Tenants don’t stay in properties forever and so when they do move out, it’s vital the period of time between their departure and the new tenant moving in is as minimal as possible. This time frame is known as a void period, and is one of the key factors that effects profitability. After all, landlords still have to pay for mortgages, maintenance, taxes, insurance and so on. With a recent survey of 200 UK based landlords finding the average void period at around three weeks per year, we thought we’d share some of our tricks for minimising them…

Do your research when choosing a letting agent

Try not to focus on who is charging the lowest fee when choosing a letting agent. You need to find a trustworthy company who truly understands their local housing market, has a good marketing strategy in place to promote your property and who can attract good quality tenants for you quickly. Ask around for recommendations and do your research… Key questions to consider include ‘Who is the best at letting your type of property? Do they have industry credentials which will reinforce their service, knowledge and professionalism? Do they vet their applicants? How are they going to market the property?’

Advertise immediately

The moment your tenant(s) gives notice to leave, you or your property manager (if you have one), need to be advertising the property for new tenants as soon as possible. Generally, notice periods are just one month so you don’t have very long. Social media, property portals, e-mail sendout’s and your letting agent’s website are all good platforms to use.

Spruce up the property

Rental demand is at an all-time high in Chichester, so your property needs to stand out from the crowd if it is to attract a good tenant quickly. A lick of paint can go a long way whether it’s the front door, skirting boards, garden shed and fencing – you don’t necessarily need to do the whole house. Also think about curb appeal… the front of your property is the first thing a tenant will see on viewings and in photographs. Do you need to mow the front lawn, weed or sweep away leaves by the front door for example? What are the window frames looking like? Other factors to think about include cleanliness, repairs and security.

Set a realistic rental price

Be wary of letting agents who suggest unrealistic rental valuations in order to win your business. If it’s too high tenants won’t be interested, increasing your risk of void periods substantially. Research what is available for let elsewhere to help you decide which agents are being honest with you.

Offer unfurnished

Realistically, unless you’re letting to students most tenants will already have their own furniture – especially families. They will therefore dismiss anything which isn’t offered unfurnished.

Allow pets

Demand for pet-friendly homes is soaring, so much so that we recently wrote a blog about the benefits of allowing pets. According to a recent report by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, 3.2 million households have bought pets over the last year, meaning the country now has 17 million pet-owning homes. Meanwhile, the Dogs Trust found almost 80% of pet owners struggle to find pet-friendly accommodation. This means as a landlord, especially at a time when Covid-19 has fuelled the desire to escape city life for rural living, you can open the door to a far greater pool of potential tenants by being pet-friendly. It may seem a scary prospect, but there are many benefits for allowing all kinds of creatures great and small – within reason of course!

Choose good quality tenants who will stay long term

You want to find tenants who will pay their rent on time and stay long-term. Use a letting agent who will vet applicants on your behalf to maximise your chances of finding the best possible ones. Then… keep them as long as you can by building a good relationship with them, keeping on top of property maintenance and responding to any problems quickly and efficiently. Communication is key in this game!

 

Find Out More

Request a call-back from our friendly lettings team in West Sussex and benefit from a no-obligation expert consultation. Visit Hancock and Partners, or call on 01243 531111.