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How to Reduce Tenant Void Periods

Has your rental property become vacant? Read my 5 top tips for how to reduce tenant void periods and get a new tenant quickly.

With the rental market has been notoriously difficult to make a return on recently, here is how Mr. Budget and I reduce tenant void periods in our rental portfolio.

1. Ask 5 agents advice on rental figures.

To minimise void periods it’s critical to ask for up-to-date rental figures from agents themselves. The agent should be able to give you an ball park figure and then it’s up to you and what works for you. Mr Budget and I discuss these figures, against past rental figures achieved, and the current mortgage payments and expenses. The house basically has to make, say for example, £200 a month, to be worth keeping, in our experience.

It’s all about percentage yield though – here’s how to work it out.

Before we make a decision, we move to step 2, to inform ourselves further.

 

2. Research average rental figures for similar houses in the area.

For this Mr. Budget and I swear by Rightmove and occasionally Zoopla. The information is fresh. The beauty of this kind of site is that you can filter on let, and see how houses of the same type have recently performed. We make notes on the average rents for similar houses in our area, that are in excellent decorative condition, good decorative condition and in poor condition.

3. Refresh your property every time, but agree a budget first.

From this, we access our property, and take a tour together. In each room, we note down what needs to be done, to bring the house up to our agreed rental standard. You can read more about this here:

Rental House Renovation – Make More Money

Next, to inform ourselves further, we have a board meeting! I know, it’s hilarious – but it helps us focus and by doing this we set costs next to each item. As we look at the total costs, we look at things that actually don’t need doing, and are in good enough condition. For example, does the kitchen actually need a full repaint, or is it just a deep clean?

Considering rental figures here is absolutely essential – if you spend to much at this point, you will not recover it through your tenant’s future rent.

 

Consider these tough questions when you are deciding:

  • Is it my personal taste that is leading me to spend this money?
  • Is this update really necessary? e.g. chrome plug sockets. 
  • Can I do this work myself to avoid labour and tradesman costs?

Use a spreadsheet or a notebook to store the information. 

We put this information into a spreadsheet and, since we are both so flexible, it keeps us organised and professional. Being business-like in our approach has helped us significantly increase our rental income – we are now looking at it as a profit-making business.

Next we attach approximate timescales for the needed renovation work of the rental house and we discuss what order tasks could be done in, to hit our target launch date of the rental house.

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Has your rental property become vacant? Read my 5 top tips for how to reduce tenant void periods and get a new tenant quickly.

Reduce Tenants Void Periods

Has your rental property become vacant? Read my 5 top tips for how to reduce tenant void periods and get a new tenant quickly.

Minimise Tenant Voids

Has your rental property become vacant? Read my 5 top tips for how to reduce tenant void periods and get a new tenant quickly.

empty rental house – get a tenant fast


4. Be flexible

You have completed renovations and updates on your rental house – now to avoid long, costly voids, you need to be flexible and adaptable in approach. A tenant may be able to pay £10 less than you are advertising the house for. Are you really going to forfeit say £490 a month, just for £10?

It really is worth working out the potential cost a void,so you can remind yourself of the large figure it is, when you are tempted to be inflexible.

See below for a worked example.

 

5. Monitor progress. If a rental figure isn’t working, change it up.

As soon as your rental property is launched onto Rightmove or whichever site you prefer, track it. One cheat is to use Zoopla. Zoopla is usually used by agents in the UK – the advantage with this site, is that you can actually see how many page views your property has received. Chances are, using the same logic, your property will get a similar amount of views on Rightmove also.

Encourage your agent to keep in close contact, but if they don’t always chase and find out how your property is doing on viewing scores as opposed to page views online. Remember – they work for you, not the other way around, so you deserve, as a customer, great, efficient service. Clear communication here can be the difference between a six month void and finding a tenant within a month.

Questions to Ask:

Has anyone booked a viewing? 

What feedback has been received? 

Have you recommended it to your waiting list? 

 

Has anyone booked a viewing? 

This will tell you if people are prepared to pay the rental figure. They consider it to be reasonable, even before they set foot through your property’s door.

If you have 2 or 3 scheduled bookings in the first week, well done, you have your figure spot on. If you have no interest, an agent might sweet talk you, but you need to be considering what rental figure could work. As long as you are making a reasonable profit, it might be worth dropping it a little.


Example of how you could lower the rent to attract a tenant quickly.

Ideal rental figure.       After two weeks no interest

£520                                     £495

 

Void Period of 6 months – House empty – no tenant   

£520 x 6 = £3120 lost

Void of Period of 2 months. – reduced rent to £495 after 2 weeks. 

Secured a tenant after 1 month (tenant gives 1 month notice to previous landlord. Moves in after 2 months void)

£495 x 4 = £1980 revenue


It really is shocking to see how much voids could potentially cost to us as landlords. Add to this, extras to pay for:

  • council tax
  • insurance
  • water bill
  • standing charges for gas and electricity
  • mortgage interest

By reducing rent slightly, we can really reduce tenant void periods.

 

What feedback has been received?

It is absolutely vital to consider viewer feedback – they are so delightfully honest. After all, they are potentially looking for a place to call their own.

We need to consider their opinions and act if something needs adapting in the property. For example, the tenant might comment that they can would take the property if there was a new back gate fitted. (Their dog would escape if the present one was left on).

Personally, if I thought that the profile of tenant was who I was looking for, for the property, I would agree to this straight away. Then I would ensure the agent liased and ensured we sourced a gate that was suitable.

Another piece of critical advice I want to share, is that the tenant is ‘always right’. Someone I know really gave me this example to learn from. A tenant spotted a leak in the property, and this landlord didn’t believe them or the agent – result – yah you got it – a missed opportunity to secure a good tenant, who would have looked after the building!

 

Have you recommended it to your waiting list?

A good agent will have a waiting list, and one way they can reduce your tenant void periods is to recommend your property to suitable tenants on this list. So you must ask this question, as nearly every time we have had a void, the agent has found a tenant this way.

 

In conclusion

In order to reduce tenant void periods, I think the main takeaway from this should be flexibility. Adapt to your tenants’ ideas or suggestions. Within reason of course, provide them with what they need- if it is a profitable solution. This will help you achieve a new tenancy for your property and it won’t be standing empty, costing you a fortune

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