It’s the New Year and your end of 2016 review showed you your tenants were all paying on time and looking after their home – your property. But then, disaster, one of your long-term tenants has handed you their one month’s notice to vacate!
While the reason for their decision to end the tenancy may be a wonderful one for them, all you know is that you need to get a new tenant signed up for your flat. Why? Because empty buy-to-let properties are expensive to run.
“All the costs a tenant covers – mortgage and utilities – when they’re in contract, still need to be paid when a residential property is vacant,” said Marylebone estate agent, Kubie Gold Associates. “On top of that, you’re probably going to have to spruce the place up for viewings from prospective tenants, adding to your expenses.”
The best thing to try and do in this situation is to get a new tenant in, fast. Of course, you want a tenant as reliable and easy to deal with as your previous one was. And luckily, demand for rental properties is meant to be sky high, right? But still, in order for your property investment to do its job, you need tenants in there, living in a nice home and covering all your costs.
This may sound like a simple job, but sometimes, it’s easy to rush headlong into a new situation without thinking things through and getting organised. But don’t worry, this organisation doesn’t have to be a big deal, here are the key details you need to organise in order to keep your BTL property empty for as short a period as possible.
- Confirm and then double check dates with your current tenant. A phone call, followed by an email will suffice here. But, you need to be sure you know when they’re leaving and how that affects rental payments, inspections and your ability to have any work done ahead of new viewings – if that’s the route your choosing.
- Book any external companies or workers in, as soon as you have confirmed the date your tenant is leaving.
- Get in touch with your go-to letting agent/s. Remember, provided there’s a ‘no find, no fee’ policy, you don’t need to show loyalty to a letting agency and can advertise with more than one at the same time.
- Once viewings are beginning to be booked, contact everyone who needs to know. If the viewings are being conducted while the current tenant in still in situ, give them as much notice as you can.
“A good BTL landlord is always organised,” said Assetgrove. “They know all the details of all their properties and tenants, and understand the importance of keeping on top of all the details when it’s time for a new tenant to move in.”
If it’s essential that your BTL property isn’t vacant for long, then take action.
- Advertise at a sensible rent – don’t sell your property short, but price it attractively.
- Consider taking council tenants or pets. There’s always a shortage of rental properties for both these groups so you’ll be sure to attract a lot of attention.
- Advertise online on Gumtree, or at a local hospital. Both these options are filled with people searching for the right rental home, so your ad will get plenty of traffic.
“While getting a tenant quickly to keep your vacant period as short-as-possible is a good strategy, there are other things to consider,” said Robert Holmes. “You need to make sure you get a tenant you’re comfortable with and feel you can trust to pay on time and look after your home. And sometimes, that can be worth waiting – and paying – for.”