Renting a Furnished Apartment: How to Get the Furniture You Want

When landlords buy property as a long-term investment, they often decide to include furniture in the rental because furnished properties attract a higher monthly rent. Unfortunately, it's still often difficult for tenants to find the type of style and design they want to live in, particularly with landlords who don't really care about the standard of furniture in their properties.

If you want a furnished apartment that meets your style expectations, or at least want to live with newer furniture, consider the four following strategies.

Set design expectations with 'real' examples

One landlord's idea of 'contemporary styling' will differ vividly from someone else's, so when you're talking to real estate agents, it's always useful to offer examples of the style you're aiming for. A talented interior designer could probably draw a detailed mock-up, but most people will need to take clippings from style magazines and newspapers.

Don't expect to find your dream home straight away. In fact, you will almost certainly need to compromise. Nonetheless, if you can give the agent a clear idea about your design tastes, he or she won't waste your time. For example, somebody who wants minimalist chic really won't appreciate a rustic farmhouse finish.

View the finished product before you commit

Landlords will normally encourage tenants to view an apartment as soon as they know it is coming up for rent. As such, you may view the apartment when it has somebody else's furniture in it, or before the landlord can replace things.

It's fine to view the property at this stage, but you should always ask for a final inspection of the furnished apartment before you sign on the line. Once you sign the agreement, it's much harder to get the landlord to take out the scruffy sofa he or she has supplied, and not the sty­lish new leather three-piece you expected.

If the landlord wants you to pay a holding deposit, make sure you only pay the money when you are sure you want to go ahead with the tenancy. As part of this, you need to make sure you have seen everything that you will have in the apartment when you move in. You can also ask the agent to list items specifically in the paperwork, in case there's a discrepancy later.

Shop around for the landlord

Many companies now offer furniture rental deals for landlords, with products to suit all tastes. Landlords don't always have time to research furniture at length, and they may simply go for the first reasonable deal they can find. If you can help find the sort of furniture you want, a landlord is more likely to give you what you want.

Research rental companies online, and visit showrooms to see the furniture up close. Some companies specialize in furniture for apartments and can supply goods that are easier to move in and out of smaller units.

See if there is room for negotiation on price with the dealer, explaining that you're looking on behalf of a potential landlord. Some dealers may have ex-showroom stock or special deals they can use to help you sweeten the transaction. A lot of landlords will appreciate the effort, so you then stand a better chance of getting what you want.

Share the burden

Most reasonable landlords know that it's generally in their interests to negotiate with good tenants, but you need to show the same willingness to compromise. Look for opportunities where you can make life easier for the landlord. For example, do you really need a stainless steel fridge? If you're happy to settle for a plain white one, you might create some wriggle room to get a better television.

A part-furnished apartment could also offer a sensible compromise. For example, if you can easily lay your hands on bedroom furniture, perhaps you can agree to supply items, so you then get the things you want in the family room. Of course, offering a higher monthly rent will also get your landlord's attention. You just need to decide how much you want to pay for the right furniture.

Many tenants want high quality furnished apartments, but it's not always easy to walk straight into a perfect property. Work closely with agents and landlords for more info and assistance, and you'll stand a better chance of getting the sort of furniture you need.