(edited from original article written by Marc Da Silva, Negotiator Magazine. May 2013)
As a lettings agent , you will want to offer the best advice to your landlord client on how to present their property as this will potentially make a difference to your chances of finding them a tenant. Ideally, the landlord should be flexible; open to the idea of providing a furnished or unfurnished home, in order to maximise interest and attract the widest net of rental applications. But the reality is many tenants look for a furnished home, as it offers greater flexibility and saves them money by not having to buy furniture. Buying all the furniture for a property can be a major expense of r a landlord, especially if money is tight or an owner-occupier ends up letting a property out as a result of circumstance and a moribund sales market, rather than by design. From a tailored package through the single items and electrical equipment, such as televisions and kitchen items, there are a host of services available.
It is estimated that there are now around 4.8 million privately rented homes in Britain, up from 2.5 million in 2002. In London alone, private renting already accounts for 27 percent of all homes, some 900,000 having already overtaken social renting in 2010, which now accounts for just 24 percent of tenure, or 783,000 homes. Consequently, a rising volume of investors are now entering the market place, while many exiting landlords are actively adding to their property portfolios, boosting demand for furniture rental services in the process.
Furnishing colour fashions change, not so long ago it seemed that all sofas were brown, but today popular colours are pastels, vibrant blues and emerald greens, while warmer metal finishes such as gold and brass are taking over from silver, according to Graham Smith, managing Director, Roomservice by CORT. He said, “We respond to changing trends by keeping a good base of furniture in neutral colours and by using accessories and artwork in the key colours of the season. “ Whatever furniture a landlord, tenant or managing agent opts for; there are a wide range of furniture packs available, with various tailored designs to suit almost all properties from small city apartments to large luxury family homes.
Aside from saving money by not having to buy furniture, homeowners can also avoid potential storage costs by opting to rent furniture. Shorter term furniture packs for a tenancy of around 3 months are more expensive, with a one-bedroom package featuring a reception room, dining area and bedroom, typically costing £315 per month.* Most suppliers are happy to supply inexpensive solutions too. Graham Smith at Roomservice by CORT says, “Our basic fully equipped 12-month furniture package for a two-bedroom property is our Astor package at £199+VAT per month. It gets even cheaper for a three-year rental; just £100.50 per month + VAT, but we can cater for all budgets. “We offer a full ‘turn-key’ service. All of our furniture is delivered, installed and placed by a highly trained installation team who will make beds, put away crockery and housewares and leave the property clean and tidy.“
With Savills forecasting that one in five households in the UK will be renting a property by 2016, resulting in a requirement for an additional 1.1 million rental homes, it is clear that there is plenty of room for growth as far as the furniture rental sector is concerned.