Furnished v Unfurnished: How much can landlords make by furnishing their rental properties?

Furnished v Unfurnished: How much extra can landlords make by furnishing their rental properties? 

As a landlord, you are under no legal obligation to furnish your property. However, providing basic household items for your tenants, such as beds, appliances, sofas, and wardrobes, could maximize your profits and increase your monthly income. But how much can landlords make from their furnished and unfurnished rentals? 

New research by CIA Landlord Insurancehas revealed the average monthly income for landlords with both furnished, part-furnished, and unfurnished properties around the UK, and assessed where renters can expect to find the largest selection of properties to suit their needs.  

Landlords in London can make nearly £10,000 per month if they furnish their property 

CIA Landlord Insurance

With high demand for rental properties in London, due to the high population and many moving for job opportunities, there is a huge opportunity for landlords to make money. But how much extra income could furnishing a property provide? 

On average, landlords with rentals in London recieve £2,189 a month. However, if they furnished their property, they can expect to maximize their profits by 316% and rake in nearly £110,000 a year on average, £9,120 per month. 

Bristol ranks as the second most profitable location for landlords who furnish, or are looking to, furnish their properties, with the average monthly income being £2,038. Following closely behind is Brighton and Hove, where landlords can rake in £1,898 per month for their furnished property, giving them a yearly income of nearly £23,000. 

Landlords should be aware that although some locations offer them more money per month for a furnished property, after investing in the required items it may not be worth it long term. For example, Landlords in Bournemouth can make just £4 extra per month for furnishing a property which is a minimal profit. 

The following table shows the cities where landlords can make the most money if they furnish their property:

Rank 

UK City 

Average rent per month for a 1-4 bed furnished property (£)

Average rent per month for a 1-4 unfurnished property (£)

How much extra landlords make per month by furnishing their property (£)

1

London

9,120

2,189

6,931

2

Bristol

2,038

1,355

683

3

Brighton & Hove

1,898

1,436

462

4

Edinburgh

1,604

1,232

372

5

Reading

1,436

1,242

194

6

Liverpool

1,393

985

408

7

Manchester

1,371

1,098

273

8

Cardiff

1,219

1,043

176

9

Nottingham

1,124

872

252

10

Bournemouth

1,098

1,094

4

It costs on average £1,666 for a landlord to furnish a one-bed property 

To gain a better understanding on what classifies as a furnished property, we spoke to Paul Gibbons, property specialist at HouseBuyers4u. He says: “furnished properties include all or most white goods such as cookers, fridges, freezers, and washing machines, and basic furniture like sofa, chairs, tables, wardrobes and beds. Unfurnished does not include any furniture and the tenant is expected to furnish the house.”

Using Paul’s comments we then curated the average cost of furnishing a property to reveal how much landlords can expect to initially pay out when making their property fit these standards. If landlords deck out their rentals with; a double bed, wardrobe, two seater sofa, dining table, bedside tables, microwave, kettle, toaster and TV, it will cost them an average of just £1,666 to create a fully furnished one-bed property. In many cities across the UK, this is less than a month's rent, making furnished properties a very profitable business opportunity in the right locations.  

Plymouth is the least profitable location for landlords with furnished properties 

CIA Landlord Insurance

If landlords furnish a property, they can alleviate the additional stress that short-term renters can often encounter when buying, storeing, and reselling furniture. But the least profitable location for them to do this in is Plymouth. With furnished rentals costing £225 less per month than unfurnished ones, landlords could reduce their annual income potential by £2,700 if they provide furniture for their tenants.

However, Plymouth is the most financially viable city for renters looking for furnished properties as prices here sit at just £606 per month. Renters are therefore saving over £8,500 more pcm than London renters for the same properties. 

Northampton also sees the biggest price difference between furnished and unfurnished properties- those with furniture cost £274 less per month to rent than empty ones. This means renters here can annually save £3,288 by choosing to opt for a furnished property. 

The following table shows the cheapest UK Cities to rent a furnished property:

Rank 

UK City 

Average rent per month for a 1-4 bed furnished property (£)

Average rent per month for a 1-4 bed  unfurnished property (£)

How much renters save choosing a furnished property per month (£)

1

Plymouth

606

831

225

2

Stoke-on-Trent

634

628

-6

3

Wolverhampton

635

771

136

4

Bradford

666

628

-38

5

Derby

684

814

130

6

Aberdeen

692

824

132

7

Northampton

713

987

274

8

Coventry

818

876

58

9

Luton

846

1,052

206

10

Sheffield

858

741

-117

Wolverhampton offers the most business opportunities for landlords with furnished properties 

CIA Landlord Insurance

There are huge cost differences in how much landlords can make if they rent out a furnished property across the UK. But to reveal where landlords can easily make their property stand out against competition, we looked at how many active furnished, part-furnished, and unfurnished rentals there are in various UK cities.  

London has the highest proportion of furnished properties in the UK - in May 2022 there were over 10,000 furnished rentals listed on Zoopla. However, this means that landlords will have to compete against each other to make their property stand out and attract renters. Although London offers huge earning potential for those that furnish their properties, landlords should consider how easy it will be to attract and retain tenants.  

The following table shows the UK cities with the highest amount of furnished properties to rent:

Rank 

UK City 

The number of listed furnished rental properties 

Number of part-furnished listed rental properties 

Number of unfurnished listed rental properties 

1

London

>10000

6085

9519

2

Birmingham

1500

101

546

3

Coventry

1139

42

148

4

Manchester

1022

108

252

5

Leeds

874

52

258

6

Leicester

868

48

285

7

Liverpool

682

103

375

8

Nottingham

575

40

260

9

Edinburgh

559

27

96

10

Aberdeen

528

21

59

The UK city with the least amount of furnished rentals is Swindon- just 28 furnished properties were listed here in May 2022 meaning the city   offers the most business potential for landlords with furnished properties due to the lack of competition. 

The UK city with the second-least amount of competition for furnished property is Wolverhampton where just 32 furnished properties were listed in comparison to 88 unfurnished. Wolverhampton also has a higher population than Swindon, there are 252,791 residents in Wolverhampton compared to 185,609 in Swindon, so landlords also have a larger market to attract business to. 

Whilst Swindon has minimal furnished properties on offer, they have a higher proportion of unfurnished rentals listed- 100 compared to 28. This is the case for the majority of UK cities, so is there actually a demand for furnished properties? 

The following table shows the UK cities with the least amount of furnished properties to rent:

Rank 

UK City 

The number of listed furnished rental properties 

Number of part-furnished listed rental properties 

Number of unfurnished listed rental properties 

1

Swindon

28

10

100

2

Wolverhampton

32

9

88

3

Bradford

50

19

88

4

Northampton

67

5

75

5

Bournemouth

72

5

61

6

Luton

87

58

116

7

Portsmouth

129

11

50

8

Stoke-on-Trent

143

8

96

9

Norwich

212

6

69

10

Southampton

229

64

133

The demand for furnished properties within the UK has increased by 19% since last year

CIA Landlord Insurance

Within the UK there has been an overall increase in people looking for furnished properties, searches for ‘furnished rental’ have risen by 19% in the last twelve months. On the other hand, there has been a huge decline for people looking for unfurnished rental properties, with internet searches dropping by 202% in the past year. This could be due to the cost of living rising so more people are less inclined to move out of their current rentals and look elsewhere due to financial pressures.  

Christopher Walkey, owner of Estate Agent Networking, says “although a fully furnished or part furnished property will come with more responsibility for the landlord, by offering such a property, landlords can look to target, and increase, interest from certain types of tenants who are looking for shorter term rental agreements.” This means that landlords are immediately increasing their target audience by furnishing a rental property.

Although demand for property offerings is always changing, it is clear that landlords can make money if they furnish their properties in many UK cities. Moving forward, landlords should assess the landscape before making decisions, and also attempt to meet renters' demand in order to stand out against their competition and create the most profit. 

Sources and methodology 

We selected 1- 4 bedroom properties and applied the furnished, un-furnished and partly-furnished filter to get the average monthly rental costs for each UK city. Please note London is capped at 10,000+ properties per search. We then used Ikea and Amazon to get the average price of furnishing a property - the average price was taken by scraping the first page of the website.  

www.zoopla.co.uk

www.ikea.com

www.amazon.co.uk

worldpopulationreview.com