Many of us will rent a home at some point in our lives - for some, it’s a stopgap measure until we can afford to buy, or a temporary measure during a separation. For many, renting might be the only available housing option for the long term.
On the plus side, renting offers more flexibility than purchasing a property, so it can be great if you need to move about for a few years (perhaps whilst your career gets established) or if you need to increase or decrease the size of your home as your family changes over the years.
Renting has two main downsides, though. Firstly, the rent won’t stop, even when you retire, so when you’re drawing your pension a lot of it may have to be spent on rent. Secondly, there is a lack of security in that if the landlord decides they don’t want to rent anymore, you’ll need to find somewhere else to live. There are changes to the law coming soon that will make it more difficult (but not impossible) for landlords to evict tenants without fault, but it’s still less secure than owning your own house.
If you’re moving from one house (whether owned or rented) to a rented house, or if you’re moving into a rented house for the first time, it can be difficult to know what you’ll need to furnish it. There’s a lot of advice online about what a landlord must provide by way of furniture, but what will you need by way of furniture, as a tenant?
All rented houses must provide tenants with a source of heat and hot water, a toilet and washing facilities, and an Energy Performance Certificate. Beyond that, much depends on the description of the rented property. Is it listed as fully furnished, part-furnished or unfurnished?
In theory, if a rented property is described as ‘fully furnished’, you shouldn’t need to take any furniture at all. Your landlord would provide things like a sofa, bed(s) and mattress(es), wardrobe, dining table and chairs, white goods (oven, fridge/freezer, washing machine and maybe a dishwasher), carpets, and curtains. It might also include things like kitchen appliances (kettle, toaster etc), crockery/cutlery and kitchen essentials, a vacuum cleaner and iron/ironing board, but there are no hard-and-fast rules about this so you’ll need to check what your landlord is planning to provide.
You’d need to bring furnishings such as bedding and towels, and you might want to bring additional pieces of furniture such as side tables, coffee tables, a dishwasher etc - if so, make sure your landlord would agree to this to avoid disputes later on.
This is a bit tricky to define, because it varies considerably between landlords. You’d need to check your rental agreement and the landlord or letting agent would need to provide a detailed inventory so you’d know what furniture will be provided and what you’ll need to bring.
This is usually a good option if you’re moving out of a family home following a divorce and have some furniture you want to keep (e.g. a comfy chair, wardrobe, bed(s)) but not enough to fully furnish a new house. Often, during a divorce, the division of furniture isn’t dealt with until the rest of the finances have been agreed and it’s clear where both parties are going to be living long term.
As a rough idea, a part-furnished house will usually have white goods (oven, washing machine and fridge/freezer), curtains and carpets. You might need to provide beds, a sofa, a dining table and chairs and so on.
Just as it sounds, an unfurnished property has no furniture at all. Curtains and carpets might be present, but not necessarily, and white goods might not be included (though most will include an oven).
If you’re looking to rent a property for the long term, an unfurnished one might be a good option - you can bring all your own furniture, choose your own white goods, and add your own curtains to make it just as you’d like it. Don’t add anything that you won’t mind leaving when your tenancy comes to an end - you could (with your landlord’s permission) have the house carpeted, but it’s unlikely to be practical to take the carpets with you to your next home.
If you have a gas oven fitted, you’ll need to have it properly installed by a CORGI registered gas engineer.
What else will you need to bring to your rented house?
Check exactly what your landlord will be providing before you go out and buy anything. You might need everyday items such as:
- Crockery, glasses and cutlery
- Pans, baking trays and dishes
- Cooking basics like A grater, colander, peeler, can opener, bottle opener and measuring jug
- Kettle and toaster
- Bedding (sheets, duvets and pillows)
- Soft furnishings (e.g. cushions and blankets)
- Vacuum cleaner
- Iron/ironing board
- Clothes airer, pegs.
These aren’t essential but life would be pretty miserable without them!
If you already own things that your landlord will be providing, you’ll need to decide what to do with those duplicate items. You could store your landlord's furniture and move your own things into the house to use (you’d need your landlord’s permission and you’d need to insure their belongings to their full reinstatement value if you put them in self storage). Or you could store your excess belongings to keep them safe, clean and dry until you need them for your next property.
Things to do when you move in
Whatever type of property you rent, there are some important steps you need to take when you first move in, in order to protect your deposit.
- Photograph or video the whole house, before you move your belongings in.
- Check the inventory that must be provided to you by the letting agent or landlord, which describes what furniture and furnishings are provided - make sure everything on the list is actually there when you move in.
- Check the rental agreement to see whether you need to take out contents insurance. Usually, if your home is furnished/part-furnished, the landlord will have contents insurance that covers their furniture (as well as buildings insurance). It’s a good idea to get contents insurance to cover the value of your own belongings. If there were a fire or flood, for instance, your landlord should claim on their own contents insurance for their furniture/furnishings, and you should claim on your policy for yours. Your rental agreement might specify otherwise, though, so check!
- Take meter readings for the gas, electric and water if you’re responsible for paying for these separately on top of your rent.
Do you need self storage when renting?
If you’re moving to a part-furnished or fully furnished rented house and have duplicate items of furniture of your own (e.g. if you’re separating), you could use a self storage unit to store extra items
until you need them.
If your move into rented accommodation is temporary (e.g. if you’re a student) then having additional storage space can be really helpful, either to allow you to keep things you don’t have room for (but want to keep) or as additional storage if your new home is smaller than your last.
We have stores all over the country, so if you think we can help please get in touch and chat with our friendly team to see what options might suit you.