Friday 24 May 2019 2:42 pm

Gaps between tenancies can be a real money sink. Here’s how to avoid them

Most experienced landlords will know that the biggest real losses come from long periods between tenancies, where they can end up haemorrhaging money if the presentation and marketing of their property isn’t well managed.

The areas that are often the cause of these voids are:

  • Difficulty in access for viewings
  • Poor presentation
  • Too high a price
  • A reactive agent

It’s all too common in Central London for landlords and agents to leave a property on the market for too long without looking at what can be done to reduce the void period. When marketing a client’s property, it is important to first make sure you have keys as the letting agent (simple, but a common mistake) and that the existing tenant allows access for viewings.

It is also crucial to re-introduce yourselves properly to a tenant. In this way, as an agent or landlord, you are demonstrating respect and courtesy about the fact that the property is still very much the tenants’ home for the remainder of their tenancy. A bad relationship with a tenant where viewings are being blocked can easily contribute to a void period. It is helpful to explain to a tenant that if viewings are allowed, then the property is likely to let faster and will mean fewer viewings and disruption in the long run.

If a property has not been cared for by an existing occupant and does not present well on a viewing, it can be much harder for a new tenant to see its potential. Carrying marketing photographs on every viewing to reassure a prospective tenant is helpful to enable them to see what the property will look like after the current tenancy ends. A list detailing all proposed works to bring the property back to standard can also offer peace of mind and reassurance to prospective tenants.

Helping landlords who struggle for time to present their properties well should be part of an agent’s service. Small touches such as an orchid and a few pictures can make all the difference and an important tip is to ensure that beds are made and look neat and attractive.

If a property looks great, can be easily accessed and is having regular viewings but has not rented quickly, the chances are that the price may be too high for the current market. A good agent should always be on top of this. A sensible reduction in price can often be just the thing to kick start a property and get it let, especially in an uncertain economic climate.

If all the above pointers are taken into consideration and your property is still empty, chances are that you have an agent that is not being proactive enough. You should be getting regular viewings and regular feedback with your agent managing the letting process tightly for you. They should be calling you at least once a week to ensure that you have all the information that you need to make a decision of what to do next.

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