Landlord With a Void Period? Here's What To Do
Empty properties can be a serious problem for landlords. Read our top tips for dealing with this situation.
It's inevitable. At some point, you'll have an empty rental property. And you'll need to keep your rental income ticking over. The key, as usual, is in the planning. Here are 10 quick ideas to get you out of the void.
- Budget for one month per year void period on each property - so when you do your income estimate, figure this in. A void period counts as a cost, along with insurance premiums, mortgage, maintenance, lettings agent's fees, and service charges (if you're not the freeholder).
- Have a clear idea of your ideal tenant. Or at least, of those things you definitely don't want (like pets). This will save you - or your letting agent - time when searching for a good tenant.
- Spread the word about your rental property throughout the year. Don't wait until your tenant moves out to let friends and family know you've got a great place to let. You never know when your need to fill a void period coincides with someone else's need for a flat.
- Take advantage of an empty place to do regular maintenance and redecorating. It's easier and faster to repaint, fix or replace furniture, and get boilers serviced when the property's empty. You won't have to arrange with tenants to be home or organise key drops.
- Apply for Landlord Council Tax Exemption. Any savings count.
- Review your rent level. Is the property empty because the rent's too high? What are similar properties being let for in the area? Weigh up the cost of a void period against taking a slightly lower rent.
- If you use an agent, think about how well they're performing for you. If they specialise in sales (maybe you've just bought-to-let and stuck with the same agent) lettings may not be their strong point.
- Consider an incentive. You might get more takers if utilities are included or a lower rent for the first three months.
- Check your presentation. If you're showing the property yourself, make sure you're welcoming, no matter what the prospective tenant seems like. And, of course, keep the property clean and tidy.
- Review your landlord insurance. Make sure you've got enough cover for any items such as TVs or fridges, and check you're covered if the property is empty.
Last, but not least, don't - whatever you do - get sucked into taking on any old tenant just to fill the void. You could end up with a much larger problem than a temporary loss of rent.