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Tenant appeal – the secrets of furnishing a rental property

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Traditionally London has always attracted a breadth of different types of renters; international students, young local professionals and corporates moving to London to work on secondment, often for the first time. As a result, landlords need to ensure their properties are in tip-top condition to give them the edge in the competitive rental market. This aspirational workforce has high expectations and landlords need to present their rental apartment at its best to ensure a high calibre tenant will rent it.

Around nine out of 10 enquiries we receive are for one and two bedroom furnished properties – but any furniture you have lying around just won’t do. Today’s professional tenants have high standards and will walk away from a property that looks a bit dated or unappealing. Equally, a stylishly furnished apartment will usually let quickly, often attracting a higher rental.

So here are some of our golden rules for sprucing up your property to ensure you attract a good tenant and a healthy rental income.

Firstly, the décor. Rental apartments attract a lot of wear and tear so a lick of paint is a good starting point, even if the property is only a couple of years old. Neutral colours work best and appeal to most tenants although white can look a little too clinical. Think soft taupes, dove greys and off-whites for paint colours.

When it comes to flooring, remember that most tenants prefer the smart, contemporary look of wooden flooring although carpets are still a good choice for bedrooms. Double check your lease complies with this if your property is situated within a block.

Next, the furnishings. Again, these can take quite a battering so take an objective view of your rental apartment and decide if you need to replace some of the items. Ask your letting agent what tenants currently like and try and cater to this rather than choosing what you think they ‘should’ like.

You are aiming to make an impersonal rental property feel welcoming and comfortable; a home where the tenant can picture themselves living. That means furnishing the property to appeal to your target market. So if your rental property is a one bedroom apartment in a modern development the look should be streamlined and contemporary. Conversely, with a larger family home such as a semi-detached Victorian villa, the emphasis should be on creating a relaxed, homely feel. It’s worth discussing with your agent whether the property should be furnished or not as many families like to bring their own furniture.

Whatever the style of property, choose simple, modern furnishings that fit easily into the living space, without dominating the room or making it look crowded. Again, neutral colours look sophisticated and will stand the test of time – greys, beiges and sand colours are a good choice for sofas and chairs. To add warmth and interest to the scheme you could add some key accessories such as a floorlight or some attractive side-table lamps. Always opt for the best quality you can afford.

Against this modern backdrop, soft furnishings and accessories are where you can add elements of current trends. Try adding a vibrant accent colour, perhaps for curtains, cushions or a lovely bright rug to bring the look together and add a touch of individuality.

If furnishing a rental property from top to toe seems too daunting, don’t forget that there are furnishing packages available from specialist firms which will give you the sort of high-end look you’re aiming for at a very reasonable cost – and they’re completely hassle-free. Speak to one of our lettings branches for more details.


About the Author

For 40 years Anita has been the driving force behind Benham and Reeves’ success as it has grown from a single branch in Hampstead, to one of central London’s oldest, independently owned sales, letting and property management companies. Anita's vision has driven the expansion of the business to offer a complete range of property investment related services from under one roof, from purchase to handover, furnishings and/or refurbishment to lettings and property management. Read more about Anita Mehra here - Read full profile