Furnishing a Buy to Lett is a careful balance between giving your tenants the right finish and feel, and keeping the cost to a level that works for you and your investment. The furnishings need to appeal to the type of tenants you want to attract, while being functional and hard-wearing, so what’s the best approach?
In terms of how long furniture lasts, that depends on how much use it’s getting, so you’ll probably need to replace items more often in Houses in Multiple Occupation than in single-let properties. For larger items, you’re looking at around five to seven years for sofas and mattresses, 10 years for wardrobes, 15 years for beds and around 10 years for white goods. Bedside tables and kitchen/dining chairs might need replacing as much as every 5 years if they’re heavily used.
Landlords who have multiple properties usually go for a ‘standard’ look that they can easily roll out across their portfolio. Ikea and smiliar stores are a popular choice, particularly for Houses in Multiple Occupation landlords, who want unfussy and hard-wearing furnishings. However, while it’s a fairly cost-effective and reliable solution, it does leave you having to assemble potentially a lot of flat pack!
There are a number of companies that supply whole-property furniture packages for landlords, to suit a variety of finishes and budgets. They’re usually flexible in terms of allowing you to exchange items and customise packages and can represent good value for money if you want to save your own time and effort, with quick delivery and assembly. And, because they tend to keep a standard stock, you’re likely to be able to replace items that suffer wear and tear easily with either exactly the same piece, or something very similar, sometimes within as little as 24 hours.
Some furniture companies, including Ikea, are introducing leasing programs, in an effort to help cut back on the amount of furniture thrown away each year. However, while it might seem like a good way of reducing your initial costs and an easy way of updating your furniture by swapping it every few years, the ultimate cost of items over time is usually higher than buying it outright.