What should a landlord provide in an unfurnished property UK?

What should a landlord provide in an unfurnished property UK

An unfurnished property is a great choice for renters who already own furniture or perhaps, are planning to hit the aisles of IKEA before moving in. Unfurnished properties offer the chance to really put your own stamp on the place — not just to make it a home, but to make it your home.

But they’re also a good, minimal fuss choice for landlords. There’s less to worry about when it comes to damages, plus no need to replace furnishings due to wear and tear. However, unfurnished doesn’t mean empty, so what exactly should a landlord provide in an unfurnished property in the UK?


Light fittings, curtains, and blinds

By law, a landlord has to provide light fittings that work and are regularly maintained by an electrician. That means no dodgy wiring or lights that flicker on and off. It’s about keeping tenants comfortable and safe in their new home as well as avoiding any potential damage to the property. For example, frayed, cracked, or overheated wires, when left unchecked, could lead to house fires.

In terms of curtains and blinds in unfurnished properties, you may be asking ‘do landlords have to provide blinds UK?’ it’s highly common for a landlord to provide them, but it’s not actually a legal requirement. Most landlords choose to do so because curtains and blinds often need to be made to measure and so it’s something people tend to leave behind when moving house.  

It also makes good sense to limit the need for any home DIY projects. Letting a tenant go rogue with a drill to fit curtains rails, for example, could lead to wall damage — so it’s worth getting a professional in for this kind of job before anyone moves in.

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Do landlords have to provide white goods?

When tenants shop around for rentals online, they’ll often notice the term “white goods included” mentioned in unfurnished property advertisements. This is an old term from when those bulkier home appliances, like fridges or dishwashers, were exclusively white. Although the exact items (and colours — hello pink Smeg fridge) provided can differ from property to property, white goods often include:

  • Dishwasher
  • Washing machine
  • Cooker/hob
  • Fridge
  • Freezer
  • Microwave

And while landlords are only required to provide a cooker and hob, as a rule of thumb, most throw in a few other appliances too. That’s because the majority of renters won’t consider an unfurnished property without some of the basics. These major appliances are a big expense, not only to buy but to properly install. So if a landlord won’t provide white goods, 9 times out of 10, their prospective tenants will go elsewhere.

One other thing: if a landlord does decide to provide electric appliances in their unfurnished property, they do have to make sure everything is regularly tested for safety. Ordering a routine PAT service (Portable Appliance Testing) is an easy way to keep on top of this. A professional will simply visit the property and test any necessary appliances, usually leaving a green sticker if something is safe to use, and a red sticker if it’s a disaster waiting to happen.


Bathroom fittings

It goes without saying that unfurnished properties still need to have a toilet, sink, bath, and/or shower. The important bit to note, however, is that these bathrooms and fittings must be provided in sanitary, working order. That means no leaking pipes, clogged drains, or mildew or mould on the flooring and walls.

To learn more about how to manage mould, read our blog on ‘Damp and mould in rented homes’.

So if you’re asking ‘can a landlord leave you without a bathroom?’ The short answer is landlords must make sure their new tenants have access to clean, running water as well as hot water for personal hygiene.

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Do landlords need to provide basic household items?

Although landlords don’t have to provide household basics, it’s a good way to start a tenant and landlord relationship off on the right foot. Household basics include things like…

  • A doormat
  • Dustbins
  • A few cleaning materials
  • Some loo roll
  • A loo brush
  • A mop

Essentially, all those bits you might not think about, but which are actually quite important. By having them ready and good to go, it saves the tenant a job on move-in day plus ensures a property is kept clean and sparkling for the landlord.


Safety provisions landlords must provide

Perhaps the most important items that a landlord must provide in their unfurnished property, are:

  • Smoke alarms
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Proper house security inc. doors, windows, and fences

It’s a legal requirement to have smoke alarms installed on each floor of a property, unfurnished or otherwise. Smoke alarms keep tenants safe, their possessions safe, and protect a landlord’s property investment. Landlords must also provide carbon monoxide alarms in all rooms with a fixed “combustion appliance”. That just means anything that burns fuel for heating or cooking, like space heaters, ovens, fireplaces, or water heaters.

It’s a landlord’s responsibility to check their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly before any new tenants move in. But after that, it’s a tenant’s job to keep them switched on and juiced up with batteries.

When it comes to house security, it might seem fairly obvious that landlords should provide doors, windows, and fences — but there are a couple of extra useful bits it’s good to know about. First off, doors and windows must have locks that are working and insurance-approved (good enough that if someone breaks in, your insurance will have you covered). Secondly, there should be no damage, cracks, or gaps in the property’s exterior where intruders, whether burglars or badgers, could gain access.

Learn more about how property damage could lead to unwanted house guests in ‘Are landlords responsible for pest control UK’.


Gas Safety Checks

On a final note, if a landlord rents their unfurnished property with any gas pipework or appliances, like gas cookers, gas boilers, gas fires, or gas water heaters, there are some key rules to bear in mind:

  • Landlords must organise gas safety checks every 12 months with a Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • A gas safety certificate for each gas appliance must be kept inside the property at all times

To learn more about what documents a landlord must provide their tenants, check out ‘Safety checks and certificates landlords provide if you’re renting’.


A few final tips…

As you’ll notice from reading this article, there are only a few things that a landlord absolutely must provide in an unfurnished property — but plenty more that they should consider providing. A good tenant and landlord relationship is built on mutual respect for each other's needs, so those few extra touches? Could make a world of difference.

If you’re a tenant moving into an unfurnished home, you might find it useful to read ‘10 great tips to make your rented flat feel like home’.

Short on cash? Read: ‘How to decorate a flat on a budget’.