Landlords – how to avoid the voids by Heather Hilder on September 12, 2018 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 which 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. Maybe the property is somewhat unusual or 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! The best way to avoid 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 ours is generally between 7 – 10 days. Sadly, if moving in a new tenant is carried out too quickly, errors throughout the process may occur, causing untold grief further along the line. 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 easily at night, knowing that they have tenants in their property doing likewise!