One of the worries that many landlords understandably experience is the possibility that a month or more will pass between lets when their investment property remains unoccupied.
This can be a serious problem that can adversely affect the short-term cash-flow you so meticulously planned as a route to longer term investment success. Even worse, each month during which a property remains un-let represents an 8.3% reduction in revenue – which can be more than a whole year’s yield!
Voids can happen for a number of reasons – a tenant leaving early, prospective tenants letting a landlord down at the last moment, personal circumstances, a glut of similar properties becoming available locally, or a dearth of suitable tenants, which can be seasonal. Perhaps the property is somewhat unusual or is simply too expensive.
Some landlords seek to avoid these void periods by immediately reducing the rent in order to secure a tenant quickly. What a shame – as over a year that loss may be as great as a month’s void, in addition, rents should be rising no decreasing!
The best way of avoiding void periods is to employ a good letting/managing agent whose job it is to plan for such eventualities in advance. A void should never be an insurmountable surprise to them, especially when they know a tenancy is coming to an end. We often have panicking landlords wondering what to do, but fortunately, we always have a ready supply of waiting tenants, we are meticulously aware of current rental values, and can advise on how to present your property so that it lets quickly.
Whilst the national average void period is about 20 days (source ARLA), fortunately, at Oakfield Estate Agents ours is a fraction of this – at just 3 days! Our tenant referencing and other processing procedures are pretty slick, although we say so ourselves, and our greatest delight comes from knowing that our landlords can sleep easy at night, knowing that they have tenants in their property doing likewise!
Neil Newstead FARLA, MNAEA
CEO – Oakfield