Unfortunately, no matter how much landlords and property owners try to avoid them, void periods are a part of property cycle, and most landlords at some point will experience them, face losses of financial revenue.
While it’s somewhat inevitable that void periods will occur at some point, landlords must still try to reduce their duration and frequency as much as is possible.
Below are a set of easy and efficient tips to help keep properties occupied for the longest period possible.
Before a new tenancy starts
Set your priorities
Prior to the start of a tenancy, it is important to get the right tenants in to reduce the chances of void periods. A good choice of tenant can reduce void periods, and long- term tenants generally bring more security than short-term lets. If you are able to establish good communication with your tenants, you can strike up a long-term relationship with them. This not only brings you greater financial security, but also peace of mind that your property is being well-looked after, and can mean you can reduce the number of periodic inspections.
Offer the best deal
For many people, the amount of rent can often be the most important factor when deciding on whether to go with a particular property. In order to minimise void periods, make sure the rent you charge is fair and matches up with the average rate in your area. Research rent rates of letting agencies and the average rent in your area and adjust your rent accordingly. Setting your rent lower than the average will likely attract more applicants, as tenants are always looking for good value, whereas higher rent can make your deal less attractive and result in longer void periods. As a landlord, its about striking a balance between long-term and short-term gains, and sometimes holding out for more money may bring you higher returns, but that may be offset by the void periods.
Carry out an inspection after a tenant moves out
It is very important to make an impression during viewings, check the condition of your property after your previous tenants have moved out. Arrange a property inspection before they leave so you can make sure the property is in an acceptable state before giving back their deposit, and if there is damage, make any necessary repairs. You can do these yourself, but it highly recommended to hire a professional company to do an inventory check.
Once the tenant moves in
As previously mentioned, if you have secured a long-term tenancy it’s important to establish a good relationship with them. Communication is key to building and maintaining a good relationship. Your tenants should feel free to ask you questions and expect to get a reply. Communication should be positive, polite and respectful. You must also deal with their issues if they are reasonable, if something is broken, or there is a defect with the property, you should deal with the matters promptly.
Once the relationship has been established you might want to arrange a visit your tenants to show extra support, however, make sure that your tenants are okay with this and give them plenty of notice.
In case of a void period
Planning & budgeting
The best time to start planning for a void period is not at the end of a tenancy, but rather at the beginning. You should ensure that you make provisions for void periods, so you are in the best possible situation to be covered for the loss of income. On average, properties are rented for 11 out of 12 months, therefore as a landlord you need to make sure to budget for at least 1 month of potential void period.
By keeping your finances on track, you will be able to forecast when your finances will be tight and when you will have extra money. These steps will enable you to face void periods reducing financial risks involved.
When tenants announce that they will be moving out, here are some tips on how you should proceed:
1: If your tenants give you enough notice, start conducting viewings immediately. However, it’s vital to make sure your tenants are on board with this, and don’t forget to give your current tenants plenty of notice beforehand.
2: If you are not able to conduct viewings until the end of the tenancy, start marketing your property as soon as your previous tenants move out. Make sure you have professional property pictures ready to upload to your online marketing portals such as Zoopla and Rightmove.
3: Prepare all the necessary documents (e.g. energy performance certificates) and make sure that if there is damage to your outgoing tenants pay for any needed repairing.
Void periods happen to almost every landlord and, if not properly planned for, can cause setbacks in your financial forecasts. It is very important to have a plan of action before, during and after the tenancy. Keep your property in good shape and pleasant to live in before, during and after the tenancy, whilst also setting a reasonable and competitive rent. Provide high quality customer service to build strong relationships with your tenants, and you likely reap the benefits of long-term rentals.
Don’t forget to always have a plan and a budget that will prepare you for any unexpected events.