Study reveals difference in renting a furnished and unfurnished flat in the UK

Renting a two bedroom furnished flat in the UK can cost up to £128 or 21% more than an unfurnished property, a new study has found.

The analysis of rents of a typical two bedroom flat furnished and unfurnished in the same area by property website OnTheMarket looked at nine major cities across the country.

It show that the cost of furnishing a two bedroom flat can be around £1,800 including a sofa, coffee table, bookcase, television, table and chairs, two double bed frames, two mattresses, a desk and an office chair. This amount is calculated based on furniture from IKEA and a television from Curry’s.

With prices for furnished flats commanding up to 21% more than unfurnished, it is a decision for the tenant to decide whether or not to save a lump sum to buy basic furniture.

According to the results, renting a two bedroom furnished property in the city of Sheffield, for example, costs tenants an average of £726 compared to £598 for an unfurnished property of the same size, a 21% increase in price.

In Newcastle upon Tyne the difference is £85 more, a 14% difference, in Birmingham it is £127 or a 20% more, in Manchester £101 or 15% difference, in London £128 or 9% more, in Leeds £128 or 19% difference, in Glasgow £86 or 13% more, in Coventry £102 or 15% more and in Cardiff £50 or 7%.

‘Ultimately this research suggests it’s worth calculating the cost of furniture to decide whether the initial financial outlay can be off-set over time during the rental period,’ said Helen Whiteley, commercial director at OnTheMarket.

‘Spread throughout a 12 month tenancy, these costs become around £150 per month meaning it is worth prospective tenants giving serious consideration to whether or not they are embarking on a long term let. That said, there are clear benefits and a level of convenience of walking into a ready to live in property when weighed against the alternative of buying everything yourself,’ she added.

Denise Brown, property management manager at Andrew Craig in Newcastle, pointed out that the city has a large student accommodation sector that requires fully furnished because tenants travel to this area for university and do not have many goods of their own.

‘Gateshead has more long term tenants and mostly family homes, it is not normally their first rental and the tenants have collected goods along the way,’ she said.

‘Since the Government abolished tax relief for landlords on furnishing properties, we have noticed a significant drop and over three quarters of our management/let only business is now unfurnished. Landlords are more likely to buy rent guarantee insurance, which protects the landlord against the tenants not paying the rent, than furnish properties,’ she added.