Long Vacancy Periods: The Bane of Every Landlord

building apartment

While owning a rental property is a tried and tested method of building wealth, it comes with a fair share of risks and challenges as well. Other than handling maintenance and screening out problem tenants, perhaps what every landlord worries about most often is the possibility of long vacancies. Empty properties earn nothing; they are more of a liability, as you still have to keep them in good condition.

If you suddenly find yourself with a vacant rental property, you have to act fast. Every day that passes by is a lost opportunity to earn money, while the bills continue piling up. So how do you quickly find new tenants?

building apartment1. Consider renovating 

A recent vacancy is the perfect time to fix and improve a property. This has two benefits: you have an easier time attracting new tenants, while getting a good reason to raise the rent. Spruce up the outdated kitchen, tear off the old wallpaper, and maybe even start landscaping – if you plan it right, it will be well worth it.

2. Hire a letting agent

If you have multiple properties to take care of, you might not be able to spend enough time on vacant rentals to get new tenants fast. Think about getting help from groups like Gordon’s The Online Estate Agent; they can handle the marketing and screening, while charging a fixed fee for their services.

3. Review your prices

Perhaps your tenants are leaving because your rent is far too high compared to the market average. No matter how much they like staying at your rental, most people will always look for a better deal. See if your competitors are undercutting you by a large margin, and consider lowering your rates.

4. Offer long term lease agreements

Want to attract good quality tenants and keep them for years? Then you might want to start offering incentives; for example, a significantly reduced rate, free cable or Wi-Fi, or lowered utility bills if they agree to a two-year rental. This is incredibly effective, and is much less expensive than a long vacancy.

Ideally, you will find someone within a month of your rental’s vacancy. Make sure that you do not compromise, however, as even a few months of vacancy are preferable to a problem tenant.

3 Comments

  1. Considering how criminally exorbitant the housing prices are in London, I am surprised landlords are having difficulty at all with finding tenants. Most people simply cannot afford their own homes, so what choice do they have but to rent? Then again, they might be moving out of the city and just commuting every day too.

  2. I once had a rental stay empty for eight months, before I just sold it off for good. It was a complete nightmare, and it severely hurt my cash flow for that year. Nobody wanted to stay in it for some reason, despite it being a great property, in a good neighbourhood, at a decent rate. My daughter jokes that it was haunted. Who knows?

  3. ^ To the above commenter: Sorry to hear that, but are you sure that you are not glossing over anything? I find it hard to believe that a rental such as you described would stay vacant for that long. In that scenario, I would strongly consider getting in touch with a local agent and asking them what in the world was wrong with it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *