January is a time of change, and for making big decisions. A lot of people are keen to turn over a new leaf at the beginning of a New Year, and landlords should be prepared for tenants moving out. Figures provided by ARLA Propertymark suggests there is a heightened risk of void periods between January and April, compared to the rest of the year.
For 2019, the average void period between January and April was four weeks, but for the remainder of the year, the average vacant period was three weeks. While this is slightly alarming for many landlords, it shouldn’t be a surprise. There are many reasons why the initial months of the year are more likely to see void periods occur.
The start of the year is challenging financially for many people
There is no getting away from the fact many people struggle financially at the beginning of the New Year. The aftermath of the festive season leaves many people overstretched financially. This may lead to evictions relating to rent arrears, and some tenants could abscond without paying their rent.
Also, while there is a desire to move and make changes at this time, a lack of finances means many tenants are unable to move out. Therefore, if a landlord has an empty property at this time, they may not be able to fill the vacancy until willing tenants regain control of their finances.
Other times of year are more appealing for landlords
The summer is far more stable for landlords as better weather conditions facilitate moves. Also, autumn is supported by the student lettings market, which ensures there is activity between August and October. Therefore, it is fair to say that better times loom for landlords, but it is vital landlords are prepared to face challenges at the start of the year.
With many tenants holding a 12-month contract, these trends are becoming cyclical, which further increases the pressure landlords face at this time of year. Knowing that these problems lie ahead is one thing, but stopping the problems from arising is another matter.
Landlords should communicate with their tenant at this time. Stay in touch to ensure everything is okay, and that the tenant is happy with the rental property. Making the tenant feel valued can go a long way to preventing them from leaving your rental property.
“While void periods are inevitable for landlords at some point, it is vital they are minimised as much as possible” said Thomas Morris Huntingdon Branch Manager Caroline Woodall. “We work closely with landlords and tenants in the local area, and if you’re looking for support which ensures you remain connected in the local area, we are more than happy to assist you.”
Letting property is stressful, but with the right support, you can make the process easier. If you are keen to improve your letting process, we are happy to help. Book a valuation at a time that is suitable to you or; you can phone our Huntingdon branch, managed by Alastair Smith by calling us on 01480 414555.