So you’ve decided to furnish your investment property, but what exactly does furnished mean? What are landlords obliged to provide and what can be forgoed?
What Tenant Market Do Furnished Properties Attract?
Furnished properties tend to be more popular in certain suburbs, such as Mt Victoria and Eastern suburbs, as these areas typically attract high skilled workers, especially from the IT and Telco industry, or Weta employees who are in Wellington on a temporary contract for 6-12 months.
How Do You Define Furnished?
As there’s no specific definition in the Residential Tenancies Act, the term ‘furnished property’ is subjective.
However when advertising a furnished rental property, tenants usually expect the landlord to at least provide the household basics – beds, sofa, dining room table, whiteware, basic cutlery, TV, and other home necessities.
Because ‘furnished’ is subjective, both the tenant & yourself will likely have different expectations on what’s provided. Ensure nothing is open to interpretation and discuss with the tenant what’s included in the property at the viewing, then provide a chattel list in the tenancy agreement.
During the tenancy, landlords are responsible for maintaining any fair wear and tear, for instance replacing filters in the fridge, or when the dishwasher has a fault that’s not due to tenant damage. The Act doesn’t allow this to be contracted out of in the tenancy agreement.
Sort Out Your Insurance
After you make the decision to provide a furnished property, you need to purchase a contents insurance policy that specifically covers furnished rental properties.
To prevent complications on any future claims, it’s also a good idea to check the requirements of your insurance policy, as some insurance companies require landlords to complete a more thorough tenancy selection process before honouring claims.
Every item of furniture should be photographed and an inventory list kept so any loss or damage can be proven. Provide these images to the tenant at tenancy commencements to reduce the incidence of damage.
Be Practical With Your Furniture Budget
Try be reasonable with your furniture budget, and purchase reasonably-priced quality products, as lower quality furnishings will likely require more frequent repairs and won’t last as long, causing more stress for you and your tenants.
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