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How Do I 'Avoid the Void' in Property Rentals?

Updated on November 24, 2017
Stella Kaye profile image

Stella is a full-time professional landlord and property developer with fourteen years' experience. She is based in the UK

A Full House is a Happy House

Avoid the void
Avoid the void | Source

Vacant Properties Drain Money Away Like Water

To avoid long void periods between tenancies the wise landlord will need to adopt similar strategies to a seller staging their house for a possible sale. It may be even easier as unless you let furnished accommodation there would normally be no furniture to work around or personal clutter to clear.

Remember time is money. It's always wise to work out an affordable budget first, before embarking on any serious scheme of redecoration. Don't forget to allow for the fact that the house is empty and will be bringing in no rental income but you'll still have to pay the mortgage/loans, insurance, gas/electricity standing charges etc.

Remember to avoid the void at all costs! If you set the rent too high then your house could still be standing empty however good it looks so as a landlord you must be prepared to do a bit of homework first to see what rent similar properties are achieving in the same location. Be prepared to drop the rent slightly for long term tenants and be flexible but don’t be so desperate to fill your empty property that you rent it to the first person who comes along without doing the proper background checks first.

Empty Houses Are a Real Risk from an Insurance Perspective

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Improve Your Rental Property Swiftly to Avoid the Void

There's no point in redecorating if the kitchen units are obviously beyond repair. If the cupboards have obviously seen better days then think about replacing the doors if the carcasses are still serviceable. A fresh coat of paint works wonders and can give a new lease of life to a dark and dated kitchen but the cupboards still need to be functional.

All appliances, fixtures and fittings included should be functioning efficiently and safety should be paramount.

Cover-up jobs will just make matters worse and will only succeed in putting off otherwise enthusiastic renters. A rental property should ideally have that ‘ready to move into’ feel when you show prospective renters round.

If you can't afford the financial outlay to carry out everything all at once it would perhaps be prudent to deal with one room at a time but don't postpone letting the property until a later date. Mortgage arrears will soon build up if you are not careful. For a rapid turn around between tenants just concentrate on making the property as neat, tidy and inviting as possible, including any outside areas and walkways. Always make the best use of natural light and colour schemes to give an illusion of space.

Whatever the internal proportions of the property, a home with adequate storage will always appeal. Built-in furniture fitted in awkward corners can often open up space that would otherwise not be utilised. Clutter and debris remaining from previous tenants must be cleared away completely for all viewings and everything should be sparkling clean.

Bathrooms and kitchens are where most of your budget should be spent. A gleaming white bathroom suite and shiny taps will always impress. And a kitchen with adequate worktops will be sure to please. Make sure that tiling is spotlessly clean, free of all unsightly mould and recently re-grouted. If the colour or design of your tiles is obviously dated, then a can of tile paint works wonders and gives a fresh new look with minimum outlay.

Bright and shiny stick-on vinyl floor tiles are inexpensive and cost-effective in time and labour; they're great for transforming dull and dingy rooms. Rip up old carpets that have seen better days and replace them with floor tiles to give a fresher appearance. Carpets in bathrooms are a definite no-no.

Most D I Y materials such as tiles and flooring are relatively cheap and as long as you hire a competent person to fit them, you'll soon acquire an attractive restyled bathroom that looks appealing.

A fireplace is the focal point of any living area and can make all the difference between a warm, friendly atmosphere and one that is cold and uninviting. And if the fireplace is never used an attractive pot plant set back from the hearth will look inviting.

Subdued lighting, attractive light fittings and neutral decor will all add to the feeling of a bright and airy living space and a place your tenants can turn into a home; this can all be achieved with very little financial outlay.

Dark gloomy hallways and corridors with no natural light could spoil an otherwise immaculately presented home and make it appear lacklustre and unattractive as soon as you set foot in the door. A fresh coat of paint in bright, cheerful colours, transforms the whole atmosphere and welcomes your prospective renters immediately.

You Can Hold the Key to Successful Lettings and Avoid the Void

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Make sure your properties go up in value and not in flames!

— Stella Kaye

Landlord Advice and Discussion

Arrange Block Viewings to Gain More Interest and Avoid the Void

Why not do a block showing on your rental property? This will give you an opportunity to draw up a shortlist of the most suitable tenants.

There are a wealth of magazines nowadays from which to gather home improvement ideas and highlight ways to show off rental property to its best advantage. If in doubt a ‘coffee and cream’ look will always please and tenants will know it won't clash with their existing furniture. White ceilings enlarge a small room, enhance any colour scheme and show any interior space to its best advantage however small. Brilliant white emulsion for the ceilings and magnolia for the walls never fail to impress.

Make sure any trace of pet smells and their associated odours are completely banished when it's time for a viewing. Get some plug-in air fresheners to add to the pleasant feel of a well-cared for home.

Accessories such as floral arrangements and a few classy ornaments dotted in strategic locations around the house can also add to an overall pleasant feel to the property. Mirrors too, give the illusion of space and combined with clever lighting they lift a plain and basic room into something out of the ordinary.

And finally, don't forget the exterior and the garden. Ensure your rental property has some ‘Kerb appeal.’ Outside lighting, a few paving stones or perhaps a tasteful water feature will easily create a delightful patio area. Neat, tidy gardens and well-kept boundaries show that your house is looked after and add to its charm without any vast expenditure.

When you've done all this, go outside, come back in and imagine you're a prospective renter. Would you be prepared to live in the house yourself? Emphasise the advantages of living there and the plus points about the area and mention them during your viewings and don’t forget that even with the help of a lettings agent, the best person to state the plus points about your property is you!

Advice on Avoiding Void Periods Between Tenants

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© 2016 Stella Kaye

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