Even experienced landlords can suffer with the dreaded void period.
So, so-called accidental landlords, or those with less experience, often don’t know what to do to stop the rot.
It’s costly. It’s frustrating.
But it’s also avoidable.
Take a look at our seven top tips for keeping your buy-to-let property tenanted…
1 Use a good managing agent
Okay, we know: Of course we’re going to say that as a letting agent.
But it’s true. Especially if you fall into the inexperienced landlord bracket.
A good local lettings agent will know their market and be able to pitch your rental property to the right people and at the right price.
They’re also able to screen tenants adequately to ensure you get the best renters who will look after your property and fulfil their obligations.
2 Make your property desirable for tenants
Accidental landlords, in particular, sometimes struggle making their property, which was once their home, attractive for tenants.
And this can mean it simply doesn’t stand out against more established competition in the area.
Your rental property might be to your taste, as it was when you lived there, but in order to make it suitable for different kinds of tenants, you may need to go back to the drawing (or painting) board.
Use neutral colours on your walls, if possible, and lay standard flooring or one colour carpet throughout your property.
If your property is being let furnished, use modern, tasteful fixtures and fittings – or consider offering the property unfurnished so your tenants can bring furnishings to their taste.
3 Always be clean
If you’ve been living in your rental property previously, or it has been through a number of different tenants, there’s a strong chance it’s feeling the worse for wear in terms of cleanliness.
This is when it’s time to bring in the professionals to ensure your property looks its best when being viewed by potential new tenants.
A spotless property really will stand out and it will also show you take this rental business and your tenants seriously.
That can really help you, and your property, stand out when you need it to most.
4 Be realistic with price
Obviously, you want to achieve the best possible monthly rent for your property.
But if you’re currently in the middle of an elongated void period, it could be price that is holding you back.
You’re already looking at ways to make your property visually more attractive to potential tenants as we’ve outlined above.
So, consider your price. Even a 5% drop could help your rental property stand out from the competition and drag it out of a void period which is sure to be costing you money.
5 Offer an incentive (or two)
Renters in 2019 are often a demanding lot. There’s a lot of competition out there, so you can’t blame them.
Your job is to stand out from that competition and offering potential tenants some sweeteners could make the difference.
Staying connected is hugely important to tenants in 2019. But it costs money.
Consider offering a broadband service included in your tenants’ rent, or perhaps pay for their TV licence or a Netflix account if they sign a 12-month tenancy agreement.
A monthly cost of between £10 and £30 for these kinds of services could make a huge difference and help you keep your tenants longer – meaning fewer painful void periods.
6 Be a good landlord
Happy tenants do tend to stay in rental properties longer. It’s a fact.
And the landlord / tenant relationship should always be a mutually beneficial one.
You look after your tenants and they look after your property and pay you on time.
Sounds simple in black and white and, of course, it’s not always that easy.
But from your perspective as a landlord, if you can deal with issues quickly and efficiently, that will go a long way to establishing a solid relationship with your tenants.
We all know rent increases are sometimes required.
But if you have particularly good tenants in place who have indicated they wish to remain in your property long term, weigh up the increase in income from a rent increase against potentially losing those good tenants.
In simple terms: If they’re good tenants, do whatever you can to keep them.