Article by: Monica Ng’ang’a, Rental Lead Centum RE

Date: Tuesday, 21st May 2024

Furnished or Unfurnished? Which is Preferable to Tenants and Landlords?

Is it better to rent out your house furnished or unfurnished? In addition to being crucial for landlords, this is undoubtedly an important query for tenants as well. Like most things, furnished and unfurnished rentals have advantages and disadvantages, and what suits one individual may not suit another.

In light of this, based on our experience in the industry, here is an analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of both furnished and unfurnished rentals from the viewpoints of both the landlord and the tenant.

What is the Difference between Renting Furnished and Unfurnished Properties?

We need to examine the main distinctions between the two before delving into the topic of whether or not landlords should provide everything and whether or not tenants should move into completely furnished apartments.

The definition of furnished or unfurnished appears clear at first, but that is not always the case!

Awali Estate at Vipingo Development Furnished Bedroom
Awali Estate at Vipingo Development Furnished Bedroom

A rental that is not furnished ought to not have much…

This is a common misconception: being unfurnished does not equate to being empty!

Even if the home is rented out without furniture, landlords need, at the very least, to provide the following for mid and high-end rental units:

  • Built-in kitchen appliances eg. cooker, oven, and microwave
  • Bathroom fixtures
  • Proper flooring materials
  • Blinds or curtains fitting provisions.

As you can see, while this is far from furnished, it is also far from empty.

Typically, furnished houses consist of…

The minimum criteria for unfurnished houses are well-defined, but the rules are more ambiguous and subjective when it comes to equipping a furnished rental.

While some landlords may provide more than others, it is a recommendable idea to provide all a person needs to live comfortably. Consequently, the inclusions list might closely resemble providing the below:

  • Basic features as highlighted above for the unfurnished units (see the list above)
  • Electrical appliances eg. dishwasher, washing machine, and electrical kettle.
  • Armchairs and/or sofas
  • Chairs and a dining table
  • Cutlery and kitchen necessities i.e., towels,
  • Chest of drawers and cabinetries.
  • Beds and Mattress/s, as well as bedding.

On identifying what constitutes a furnished or unfurnished property, it is time to consider what is best for the people who rent out these properties as well as the property occupants.

Riverbank Apartments at Two Rivers Furnished Kitchen
Riverbank Apartments at Two Rivers Furnished Kitchen

Which Suits Landlords Best? Furnished or Unfurnished Properties?

This question, though appearing to be black or white, is not as simple as it seems.

The tenants’ needs should always come first for landlords; tenants’ property needs take precedence over the landlords. Returns are what a landlord desires most from a rental property, and if yours is empty, you will not receive any!

Although there may be personal factors involved, the tenant should always come first. Seek advice from trustworthy, neighborhood renting professionals (like us!) to determine the suitable rental options for you. You should market the property appropriately because, for example, a 2-bedroom apartment available for rent within the blue zone, where we majorly operate, will be different from similar rental apartments in other locations within the city.

You will hear the phrase “do your homework” often from our professionals, and this also applies to deciding whether to rent out your property furnished or unfurnished. That being said, whichever option you select, there are still definite advantages and disadvantages to each as highlighted below.

1255 Palm Ridge Apartments at Vipingo Development Furnished Living Room
1255 Palm Ridge Apartments at Vipingo Development Furnished Living Room

Advantages of renting a furnished home

  • Your tenants will not have to spend as much money buying pricey furniture and home fittings.
  • If the property is furnished, repairs will cost less as when tenants move out, they do not interfere with the outlay; they are required to take and leave the place as is.
  • After a tenancy expires, the furniture can be used again.
  • If you offer your apartment furnished, you might be able to get a better rental price thus higher returns.
  • If the market in your area finds furnished properties appealing, demand can be higher.

Advantages of renting an unfurnished home

  • If you are not required to furnish the property as a landlord, your initial outlay will be significantly lower.
  • Few worries about broken or worn-out items keeping you up at night.
  • May draw tenants seeking a longer, more reliable lease.
  • If you decide to sell the property, there is no need to clear it, which would save you money.
Riverbank Apartments at Two Rivers Furnished Living Room
Riverbank Apartments at Two Rivers Furnished Living Room

Tenant Classification

There are often some assumptions made about the kinds of tenants who will be drawn to either a furnished or unfurnished property. The counsel of industry experts regarding the real estate industry and state of the market can help unravel the assumptions.

Below is an analysis of each:


Rentals with furnishings Rentals without furnishings
– Individuals seeking short-term rentals. – Longer-term renters
– People who want to live nearer to their place of employment during the week. – Those who want to create a homey atmosphere in their living area.
– Corporate tenants who need a space for employees or clients – Families/ households


– Often comprises of foreigners – Often comprises of locals
– Young professionals seeking to reside in upscale neighborhoods. – Anyone who already has furniture

What are the benefits and drawbacks of renting a furnished vs unfurnished properties for tenants?

Advantages of leasing a furnished home

  • Less expensive: Purchasing pricey furniture and other items can be tedious even when you are not moving, let alone right after! Lowering your expenses can be achieved by renting a furnished house.
  • More flexibility – If you are searching for a short-term place to stay for business or are in between houses, renting a completely furnished apartment makes sense.
  • Extremely convenient: Fully furnished homes provide the highest degree of comfort. This is particularly valid if you are relocating from a furnished home, it is your first property, or you just need a rental that you can stroll into with your bag.

Advantages of renting an unfurnished home

  • More private – For most tenants, nothing will compare to having your belongings around you unless you are looking to buy an upscale home with all-new furnishings. Choosing an unfurnished residence also allows you to add your touches to make it truly feel like home.
  • Less costly – It may be less expensive to rent an unfurnished property if you are searching for a long-term rental. If you want to rent for a lengthy time, buying your own furniture may be a less expensive option because rental prices are typically lower. And if you purchase your own furniture, you can always take it with you to your new home. It is also ideal for tenants who are moving with their items because they will not have to pay for storage.
  • Less worries about your deposit: Let us face it, accidents can happen. However, if you do unintentionally break the bed or spill coffee on the couch among others, you will need to replace the items in the furnished apartment or risk forfeiting your deposit. Choosing an unfurnished rental eliminates this concern, but if you are clumsy, you will need to replace your own belongings!
Signature Villas at the Pearl Marina Estate in Entebbe, Uganda Furnished Dining room
Signature Villas at the Pearl Marina Estate in Entebbe, Uganda Furnished Dining room

Are There any Other Options?

Indeed! Partly furnished rentals are a third option.

Multiple factors make this choice appealing, but it does necessitate discussion and adaptability from both sides.

A typical practice in part-furnishing rental properties is for the landlord to provide essential, larger pieces, such as beds and closets while letting the renter manage the minor items. With this option, tenants may add personal touches to their rental without having to worry about restrictions by heavy furnishings.

Part-furnished rentals are gaining popularity among landlords. Most landlords with multiple properties typically prefer this option because they may shift furnishings between their units based on demand. Many tenants also like the middle ground the option offers.

Are you looking to rent an apartment or rent a home at Two Rivers or Vipingo? We are happy to discuss the available options with you. Our knowledgeable real estate experts are available for a call. Feel free to contact us anytime!

We serve both potential tenants and landlords looking to buy a home or rent a home, fill the form here  for details on our properties.

For details on our homes available for rent, call us on +254 747 019 976.


Edited by Frida Nthoki-Marketing Department