Landlords naturally panic at the thought of their properties being empty for any length of time. So, if you are dreading long void periods and want to avoid them at all costs, then review our top ten tips:
1. MAINTAIN YOUR PROPERTY TO A HIGH STANDARD
It is a competitive market, so tenants expect rental properties to be kept in good decorative order, with up-to-date kitchens and bathrooms.
2. REMEMBER THE IMPORTANCE OF PRESENTATION
As you would when selling a property, take pride in showing prospective tenants the property at its absolute best. That means immaculate carpets, curtains and properly dressed beds (if furnished), almost like a show home. This way, they can see themselves living there, rather than having to do all the imagination work on their own during the viewing.
3. IF YOU ARE HAPPY WITH YOUR EXISTING TENANTS, DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO HANG ON TO THEM
This could involve everything from responding promptly to any concerns that they may raise, to freezing their rent in the event of an emergency. The better your relationship with your tenants, the less likely they are to move out at short notice, leaving your property empty.
4. AIM FOR CONSISTENCY IN THE TYPE OF TENANTS YOU TARGET
Is your property best suited to a young professional couple, a family or a single tenant? There are different demographics in the rental sector and you need to develop an understanding of what sort of tenant your property is likely to attract and go for it.
5. MAKE SURE THAT THE RENT YOU CHARGE IS COMPETITIVE
Charging the right rent makes all the difference in avoiding void periods. Take advice from the local experts on the rental market in the area.
6. BE PREPARED TO ACT QUICKLY WHEN YOUR TENANTS MOVE OUT
You should have all the necessary paperwork such as energy performance certificates to hand and a plan for how best to market the property. Now that so many rental properties are initially viewed online, it is vital to have a set of good quality, up-to-date photographs, along with a video and floorplan.
7. TREAT SHORT VOID PERIODS AS INEVITABLE AND BUDGET ACCORDINGLY
If you plan for your property to be let eleven months out of twelve, that is a realistic expectation in the current climate. You will then be pleasantly surprised when the property is tenanted continuously for years at a time.
8. MAKE SURE YOU EMPLOY AN ARLA/PROPERTY MARK/CMP REGISTERED LETTING AGENT
Unless you are a hands-on landlord who wants to do all the heavy lifting, you will be reliant on your letting agent, first to maintain good relations with existing tenants and then to find you new tenants, as quickly as possible when the property falls vacant. The best agents will try to show your property to prospective new tenants before the existing tenancy comes to an end and they will also have a list of prospective tenants ready and waiting.
9. THINK PETS
If you accommodate tenants with pets, you may find that your tenants are so grateful that they stay for many years. You can increase the rent slightly in the event of a pet being accepted too.
10. TAKE OUT LANDLORD INSURANCE AS A PROTECTION
Remember, the most important thing is to look after your tenant and they will look after you.