How to get your property rented quickly and avoid void periods
How to get your property rented quickly and avoid void periods – our top eight tips
If you’re a landlord, an empty property is quite simply lost income. If you have a buy-to-let mortgage to pay, then the expense is compounded.
Responsibility for council tax also falls on the landlord as soon as tenants vacate although exemptions and discounts may be available depending your local council.
Reducing the time your rental is vacant (also known as a void period) is one of the most important strategies for maximising profitability whether you have single property or large portfolio.
So what are our top eight tips for getting your property let quickly to avoid void periods?
Tip 1: Renew with your current tenant
If you’ve got a great tenant already, why go to the trouble and expense of finding a new one?
This is one of the easiest ways to avoid void periods.
Ask your tenant 90 days ahead of their contract expiration whether they plan to stay another year. Consider offering them a small (or no) rent increase as enticement to stay and get an agreement in principle.
You should ideally leave yourself at least 60 days out from the end of the tenancy to search for a new tenant if your current tenant decides not to renew.
If you know your existing tenants are planning to move out, you can begin advertising your property sooner. That way, you may even have a new tenant lined up as soon as your current tenant moves out, minimising the void period where you’ll be losing rental income.
Tip 2: Ensure the property can be made to welcome new tenants quickly
Performing regular property visits and staying on top of maintenance is part of being a good landlord.
It also means that when the time comes, it should take less time to turn the property around for new, incoming tenants as you then shouldn’t have to be dealing with major repair work costing both time and money.
A lick of paint where needed or perhaps a mild refresh of the decor between the incoming new tenants and the old ones leaving will make the place feel brand new. This relatively cheap and easy fix not only makes a big impact, it could help you secure a better rent price too.
Tip 3: Understand the market to set the right price
The rent prices of comparable local properties will give you a good idea of how much you will be able to charge your own tenants.
It’s important to set the right rent price because asking for rent that is too high will result in less applications, less choice of applicants and a higher chance of longer void periods and the lost income that entails.
The good news is that at present, demand for rental properties is high. In March 2021, Spareroom reported a surge in demand for rental accommodation across the whole of the UK except for London which was down by up to 43%. In 12 key towns and cities rental demand has increased by over 50% year-on-year.
Tip 4: Ensure the property is listed on the major online portals
Getting the most exposure for your property is crucial if you want to let the property fast. Over 90% of tenants now start searching for their next property online. Getting the property on Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation will help generate as many high quality tenant enquiries as possible.
Tip 5: But make sure you create a great listing
A well put together advertising listing for your property will go a long way to attracting a high number of applicants.
Your listing should be accompanied by professional photos and a floor plan to present your property in its best light. With a decent camera and an understanding of how to frame a shot you could always do this yourself but professional photographers will know all the tricks to producing the most appealing images to get your property let fast.
In addition to great photography and a floor plan, you should also consider a 3D virtual tour.
The following stats from 3D virtual tour technology supplier Matterport relate to property sales; but it’s probably safe to say the results will translate into the rental market:
Properties with a virtual tour spent 31% less time on the market.
20% of buyers made an offer after just viewing a virtual tour and not visiting the property, reducing the number of time consuming physical viewings.
Whilst most serious applicants will still want to physically view their potential new home, virtual tours come with the major advantage of cutting down your need to do as many physical viewings. You can then limit these to only the most serious of applicants that by then you should have a good gut feel for if you are managing the enquiries yourself.
All this remains especially relevant as we continue to live with social distancing for a while yet.
Tip 6: Allow pets
Under the new Model Tenancy Agreement, announced by Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, landlords will no longer be able to issue blanket bans on pets.
Instead, consent for pets will be the default position, and landlords will have to object in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant and provide a good reason.
It should be noted that the Model Tenancy Agreement is a Government recommendation. It is not law – although this may change in the near future.
Currently, just 7% of private landlords advertise pet friendly properties, meaning many people struggle to find suitable homes. In some cases, this has meant people have had to give up their pets all together.
With figures showing that more than half of adults in the United Kingdom own a pet and many more welcoming pets into their lives during the pandemic, these changes mean more landlords should be catering for responsible pet owners.
Under the new agreement, rejections should only be made where there is good reason, such as in smaller properties or flats where owning a pet could be impractical. To ensure landlords are protected, tenants will continue to have a legal duty to repair or cover the cost of any damage to the property.
Judging by what you can still read on many landlord and tenant forums, many landlords are reluctant to rent to tenants with pets.
So get more interest in your property by clearly stating the property is pet friendly and mitigate risk by insuring you have a professionally compiled inventory at check-in and that you conduct regular visits and stay on top of maintenance issues. Although you cannot insist that the tenant pays for professional cleaning when they vacate, you can say that the property must be returned in the state that it was at the beginning of the tenancy and deduct from the deposit if necessary.
Tip 7: Ensure the property is clean
A dirty and untidy property will only put off potential tenants when they come round to view it, so it’s important to ensure your property is clean but also clutter-free.
It may not always be possible if you still have outgoing tenants living in the property, but try and ensure any clutter is tidied away so the space is best presented and tenants can visualise themselves living there.
On the other hand, having tidy outgoing tenants in place whilst viewings are happening can make the property look more warm and homely.
As well as attending to the inside the property, you may also want to consider boosting its ‘curb appeal’ by giving the outside a quick tidy-up including tackling any over grown vegetation.
Tip 8: Ensure you can make fully informed decisions when choosing a new tenant
After finding who you feel is an ideal tenant, one thing you should never rush or skimp on is getting them comprehensively referenced. Gut feel is important but don’t solely rely on this.
Comprehensive tenant referencing will allow you to see the truth about their employment status, financial position and rental history. Plus do they have a Right-to-Rent in the UK?
Having this information will validate your gut feel and avoid costly and time consuming evictions down the road or even severe penalties from the authorities.
Conclusion – How to get your property rented quickly and avoid void periods
A vacant property is a major expense for landlords.
By following our recommendations and staying in control you can avoid void periods to maximise your rental income whilst enjoying the reduce hassle and risk that come from having great tenants.
With RentiD and our property management software you can save, money, hassle and risk by:
• maintaining direct communication with your tenants in order to foster good relationships and be pro-active about renewing their tenancy
• getting access to Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation for less to reach a wide market of tenants looking for a new home
• getting assistance pulling together the best possible listing for your property including copywriting, professional photos and floor plans and 3D virtual tours
• getting comprehensive tenant referencing, the collection of move-in monies and professional tenant check-ins with an inventory to mitigate against risk
All in one place and all at fair, High Street beating prices.
If you’re a self-managing residential landlord in the UK why not join our new Facebook group Self-Managing UK Landlord Support here.
As a final note, if you are planning for a property void, or a long period of vacancy is unavoidable – you may want to consider the services of a property management company specialising in protecting your asset through void periods. RentiD recommends smartPROP from Debt Squared Group and Marpol Security – part of our Intelligent Partners network.