Renting out fully furnished homes

From time to time homes are rented fully furnished for extended periods of time, i.e. long term leases of a few years, not just months, and landlords should be aware that the furniture, rugs, or any other accessories left in the home are also likely to suffer some wear and tear, as the house itself does, says Gail Cawood, letting manager for Knight Frank Residential SA.

In higher end properties the furniture, rugs, artworks and accessories, tend to be high end as well and if the landlord has any items that are very sentimental to him or are very expensive, they should not be left in the home being rented out, she said.

As a case in point, she mentioned a home with a Persian carpet that is many decades old and over time has faded because of the sun shining on a particular spot every day. The landlord cannot claim the replacement of this rug from the tenant as he has left it in that part of the home and the tenant has used it as is normal, on the floor in the place it was left.

If tenants are renting a fully furnished home, Cawood advises that a detailed list be made of everything in the house – from lamps, rugs and furniture, to glassware, crockery, or any other items that do not belong to the tenant.

There should be a full ingoing inspection, with photographs taken of each room and particularly valuable items, she said, and two people should be present, not just one. On the list of items a full condition report should be given of each item, and they must be carefully checked for chips, nicks, cracks, splitting, etc.

“My advice to all landlords, however, is if there is anything of value, to please put them away. Do not leave items such as these in a home where someone else has to look after them. Landlords must take some responsibility if expensive or valuable items are broken or damaged due to an accident happening in the home.”

There are other things that can happen, too, which are beyond a tenant’s control, such as flooding of the home due to a burst geyser or a fire and undue burden should not be placed on the tenant to ensure all those valuables have been taken care of, said Cawood.

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