Furnished vs Unfurnished Rental Properties

Hannah Williams

To furnish or not to furnish? 

Historically, landlords who rent out furnished properties find themselves collecting higher rent than those renting out their properties unfurnished. 

However, a number of factors will determine the value of furnishing your rental property – including the type of property you’re renting, the location of the property and the type of tenant you’re intending to attract. 

In theory, a fully furnished rental property may seem like the most ideal and convenient solution. However, these properties often attract a significantly smaller applicant pool. This is because, in most circumstances, prospective tenants will have their own furniture, furnishings and appliances that they will want to bring to their new home.

Furnished rental properties are best suited for short term rentals, apartments, properties with difficult access, and properties that will be rented to tenants who are unlikely to have their own furniture – such as students. 

At the time of publication, only 16% of Auckland rental properties currently advertised on TradeMe are fully furnished with the majority of these properties being localised to Auckland CBD. This is likely due to the high volume of apartment buildings and the large student population.

What does unfurnished really mean? 

If I decide to rent an unfurnished property, will it really be just four walls? 

No, unfurnished doesn’t mean entirely empty. Unfurnished properties should still include some essential fixtures and fittings such as:

  • Kitchen Fixtures.
  • Bathroom Fixtures.
  • Carpets or other types of flooring.
  • Curtains or Blinds.

What does a furnished property include? 

The furniture included in a furnished rental will likely vary from property to property. The Residential Tenancies Act (1986) does not specify what furniture a landlord must provide in a ‘fully furnished rental property.

You may want to negotiate what items are included before entering the agreement. Henceforth, Landlords should provide an itemised list of furniture. Henceforth, Landlords should provide an itemised list of furniture and chattels in the tenancy agreement prior to signing.

A furnished property may include some or all of the following items:

  • Lounge/dining furniture
  • Whiteware appliances
  • Beds
  • Kitchen essentials (i.e. appliances pots and pans, utensils).  

Who is responsible for the furniture/furnishings?

It is ultimately the landlords’ responsibility to maintain or replace any of the appliances or furniture, however, tenants are expected to look after thems items. Subsequently, they will be liable for any careless or intentional damage caused by themselves or their guests. 

If you are considering furnishing your rental property, you, as the landlord should consider taking out contents insurance to protect these items. Read more on insurance for landlords and tenants here. 

Fully Furnished vs Partially Furnished properties.

Fully furnished properties will likely have everything future tenants will need. This includes appliances, beds, lounge/dining furniture, and kitchen essentials (toaster, pots and pans, utensils etc). Alternatively, a partially furnished property will typically only provide the large, essential items that tenants will need. Often, this means beds and lounge/dining furniture. 

This is just a guideline of what you could expect and you should always refer to your tenancy agreement for further guidance.

We’re here to help.

If you own an investment property and are considering your options, a professional opinion may help. Please get in touch with our award-winning team of property experts to explore your options and ensure you are able to effectively maximise the return of your investments.

renters moving into unfurnished property.