It is a well known fact within the lettings industry that long void periods between tenancies can have a detrimental effect on the overall profitability for a landlord. Whilst a property is standing empty there are a number of expenses that continue to be payable by a landlord and all without a rental income coming in. These expenses can include mortgage instalments, service charges, insurance costs, council tax and gas and electricity supplies.
In our experience there are a number of steps that can be taken to help to minimise void periods and increase profitability for landlords.
Happy Tenants = Happy Landlords
It is inevitable that at some point a tenancy will come to an end as tenants relocate, downsize, upsize or buy their next home. Research from 2016 has established that the average length of a tenancy in the UK is 18 months. At Howland Jones our landlords benefit from longer than average tenancies at 32 months and we feel this is down to our vision to create happy, long term tenants.
A successful tenant / landlord relationship often starts from day one. Prior to the start of a tenancy we work closely with our tenants to ensure referencing is complete preventing any delay to their move. It is strongly recommended that the property and all carpets are professionally cleaned prior to the start of a tenancy. Not only does this enable a tenant to move straight in without issues but it also means that we can insist that a property is returned in the same condition. This goes on to prevent a delay to the tenancy start date for the next tenant whilst work is carried out – it is a continuous circle!
Working alongside a professional letting agent can be a huge aid to creating happy tenants. At Howland Jones for example we offer 24/7 emergency contact for tenants to report urgent repair issues and as members of ARLA (The Association of Residential Letting Agents) tenants can be confident in the service that they receive.
When the time comes and your happy tenant decides to end their tenancy it is essential to be pro-active in finding a new tenant. A study in 2016 found that it takes an average of 22 days to find a new tenant. For Howland Jones, the average number of days for us to find a tenant throughout the whole of 2016 was 18 days, with many instances where tenants were secured in ZERO days!
We start to advertise a property as soon as notice has been received from an existing tenancy which allows at least one month for a new tenant to be secured and fully referenced. As a specialist independent letting agent we maintain a healthy database of professional prospective tenants who are contacted as soon as a ‘matching property’ becomes available. We offer accompanied viewings until 8pm in the evenings to allow tenants the opportunity to view around their working hours and we like to meet every adult tenant who would be moving into the property to ensure the perfect fit for landlord and tenant alike. In most cases new tenants have been secured and fully referenced before the exiting tenant has even moved out.
Landlords can work with their agent to minimise void periods by ensuring that the advertised rent is set at the right level for the current market and that preparations are in place for any decoration / maintenance work that is required.
Occasionally a short void period can be advantageous for a landlord. A planned empty period between tenants allows a landlord to carry out maintenance work required to sustain the standard of property required to attract long term, quality tenants. For this reason it is important that landlords allow for void periods when calculating the possible profitability of their property.
For further information on how working with Howland Jones can help to minimise void periods and maximise profitability please contact Rebecca or Hannah on 01530 271313.