Is there a law in Antelope Valley, California that requires landlords to furnish their property before a tenant moves in?
No, there isn’t. As a landlord, the decision to rent your unit furnished or unfurnished is yours to make.
You have the option to provide it with every possible kind of appliance or nothing but bare walls and floorboards. Regardless of your decision, it is important to know that it could have an impact on your property’s appeal.
It can make the difference between a unit that rents in a matter of a few weeks to one that takes several months to fill. As a landlord, your goal is to make your unit as appealing to prospective tenants as possible.
After all, your primary objective is to make as much money from your investment as possible. And, the only way to do that is by having a tenant in the first place.
So, should you rent your property furnished or unfurnished?
In this blog, we will go over some of the benefits of both options to help you determine which is best for your California rental property.
Renting a Furnished Apartment
The term ‘furnished apartment’ can mean different things when it comes to what is included. The exact items will vary depending on various things, such as the landlord, and the specific location.
However, at the very least, this is what you should expect:
The Kitchen: Both furnished and unfurnished units will include large appliances like a dishwasher, microwave, and refrigerator, while furnished apartments may include small appliances like a food processor, blender, toaster, and/or coffeemaker. The kitchen may also come equipped with dishes and utensils, bakeware, cookware, but this is less common.
The Bathroom: Since most bathroom essentials like a tub/shower, sink, and toilet are already built in, a bathroom in a furnished apartment will also include a shower curtain at the minimum. There may also be a bathmat, plus accessories like a wastebasket, soap dispenser, tissue holder, and a toothbrush holder.
The Bedroom: You can expect a bed, nightstand, and an armoire for clothing or chest of drawers. Some furnished bedrooms also include sheets, pillows, an alarm clock, and a desk.
The Living Room: At the very least, a furnished apartment will have lamps, end table, coffee table, and a couch. Electronics such as a stereo system or a TV, as well as a bookshelf, ottoman, or chair may also be provided.
A furnished apartment can also be either fully- or semi-furnished. One that is fully furnished will be well-equipped with all the necessary items of a home, while a semi-furnished one will contain significantly fewer items such as cupboards, fans, and lights.
Furnished properties usually attract corporate tenants, short-term tenants, tenants from overseas, lifestyle renters, and mobile professionals looking to live in areas that are trendy, affordable, or commutable.
Pros of Renting out a Furnished Apartment
Pro #1: Higher Rent
As a landlord, you can charge more rent for a furnished property. This is due to the fact that you will want to cover the cost of the furnishings, protect the items against damage and depreciation, and offset the tendency to attract short-term tenants in Antelope Valley.
In addition to getting more money, there is a growing demand for furnished homes, even with the rising popularity of Airbnb.
Pro #2: Tax Benefits
Renting a furnished apartment can also help you reduce the amount of tax.
This is because furniture, being a capital asset, is a depreciable asset.
Pro #3: Competitive Edge
A furnished apartment may help improve your property’s appeal to prospective tenants.
This is especially true for tenants who don’t usually have their own furniture. Such tenants typically include expatriates, students, and first-time renters.
Cons of Renting out a Furnished Apartment
Con #1: Property Damage
Although you may have a thorough screening process, you may still end up with a problematic tenant.
While the security deposit may help cover the costs of handling the damages, the constant replacements may become stressful for you.
Con #2: Short-Term Rentals
Another con of renting furnished units is that they often attract short-term tenants. Such tenants do not usually want to rent longer than a couple of months.
Renting an Unfurnished Apartment
Generally speaking, an unfurnished apartment comes with very few items. They usually attract tenants looking to invest long-term and who already own furniture.
The following are the pros and cons of renting out one:
Pro #1: Not Responsible for the Tenant’s Belongings
Due to the fact that the furniture will be the tenant’s and not yours, then it will be their responsibility to protect it. You may also want to make renters insurance mandatory for all your tenants.
Pro #2: Room for Customization
An unfurnished apartment allows tenants to customize the property to their own liking.
That said, make sure to state what is and isn’t permitted in the lease agreement.
Pro #3: Less Maintenance
Renting out an unfurnished home will also mean a greater degree of flexibility. You can, for instance, require your tenants to pay towards the cleaning of the unit once they move out at the end of the lease.
Aside from helping make your rental unit rent-ready, this can also help get rid of any small damage caused by normal wear and tear.
Con of Renting out an Unfurnished Apartment
Con #1: Less Rent
Renting out an unfurnished apartment signifies less rent. In addition, you cannot provide your tenants the guarantee that their furniture will be the right fit for your rental property.
Some tenant’s belongings may be too large and may end up causing damage to your unit.
The Bottom Line
Which option should you go for?
There is actually no better option. To make the right decision, you may need to do your own due diligence and evaluate the market. You could also hire a professional property management company to help you decide whether you should rent your Antelope Valley rental property furnished or unfurnished.