Although most properties are letting quickly in the current market, with demand well outstripping supply in most areas, making basic errors can still result in an extended void period.
Having a property standing empty between tenancies is one of the biggest risks for landlords because it’s a double financial loss:
- You’re losing rental income. Even just a couple of weeks without rent coming in could wipe out your own profit for the month.
- You still have bills to pay that would usually be covered by the rental income. That means you’ll have to dip into property reserves or maybe even your own savings, to make sure that things like the mortgage are still paid.
So, here are five steps to take that should ensure you have a quick turn-around between tenancies and don’t lose any more days’ rental income than necessary:
- Keep your property well maintained. The better condition you can keep the property in throughout a tenancy, the less work there will be to do at the end. So:
- Carry out periodical inspections every 6-12 months to check for any maintenance and repairs issues your tenant might not have reported, or we can do this for you with our landlord services
- Always use an experienced contractor who understands the standards that need to be achieved for rental properties to remain legally let
- Ensure problems are fixed properly (and not just ‘patched’) to prevent the same issue coming up again
- Inspect the property as soon as notice has been given. This will allow you or your agent to see what repairs and redecoration might need doing before the next tenancy begins, so you or your agent can book contractors to start work as soon as the tenant moves out. At the same time, let the tenant know whether there might be any deductions from their deposit, so they have the opportunity to put things in order themselves
- Ask a fair market rent. Rents tend to vary and fluctuate less than prices in the sales market, so tenants can easily see when a rental property is overpriced. If you want to charge more than the local average, you need to be offering something more than your competitors, such as extra facilities or allow pets.
Tenants can be put off viewing a rental property that’s even slightly more expensive than other similar homes, so it really is best to charge a fair rent that’s in line with the local average or even a bit less if you want to maximise interest. A quick let at £10-20 a month less than you’d ideally like, usually makes much more financial sense than having your property empty for weeks.
- Start high-quality marketing as soon as possible. You want your property listing to stand out and appeal to as many prospective tenants as possible. That means having lots of professional photographs and a virtual tour.
At Your Move, we approach listings in the same way as our sales colleagues do and offer our landlords all of the above. Every viewing is accompanied, and we make sure every prospective tenant is vetted to make sure they’re the right fit for your property.
If you would like to talk through our marketing package, just contact your local branch and one of the team will be delighted to help.
- Be as flexible as possible. The more flexible you can be about the type of tenant/s you’ll accept, the more quickly you’re likely to secure a new tenancy. For instance, you might ideally not want to take pets, but the reality is that once pet owners have found a suitable home for them and their companion, they often make excellent long-term tenants – and the longer a tenancy, the lower your average annual void period!
One important point to make is, if you’re doing everything properly, there will (and should) always be a short gap between one tenant moving out and the next moving in, usually two to three days. That’s because (as a minimum) the check-out inventory has to be completed, the property may require a ‘deep clean’ and potentially redecorated, and a new check-in inventory should be put together. And if additional works are needed to get the property up to standard, there might be a longer gap between tenancies. This is why landlords should always make an allowance for voids when putting together their property budget.
If you’d like to speak to us about letting your property or have any questions about marketing, just get in touch with your local Your Move branch and one of our lettings experts will be happy to help.