Tenant changeovers can be tricky – from a landlord’s point of view, you probably want to keep the void period between tenancies as short as possible. After all, for every week your property is empty, you’re missing out on rent payments that could be going towards your family’s income, or your retirement, or paying off your own mortgage.
Over time, even small unoccupied or ‘void’ periods can add up to a significant loss of income. But when it comes to the end of a tenancy, managing two sets of renters, incoming and outgoing, can be a nightmare. So how do you time it perfectly, keep your property occupied, and avoid the void?
Be a good landlord
Prevention is better than cure. So if you can keep your tenants for a long time, it pays to do so! Being flexible and communicating well with your renters will keep them happy and less likely to move out. Over time, this approach not only yields the financial benefits of fewer tenant changeovers – it also just means you have an easier life and less landlord stress. Win-win.
Talk to your outgoing tenants
If your tenants are definitely leaving, ask them how they found living in the property, and if there’s any particular reason why they’re moving on. If you had a good relationship, you could ask them if they would recommend any future tenants – perhaps they have friends or colleagues who would be equally easy to deal with.
Budget for a void period
Savvy landlords will already be doing this, but there’s no time like the present to start saving. Be financially cautious and expect to have a void period of one month per year. This way if it happens, you won’t panic and end up lowering your rent unnecessarily or settling for renters who don’t fit your specifications, just to fill the gap.
Make your property an easy sell
If you’re planning to advertise your property, kitchens and bathrooms in particular are more likely to be a deciding factor for renters, so make sure they’re looking their best when you’re nearing the end of a tenancy. And make sure the photos taken by your agent really sell the property – ideally your adverts should be so good they make you want to move back into your property yourself!
Reduce rent and renovate
One of the most common reasons landlords have a void period is to allow them to carry out repairs or renovations. If you want to give the place a lick of paint or refit the entire kitchen, it might be necessary to have your property totally empty – but if there are smaller jobs you want to do, you might be able to carry them out while your outgoing tenants are still in the property.
This is where having a good relationship with your renters really pays off. With a lot of good will and perhaps a reduction in one month’s rent, you may be able to ‘avoid the void’ by doing some repairs while the property is still occupied, meaning it’s ready for new tenants the day your old ones move out.
Check your insurance
Finally, it’s a good idea to make sure your insurance covers periods when your property is unoccupied. If a boiler breaks in an empty house with nobody to discover it, you could be in for a much bigger repair job than you expected. So make sure you know what your insurers will (and won’t) pay for in advance, to avoid any nasty surprises.
Making your tenant changeovers quick and easy is a win-win for everyone involved. While you can’t always ‘avoid the void’ completely, over the long term it can really pay off to think carefully and have a plan that minimises your losses while your property is empty.