Avoiding the Void

Avoiding the Void
Added on August 6th 2019

For landlords, any time when your property is not tenanted is bad news. Not only are you not collecting rental income, but you could also still be paying certain costs such as mortgage instalments, ground rent and insurance, as well as council tax, gas and electricity services.

If you’re a landlord, you’ll be keen to avoid these periods at almost all costs. Of course, tenants do move, but hopefully you’ll always have new occupants waiting to move in. One way to avoid void periods is to make sure your tenants want to stay in your property for longer.

Keeping tenants in your property for longer

Every time a tenant gives their notice in, you’re at risk of a void period, so a good way to keep the place occupied is to keep your tenants happy. Here’s how.

Respond to queries and problems ASAP

Whatever the problem is, be it a broken showerhead or unreliable broadband, make sure that you’re on the case.

Be flexible and understanding

If you’ve had great tenants for a while and they want to get a small dog or paint their walls a different shade, work to achieve a compromise.

Keep up with maintenance

Long-term tenants deserve to live in a well-maintained home, so make sure the décor is fresh, the exterior paint and woodwork is inspected and repaired if necessary and update equipment and fittings as they get a bit tired.

Make small and infrequent rent rises

As the cost of living rises, you can’t always avoid raising the rent, but don’t ever go above the market rate. If you can avoid it, maybe because you’ve fixed your mortgage at a lower rate, for example, then do so.

Offer longer tenancies

Many tenants want this sort of security, so if you can offer a two-year contract, you’ll attract stable, reliable and (most importantly) present tenants.

Reducing voids further

It will happen at some point – your amazing long-term tenants will buy their own place, or move away for a new job and you’ll have to find new people. You may have to accept a void period of a couple of weeks now and again, although you can reduce the frequency and duration by following these tips.

Advertise as soon as you receive notice

This also applies to when you first start renting, even if the paint isn’t quite dry yet! The sooner you advertise for tenants, the more time you’ll have to find suitable candidates and check them out.

Get the rent right

Do your homework by looking at rents in your area, especially for properties similar to yours. Ideally, you should ask a letting agent for their opinion to make sure you’re pitching the rent at the right level.

Bring something extra to the table

Promise new tenants that the carpets will be cleaned, the lawn re-seeded and that the front door will be painted before they move in. Then, keep your promises.

Choose the best tenants

Trust your feelings, but check their references! Pick tenants that you think will look after your place and fit in with the neighbours.

Have a system

Tenants don’t want to hang around for long before they move in, so make sure you have a reliable and logical system for sorting all their documents, getting their references and swapping over utilities and keys.

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