Letting agents and landlords should prepare for the risk of heightened void periods in the New Year, according to Tenant Shop.
The average void period was four weeks between January and April 2019, before dropping to three weeks for the remainder of the year to date, figures from ARLA Propertymark show.
Why are void periods higher at the start of the year?
There are several reasons which contribute towards higher void periods in the first few months of the year. There is an increased chance of evictions as rent arrears can spiral due to tenants overstretching themselves at Christmas.
Moreover, a lack of funds could discourage renters from moving home, meaning that rental properties which are empty at the turn of the year could remain vacant that little bit longer than usual.
The summer months tend to be more popular for moves due to better conditions for property viewings and moves, while there is a huge amount of activity in the student lettings market between August and October.
With most tenants on 12-month contracts, the chances of these trends becoming set annual patterns also increases.
“Void periods are unfortunately an inevitability for landlords, but it’s obviously important they are kept as short as possible,” says Glenn Seddington, managing director of Tenant Shop, an Inchora company.
“Having the necessary processes and support in place can help to minimise the impact of voids in the first few months of the year when the chances of them lasting for longer is increased.”
“Feedback from our agents and their landlords concludes that the more proactive amongst them utilise this time to carry out productive tasks such as repairs and maintenance, which then in turn helps to reduce the chances of longer void periods occurring in the future,” he says.
The importance of keeping void periods to a minimum
Void periods can be costly for landlords as they may still have to pay buy-to-let mortgage payments and property running costs while receiving no rent from tenants.
During the first few months of the year, running costs are also usually higher due to the increased need for central heating and lighting.
Moreover, empty properties are more susceptible to theft and unreported property damage so it’s crucial to get them occupied as quickly as possible.
“The potential cost of void periods for landlords is clear and this means agents play an important role in helping to minimise their impact,” Seddington explains.
How to help reduce the impact of the void period
Seddington says, however, that in the current climate it’s more important than ever for agents and landlords to have the relevant cover and void management solutions in place to cover all eventualities and keep costs down.
Tenant Shop offer a suite of products and services to landlords and tenants, including homeowners insurance and energy solutions that can help in void periods.
Their energy void solution offers a streamlined process for managing energy both during void periods and between tenancies helping landlords and tenants. By taking the hassle out of dealing with bills, offering no standing charge for up to 45 days during any vacant period and providing tenants with a choice of tariffs to suit their needs, this solution really has been created with landlords and tenants in mind.
Tenant Shop works with thousands of letting agents across the UK, reducing workload, increasing profitability and providing additional routes to revenue.
Their energy void management solution is fully automated and in partnership with ScottishPower. ScottishPower is part of the Iberdrola Group, one of the world’s largest integrated utility companies and the first integrated UK energy company to produce 100% green electricity.
Notes to Editors
Tenant Shop have been working with letting agents for over ten years. They help reduce workload and improve profitability, providing an award-winning utility management service: streamlining the notification process, resolving billing queries and offering referencing and a unique void solution.
Expert Product Consultants deliver a 5* Trustpilot experience, reducing bills for tenants with choice of market energy switching, exclusive media deals from Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk and a wide range of insurance products.
For further information, please visit: https://www.tenantshop.co.uk/
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