Void periods are a landlord’s worst nightmare. These are the times when your property is unoccupied, therefore earning you no rental income, but you still have to cover the costs associated with being a landlord, such as mortgage repayments and general property maintenance.
It is highly likely that you will encounter void periods at some point during your time as a landlord but there are things you can do to reduce their frequency. If you plan well enough and follow all the right steps, with a little bit of luck you could swerve void periods altogether.
Make your home presentable
If you want tenants in place, and if you want these tenants to stay for the long-haul, then providing accommodation that is clean, tidy and well-kept will help your cause. It might sound obvious – tenants, after all, would much prefer to live in a nice house than one that is falling into disrepair – but the attractiveness of a property can sometimes be overlooked if complacency hits.
Simple things like ensuring that windows are clean, carpets have been thoroughly hoovered and work surfaces have been wiped down will be appreciated by tenants when they come to view your rental property.
Make yourself available
Your prospective tenants could well be time-poor people who will want to view property outside of normal working hours. You should try, as much as possible, to accommodate this. As long as the viewing requests aren’t totally unreasonable, be as flexible as you can.
If you don’t want to conduct the viewings yourself, instruct your letting agent to do it on your behalf. Make sure that your agent has access to the property at all times so they can carry out viewings at a juncture that is suitable for all parties.
Get the price right
If your rental prices are too high, you risk deterring would-be tenants. If it’s too low, you could be missing out and leaving yourself short-changed. It’s a fine balance to strike. Sometimes, even if you think your property is worth more, it might be worth offering tenants a rent that is slightly below market price. This could work out better for you in the long run. Having tenants in place is always preferable to void periods, so extreme stubbornness on rent is not advisable.
Research the average rents for similar properties in your area – or speak to your letting agent – and set your rents accordingly. Be careful not to price too low, though, otherwise tenants might wonder what is wrong with a property that is going so cheap.
Give your property ultimate exposure
Without doubt, one of the most crucial steps – it’s all very well having a lovely, well-furnished property, but that is of absolutely no use if no-one knows about it. An effective marketing strategy, both through traditional and online avenues, is vital to getting your property seen by the widest possible pool of tenants.
Work with your letting agent to get your rental property the best coverage possible. The more your property gets seen, the greater your chances of filling it with tenants and therefore dodging void periods.
Keep on top of your budget
While you can do all you can to minimise void periods, it is inevitable (especially if you own more than one rental property) that you will experience times when your property is empty. The average void period in the UK is currently two weeks. Not fatal, certainly, but if you don’t have the right preparation in place to deal with these void periods, it could end up costing you.
As such, you should set aside some extra funds in the event of void periods. This will allow you to pay the mortgage and other bills while your property is unoccupied.
At Letting Solutions we take on average 6 days to find a tenant, sometimes much less. Recently, of the numerous properties we rented out over one week, six were let in less than one day.
For more information about letting your property in the West Lothian area, please get in contact with Letting Solutions on 01506 496006. To find out how much your rental home is worth in the current marketplace check out our free online valuation tool.