What amenities would you expect to find in a long-term house rental?
April 29, 2019 6:04 PM   Subscribe

I will be renting out my home for about a year. I would like to rent it with all the furniture. What would you expect to find in a long term rental? Linens? Toaster? Kitchen Aid? Completely empty pantries and closets? Cleaning supplies? I’ve stayed in plenty of Airbnbs but only for a few nights at a time and that seems to be a different set of amenities. How much personal decor would you leave out? What about our plants? Any long term rental tips or especially good/bad experiences would be appreciated!
posted by nevertoolate to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I love plants and have cared for hundreds of them and I would not leave any plants in a rental house if I ever wanted to see them alive again. You can’t realistically require proper care for them, sorry.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:14 PM on April 29, 2019 [13 favorites]

Well here's a bad story for you, just FYI: My parents rented out their vacation home to a single long-term tenant. I think the rental term was one year, or maybe two years. The home was fully furnished -- all furniture, all linens, full kitchen, literally everything you'd find in a home. And when the lease was up and the guy moved out, he took...everything. Like, hired movers and had the whole place emptied. There was a legal battle that ended in a small win for my parents -- they won, but the guy didn't have much money to begin with, and then he died -- but the real sticking point in the legal battle was that they didn't have a great inventory of...everything. You can say "fully furnished" but then they had a hard time explaining to a judge exactly what that meant. And the judge wanted every bit of info.

Going forward, my parents then became the most anal of landlords, photographing literally everything in the house. Everything inside every closet, every drawer. All the books on the shelves. The mop. The broom. The tupperware. Just...everything. They printed this out and put it into a binder with maybe 100 pages of photos. They made future renters sign off on the inventory when they moved in. From my point of view, it was a smart decision. But, hilariously, through a friend of a friend I heard that one of the new renters thought my parents were crazy freaks for doing it.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:28 PM on April 29, 2019 [14 favorites]

I'm a small-time landlord. I've rented out a unit semi-furnished and unfurnished at different times. My recommendation is that you leave behind absolutely nothing that you ever want to see in working order again. No furniture, no small appliances of any meaningful value, no pots/pans that are above "college student quality". nothing.

Your tenants will probably take care of 90% of your stuff just fine, but you can't predict what the 10% that they're going to mistreat (cast iron pan in the dishwasher) or ignore (plants).

If you care about it, put it in storage. If you don't care about it, feel free to leave it for your tenant, but recognize that it probably will not come back in the same condition you left it.

As for what I'd expect in a "furnished" long term rental? Furniture that was on display when the unit was shown, and maybe small appliances that were on the counter in the kitchen. Nothing in the pantries or cupboards, nothing in the closets. No linens, no cleaning supplies, nothing like that.
posted by toxic at 6:29 PM on April 29, 2019 [19 favorites]

I’ve stayed in timeshares (not mine) and I love to find lots of empty space for me to put my own items. For a year’s stay, I’d want and expect to provide my own linens. Leaving cleaning products is a great idea because it feels wasteful to replace them; I have tremendous guilt about plastics and chemical use, so I’d be happy to use some already there.
posted by Knowyournuts at 6:30 PM on April 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't leave anything that I'd be upset about being removed or ruined.

So I'd leave my (very basic) furniture but I wouldn't leave the sofa my grandmother got me. I wouldn't leave any art that mattered. I wouldn't leave my kitchenaid (HANDS OFF MY PRECIOUS) (but I would make sure the kitchen was reasonably supplied with stuff like basic plates & cups, colanders, a blender, basic coffee maker, stuff in the below $30 range.)

As a renter of a furnished place I'd expect linens, for sure. (But on the other hand, as a landlord, I wouldn't leave any of nice quality.)

Agree 100% with the idea of an inventory, if only to discourage theft; but at the end of the day, possession is 9/10 of the law and I wouldn't leave anything that I'd value enough to litigate to get back.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:33 PM on April 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've rented out a furnished condo. I left a very basic set of everything. So, plates, silverware, glasses, but not a bunch of kitchen gadgets. Towels, but not a hairdryer. A vacuum, but not cleaning supplies. My goal was to leave just enough for it to pass muster as a furnished condo and not one item more. Why risk it?
posted by HotToddy at 6:33 PM on April 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

In a long-term furnished rental, I would expect to find:

Bed and mattress
Major appliances, possibly including a microwave
Move-in ready closets and shelving (e.g. nothing left behind taking up space in living areas)
Curtains or blinds, and shower curtains

I would not expect to find:

Trash cans
Bed pillows
Cleaning supplies
Small appliances like blenders or toasters
Pots and pans
Dishes and silverware
Electronics like a TV or stereo system

If you supplied any of the “wouldn’t expect” items, that’d be very nice of you, but I second everyone who said that if you were to do so, to not offer up anything you would hate to lose or see broken.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:00 PM on April 29, 2019 [8 favorites]

But I definitely wouldn’t leave plants, since those need ongoing and specific care, and I would think renters generally don’t want to sign up for gardening duty.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:08 PM on April 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't leave anything there you want to see again, for sure. Also consider the implications of a fully-furnished apartment for a long-term lease if you're not willing to empty the house: this will only be attractive to people who don't own anything or are only going to be in your city temporarily. This might work out well if you're willing to lease on abnormal cycles, like 3-6 months for corporate relocation or temporary assignment situations, which some cities are great for and others it's not going to be very practical. You might see if there's much market in your area for fully-furnished homes before you commit to that plan.

I would not try to frame these renters as housesitters who are going to take care of your Kitchenaid or plants, unless you want to do this through a house-swap brokerage (which is often not a 1:1 swap, it's popular among people who get professional sabbaticals or yearly academic placement assignments), but that often means an expectation that your rate is reduced in return for that kind of care.

At the end of the day, a storage unit (which you're going to need for your personal possessions anyway, because yes you have to empty the closets) for everything for a year, and movers to put stuff there/take it out, is cheaper than losing furniture and belongings that are meaningful to you.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:11 PM on April 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

It actually is a through a sabbatical home rental website, if that matters. Thanks for all the helpful info. I will definitely look into storing the few things we actually care about!
posted by nevertoolate at 7:32 PM on April 29, 2019

I think if it's through a sabbatical rental website, some of the things on Autumnheart's list would be both safe and courteous to include: trash cans, basic pots and pans, toaster and kettle, a TV or stereo system. Your visiting professor will need such things but isn't going to be lugging them from across the state/country/world, and isn't likely to pawn yours either. I wouldn't feel the need to take down decor.

Figure out, too, how to handle utilities and wifi. Prof types will be bummed at the idea of setting up a new contract and waiting however many weeks to have it hooked up.
posted by Beardman at 8:14 PM on April 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

I've had a lot of friends use sabbaticalhomes.com and in my experience via them, they often are TOO full of stuff. Like there was no room in the closets or dressers or bathroom drawers. The drawers were full of more personal items like Vagasil.
One had all of the walls covered in kids' art. Literally covered. And it was just haphazardly taped to the wall and the kids were teenagers and it looked like stuff they did in preschool.
This was for an 18 month rental. They should have put their clothes and personal stuff in tupperware and blocked off the basement.

I think if there is a basement area that you can put your personal stuff in and any furniture or stuff that you care about, that'd be best.

Beds, linens, towels, basic kitchen stuff, basic living room and dining room and office. That's better.
posted by k8t at 8:22 PM on April 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

In the case of a sabbatical situation, I might actually leave up some decor (still keeping it minimal and definitely not anything hugely sentimental), and definitely yes to cleaning supplies, trash cans, not your personal pillows but some basic guest ones, towels and bedding, and probably basic toiletry supplies if you have them to leave out - liquid hand soap, body wash/shampoo/conditioner, shower organizer thingy. You might find them all shoved under the bathroom sink afterwards, but there's no harm in that.

Also definitely create an instruction binder with details for operating any appliances you do leave there, even the very basic stuff, just to say you left documentation for everything in case it's broken when you get back.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:36 PM on April 29, 2019

Sabbatical, you say? Be on the lookout for David Peritz, aka "The Professor Who Came to Stay—and Wouldn’t Leave" (But you probably already know that)
posted by dum spiro spero at 8:52 PM on April 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm a professor; the vast majority of us who are traveling for work on sabbatical have no time, energy, or interest in scamming anyone or taking their art or doing anything weird. When I've rented furnished places for extended research stays I've appreciated and expected towels, sheets, a place I can write, extension cords/power strips, an easily accessible internet router with information about who to contact if it goes down. I expect a basic kitchen setup, and a way to make coffee.

Things I would use of they were out and no instructions were left about not using them: your printer would probably get lightly used in 1-2 urgent situations, since I'm being honest. I will definitely look at all of the spines on your bookshelf and might read some of your books. I would use your trash bags, dish soap, paper towels, foil, cleaning supplies, and stuff like that. If it ran out I'd replace it, but if it didn't I probably wouldn't think of it. When I have sublet to other faculty on sabbatical in the past, I always left ample cleaning products, and I'm glad I did. I stayed somewhere once that didn't have any cleaning products and I felt resentful having to buy full containers of several different kinds of things in order to keep the place clean.
posted by sockermom at 9:17 PM on April 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oh, the homes I've rented are always totally full. In one place there was a dresser that was half empty, and that was really nice. Having some space to unpack my small amount of stuff and really live in the house is rare, but very appreciated.

If I had a little bookshelf space in a sabbatical house I would be thrilled.
posted by sockermom at 9:22 PM on April 29, 2019

I’ve used several 6+ month furnished rentals while traveling for work and counter to some folks above, I’d say please leave your basic appliances (toaster, coffeemaker, microwave, vacuum, iron, etc.) for folks to use if you can. Like, I don’t expect a Dyson to be left behind, but cheap-ish appliances are great.

Also, I’m always paranoid about messing up dishes and linens, so I usually get a cheap set of each and put the host’s away for safekeeping.
posted by Tiny Bungalow at 9:41 PM on April 29, 2019

I'm a long-term renter of a furnished apartment and I like how my landlord left it: fully furnished with anything durable (including pots, pans, trash bins, certain kitchen appliances, stepladder, broom, etc.) but all storage for clothes, toiletries, and other personal items was completely cleaned out and the only art on the wall was generic (mirrors & such).

I will also say that, over the course of the last few years, I've definitely broken the odd mug/plate, along with causing noticeable wear to the cookware & couch & such; fortunately my landlord is reasonable about it - regular wear & tear is definitely more noticeable when it comes to smaller consumer goods than it is for large structural elements of a place, and I'd temper expectations about that. Don't leave anything special where you'd be upset if it came back more used or broken.
posted by mosst at 7:17 AM on April 30, 2019

I've rented my place long term a few times, and each has been a different negotiation in terms of what does/doesn't get left out, with me being adamant about a few things such as:

- no, I'm not moving my bed (it's a good bed)
- no, I'm not moving my couch (it's a good couch)

As for smaller items of value, anything that really matters to me, I move (or hide). As for stuff of mine that just isn't relevant to a renter but that I don't want to take with me, it's always been part of the deal that a certain chunk of the space remains mine for storage purposes.

And for the record, over five (six?) extended sublets my worst loss has been an old-school stainless steel frying pan I'd come to like. In other words, no big deal. My experience with people is that the vast majority of them are pretty good with stuff by the time they achieve adulthood.

And finally, I always leave ample cleaning supplies. Why would I want to dissuade someone from cleaning?
posted by philip-random at 11:19 AM on April 30, 2019

As a renter, things I've found unexpectedly useful: manuals for appliances (how do I set the clock on the cooker?), spare light bulbs and fuses, extra set of keys, broom/shovel for clearing up after the foxes have got at the bins...
posted by offog at 3:04 PM on April 30, 2019

I used sabbatical.com as a renter, for a year, a couple of years ago.
They left everything: dishes, pots, pans, linens, towels, hair dryer, some cleaning supplies, take-out menus, etc. They left a building laundry card with a little bit of money still on it and invited me to use it up. There were some toiletries in a bathroom drawer that of course I did not use. They even left umbrellas and slippers in a basket by the front door, and asked that people not wear shoes in the house (common practice to ask for shoes off indoors, in NYC like other cities) though no one I ever invited over used the provided slippers. I did enforce the "shoes off" policy as requested.
They asked me not to access their valuable LP record collection, which was lining an entire room, and which I didn't touch. They also left one small office room locked, where they stored valuables they'd removed from the shelves, etc. -- it was nice that I did not have to worry about accidentally breaking something valuable. Perhaps they had private papers etc. in there as well. This was in a smallish NYC apt. so maybe 20% of the space was locked away. I of course agreed to the locked room when I signed, and I have heard of this in-home storage practice in other academic sublets, too.
They also asked me to collect any mail that escaped their mail hold and let them know about it, which I did, every few weeks. I felt free to contact them on email with questions about the finicky TV set up. It was nice having a friendly, semi-personal relationship with the apartment owners.
posted by nantucket at 4:15 PM on April 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

« Older Concepts that are blue   |   Where to park a large sum of money while we shop... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.