When it comes to your property investment plan, there’s one thing any landlord will want to avoid – void periods.
Unexpected void periods can heavily impact your financial forecasting, putting an immediate stop to rental cash flow and potentially adding additional costs to you, such as utilities, taxes and expenses to remarket.
While you should always have factored in a reasonable buffer for void periods, we explore how you can best avoid your rental property being empty.
Keep your property well maintained
Keeping your rental property well maintained is one of the most crucial factors in avoiding a void period. While a tenant is in situ, ignoring maintenance issues can cause a double problem – your tenants leave as they don’t feel listened to and are dissatisfied – and you end up with an empty property that is not attractive to potential new tenants.
Even if your existing tenants are not raising any issues, undertaking regular inspections helps you to keep on top of any minor problems that, when left, can become larger ones which will end up costing you both rental income and expensive repairs.
Keep an eye on the rental market
Even if you have long-term tenants, it is wise to keep an eye out for typical rents in your property’s location and forecast accordingly.
Often things outside of your control can impact the typical rents achieved in a location – such as supply, economic conditions and the local jobs market. Undertaking due diligence when choosing your investment location can help to mitigate these risks, but if the past year has shown us anything, it’s that things can change quickly.
However, there are some things you can control. If there is a high supply of rental property – make sure that yours looks attractive with up-to-date fittings and, if relevant, furniture.
Consider using a managing agent
If you won’t have the time to engage with tenants or live far away from your rental property, it is wise to consider using a local managing agent. They will help ensure that the property is well maintained by way of regular inspections and can act as a buffer between you and the tenant – arranging repairs, taking care of queries and generally looking after your tenants.
A managing agent will also have a real insight into the local market and can provide you with advice on pricing, demand and things you can do to mitigate the risk of void periods.
Prepare for voids
In some circumstances, a void period will be unavoidable. A tenant may take you by surprise, repairs may be needed, which just cannot take place with tenants in situ, or it may just be unfortunate timing.
When forecasting your income stream for your investment, be sure to factor in a reasonable amount of time where there is no rent coming in and any associated costs. By making sure that you follow the steps above, you can help to minimise the time that your property spends on the market once is it available and ready to let.