and check out for the property. After all, there’s nothing in the property that can be damaged, right?

It’s true that there are certainly far fewer areas that could be damaged. By having an unfurnished property, you do remove the risk of upholstery being damaged, torn or stained. Areas of repair and replacement will be lower. With fewer items in the property, less can be removed or stolen, giving you peace of mind. Although we must say this happens in the more extreme cases.

However, what about the areas which are expected in a property? Simply put, doors, walls, floors, ceilings, fixtures, fittings and windows.

You know, the carpets or the kitchen tiling. The white goods and sanitary items such as showers, baths and sinks. The skirting, carpets, wooden flooring and walls. Fuse boxes, light switches, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and boilers. There’s more to an unfurnished room than meets the eye, unless you’re the clerk carrying out the inventory.

Inventory Report

Why is it important to have an inventory for an unfurnished property

An inventory report alongside the subsequent check in and check out report will remove the risk of you as a landlord incurring any further costs after your tenants have moved out. An innocent example would be the magnolia walls in the master bedroom. Your tenant at some point during the tenancy decided they’ll paint them to something to suit their own taste, like a zesty orange, without asking your permission. Or, let’s look at a more extreme case; the tenants have moved out. You return to the property to find that doors from the bedroom have been removed.

Under these circumstances, it would not be unusual for a landlord to be entitled to money from the deposit to return the property to its original condition. However, with no Inventory, Check In and Check out report there’s no evidence to support your claim. Which, unfortunately, there would be a very minimal chance of receiving money from the deposit if the tenants chose to dispute this. Afterall, It’s not down to the tenant to prove the claim, it’s the landlord.

The inventory report, check in and check out documenting an unfurnished property ensure that you have an accurate snapshot and photographic evidence of the property. These reports, if a dispute is raised, will play a key part in the evidence provided to the adjudicators. By having this evidence your chances of receiving the deserved amount of money from the deposit are far higher than if you had no report at all.

Final Thought

Now, we’re not saying that all tenants are bad. The vast majority of tenants are very respectful of the space they live in. But accidents happen or you might end up with a bad egg renting your property. We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly throughout 18 years of inventory reporting.

Having an inventory report on your unfurnished property is similar to the reasons take out insurance for their smartphone, you don’t get this insurance because you’re planning on breaking it or losing the phone, but if the worst does happen the insurance is there to ensure you’re covered. Giving you peace of mind and the ability to continue life as normal.

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