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Rent or buy?

With more and more millennials opting for rented furniture, it is being seen as a lifestyle shift. However, some have faced hurdles that made them buck the trend

For millennials, renting furniture is like getting a key to a fully functional home. Instead of spending a small fortune on beds, sofas and tables, they can furnish their apartments with a small upfront payment. They also get to swap and upgrade their furniture as and when they like.

However, different individuals have different preferences depending on their choice, convenience and budget. Some are okay with renting while some are not. Patriot spoke to a few individuals, who recently shifted to the city, to ask whether they are happy with their rented furniture.

Furlenco started operating out of Bengaluru in 2012, gradually expanded to Mumbai and Pune and then targeted Delhi- NCR. As per reports, the company saw a 200% rise in sales in 2017.

Rentomojo registered an income of Rs 15 crore in 2017. It also claims to have over 25,000 subscribers. While Furlenco is in five cities, Rentomojo is operating in eight.

Research also claims that the Indian market for furniture rentals is about Rs 5,700 crore.

Shruti Nair, 23, recently moved to the city, and renting furniture was a necessity as her flat was an unfurnished one “and purchasing furniture would have burnt a hole in my pocket,” she says. However, instead of renting furniture from websites like Furlenco or Rentomojo, she went to Panchkuin Road market.

Since the store has a policy of renting out furniture to only army personnel, Nair got lucky as her brother is a commander in the Indian Navy.

“When I was enquiring in Panchkuin Market, the shopkeepers were ready to rent the furniture without any security deposit,” says Nair.

She got a stupendous deal — four deck tables, four single beds and two bedside tables — just for Rs 800 as monthly rent.

“If I had to rent all of this from one of these websites, it would have been much more expensive than the deal I got there,” Nair says.

However, she adds that the shopkeeper had asked for Rs 30,000 as security deposit, but when her brother showed him his credentials, the shopkeeper decided to not take the deposit.

Not only did the shopkeeper waive off the deposit, he also delivered all the furniture at her home. When asked whether her parents supported her idea of renting furniture, she says, “They reiterate the fact that one day I should own a home instead of just renting flats. However, as far as furniture is concerned, there were no issues of that sort.”

For 22-year-old Ira Jha too, renting furniture is a viable option. Shifting to Mumbai was a struggle for this professional but finding the furniture wasn’t.

“Renting is the best idea because you can get rid of it without any hassle and move out whenever you want to,” says Jha.

She has rented wardrobes and two beds, along with mattresses, for her flat in Mumbai. She also points out that she has the luxury to replace the furniture at the ease of a phone call.

Jha is using services of Furlenco and Rentomojo. However, she says that when it comes to customer service, Rentomojo has not been too kind to her. Currently, she’s struggling to replace the sagging mattress and a bed.
“The guy came with the wrong bed and mattress as replacement,” explains Jha. It has been a month since she requested the replacement, however, scheduling a home visit has become a pain. For Furlenco, she says “The delivery was smooth, the furniture is nice and they’re flexible with timings.”

While the millennials got to know about furniture renting websites a few years back. Rakesh Gosai, manager of Lahore Furniture, says that renting furniture is an age-old business.

In a quaint office under Ramakrishna Ashram Marg Metro station, Gosai is segregating some files kept on the table. When he’s asked about whether his shop rents out furniture, he boastfully says, “Of course. We’ve been doing this for 10-15 years now. Even before I started working here.”

He says their clientele consists of mostly army men who come to the city for a short while, and don’t want to “shell out a huge amount of money on furniture.”

Not just furniture, even the appliances listed on Rentomojo are eye-catching. For a semi-automatic washing machine, one can just pay Rs 439 and for a split air conditioner the rent is a reasonable Rs 1,164 per month.
However, for Abeed Khan (name changed), having a rented air conditioner was not all good. He was paying Rs 1,200 every month, but there was the irritant of paying the rent even in winters, when it is not required.
He called up Rentomojo and decided to terminate the plan. However, since the rent was decided as per the plan Khan chose, he had to pay the price difference of Rs 4,000 and did not get back his security deposit of Rs 5,000.

“By adding some amount to the Rs 9,000 that I paid, I could have got a new window AC for my room,” says Khan.

He regrets the decision of renting the AC and says, “In the summers, I will buy an AC and not rent one.”
Similarly, when Khyati Shree, a law graduate, got a job in Delhi, her biggest worry was to find an accommodation in a safe neighbourhood. Luckily, she found one. But the studio apartment that she rented in Mayur Vihar had everything except furniture. So, the next step was to furnish it, without burning a hole in her pocket.

While juggling with the idea of buying furniture, she got to know about websites like Furlenco and Rentomojo through her friends, who had rented furniture for their flats.

“Since the first name I heard was Furlenco, I decided to rent furniture through their website. The prices seemed reasonable and the quality of the furniture seemed fine,” says Shree.

Shree took the Allen Single Studio set listed on the Furlenco website. The set consisted of a single white metal bed, a brown wooden wardrobe, a sleek study table, a black office chair and a 4” foam mattress for the bed, along with bedsheets.

She paid Rs 1,700 upfront and also gave the same amount as security deposit, which is returned whenever a person decides to terminate the plan.

But after 2-3 months, a thought struck her mind — “What if I could just own this furniture?”

Since paying Rs 1,700 every month became a little troublesome, she decided to return the furniture. Then she had to start furnishing her flat from scratch. She began with buying a bed from Amazon for Rs 12,000. She says that the stress of paying rent at the end of every month is now over and she feels “relieved” after paying for it in one go.

“I will always prefer buying furniture. I did not like being dependent on these renting websites. They are just good for helping you start off,” says Shree.

But she thinks that it’s a feasible option for those who are shifting to a new city and are on a low budget. It gives you an easy start and the luxury of having a fully furnished home.

When asked about whether the furniture that she has bought will become a hurdle if one has to relocate, Shree suggests, “You may relocate the furniture or sell it on websites like Olx or Quickr.”