You’ve decided to pick up and move into a beautiful new home that has everything you’ve ever wanted. Yet, what should you do with the old one? You could sell it and hope for a positive return that doesn’t undermine the value of the home, sure.
Or, you could choose to rent it out.
Renting your extra property could be a great way to bring in a supplemental income. One that, in time, could theoretically surpass what you’d get for the house up front. So, you choose to rent. Great choice. Now the question remains: What do you leave behind in your rental property and what do you take with you?
It can be hard to decide which of your belongings should come with you to your new house and which should stay behind for future renters. Before you begin taking inventory of everything in your home, take a moment to consider your comfort level. What of your belongings would you be okay with leaving behind? Remember, there will be complete strangers in your rental property using your things. Do you really want to leave that family heirloom or extensive collection of novels for other people to use? Probably not.
Chances are, if thinking about someone else using or having a particular belonging of yours doesn’t make you uncomfortable, then you’ll probably be okay with leaving it behind. Of course, your movers will be a tad disappointed if you don’t take anything with you at all.
Consider your rental property
Not every rental is the same, and therefore what you might leave behind will differ depending on the situation. For instance, if you’re renting short term as a vacation property (weekly basis), then you might need to provide more amenities for your tenants to be comfortable and want to come back. However, if you’re renting long term (yearly basis), then you can afford to omit certain amenities since the tenants will be able to make do without them or bring their own.
Consider a vacation. You have a limited supply of clothes for a finite period of time, you probably didn’t bring groceries, and you’re in a foreign place. In this situation, you might find it helpful to have laundry machines so that you don’t have to go looking for a laundromat or a fridge so you don’t have to eat out every night.
On the other hand, if you’re renting long term, then you can essentially leave the house empty should you choose. Certain appliances could be left such as a dishwasher, but nothing has to be supplied to the tenants. In a long-term situation, the tenants could be asked to provide everything they need for the home to be considered habitable. You would simply advertise your home as furnished or unfurnished to indicate whether you will be providing any furniture or appliances.
However, when you add certain appliances to the lease, it could be considered as a bonus or perk worthy of a price increase. If you choose to leave certain appliances in your rental property, such as a refrigerator, then you should add a clause to the lease stating that if that appliance stops working, you (the landlord) will not be responsible for repairing or replacing said appliance.
What you might leave behind
If you choose to furnish the rental home, then you have a few options as to what to leave behind. Granted, you can leave everything behind should you choose, but that isn’t necessary. In most cases, you will want to leave behind:
Major kitchen appliances
- Microwave (optional)
- Cooking and eating utensils (optional)
- Coffee pot (optional)
- Toaster (optional)
Dining/living room seating
- End tables (optional)
- Bed frame
- Mattress (optional)
- Bedding (optional)
- Shower curtain (if applicable)
- Linens (optional)
- Wall paintings
- General art
It’s also recommended to provide window coverings for all of the windows in the house (blinds, curtains, etc.) as well as additional lighting fixtures if needed. The appliances and amenities listed above are the traditional items included in a furnished rental and the ones with an (optional) placed after them are ones that can be included, but aren’t necessary.
What you might take with you
As stated many times at this point, what you leave behind is completely up to you. As a landlord, you are required to make the apartment/house habitable, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave a toaster or wall painting if you don’t want to. There are actually many things that you can and probably should take with you, such as:
- Surround sound/audio equipment
- Additional bedding
- Special kitchen appliances
- Bread makers
- Mixers, etc.
The more things you leave behind, the greater your chances of having those things lost, stolen, or damaged.
The condition of these items might also factor into your decision of whether to take or leave them. A brand new refrigerator might not be particularly necessary to include, especially if you are asking for reasonable rent payments. However, you can always take the new fridge with you and buy a cheaper (still functional) one to put into the rental.
Tips for your first rental property
Whether you choose to leave your rental property furnished or unfurnished, be sure to get everything in writing at the time of the signing of the lease. If you’re including certain amenities and appliances, clearly state that it won’t be your responsibility to repair or replace them. You should also indicate what items are being included with the property and the condition which they’re in. For short-term property agreements, you might add a section that holds the renter financially responsible for any damages incurred to an appliance(s) during the length of their stay.
It might also behoove you to check with your state and local laws concerning what is needed to deem a rental property “habitable” and the various laws surrounding landlord/tenant arrangements. In this instance, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hire some legal help so as to not find yourself in a legal dispute or lawsuit that could have been avoided.
No matter what you decide to leave in your rental property, just remember: These items will have to be repaired or replaced eventually.
This articles has been contributed by our friends at Colonial Van Lines.