What Is A Void Period?
Quite simply void periods are when the tenancy has come to an end and you as a landlord have not found new tenants to move in, so effectively the house is empty and there is no rental income.
Do Void Periods Happen Often?
The short answer is if the house and the tenants have been managed correctly then the chances are minimal however there are certain times where this is unavoidable and there may be short periods in which the house is vacant.
Can Void Periods Be Minimised?
The answer to this is yes there are some steps that can be taken by the landlord to try and minimise void periods.
What Steps Can I Take To Minimise Void Periods?
Build A Relationship
Keep in regular contact with all tenants and their intentions, if you have a good relationship with the house then you are more likely to be in the know and be told in good time if the tenants are interested in signing another tenancy agreement.
Have A Good Tenancy Agreement
Make sure that your tenancy agreement at the start clearly states that the tenants will need to give the landlord two clear months notice this is a must. This will give the landlord time to find new tenants.
Use A Good Letting Agent
The letting agent will keep in contact with the tenants and the landlord. As soon as the tenants have given notice they will take instructions from the landlord and immediately start to market the property to minimise any void period.
Maintenance and Repairs
Keep your property in good condition as this will minimise any unnecessary time at the end of the tenancy agreement, thus meaning that new tenants can move in quickly once found without any delays. If you are using a letting agent then make sure that you are kept informed of any repairs.
Try to let your house with a 12-month tenancy agreement this will give you security for this period. A 12-month contract will give you at least 10 months of security. Some tenants want a break clause within the tenancy agreement at 6 months, it is your discretion to agree to this or not. If you are using a letting agent then give them specific instructions regarding the term in writing to avoid any confusion.
New Tenant Viewings
If your tenants do decide to leave and you are managing your buy-to-let yourself then arrange a meeting with the current tenants and inspect the property for viewing purposes.
You will have to show prospective tenants your house and it must look right. Make sure your current tenants understand this and the house is clean tidy. Beds should be made, front/rear garden clean and swept, kitchen tidy with washing up done, the flooring spotless i.e. carpets vacuumed and wood flooring mopped.
You may also want to make sure that all windows are sparkling as first impressions are key to securing a new tenant quickly to reduce void periods. If you are using a lettings agent then they should as proper practice carry out an inspection and advise the same.
It is not always possible to guarantee void periods but you can take action to reduce them. Some letting agents offer a Guaranteed Rent Scheme which will ensure the landlord receives rental income despite void periods.