The DPS has assessed the void periods – time when a property is empty of rent-paying tenants – from across 597,753 deposits it holds on rentals in the UK. The exact cost to landlords of rental voids is not recorded, but online letting agent Upad.co.uk calculates that more than £3bn is lost each year.
The figures also point to huge regional differences throughout the country – in one district two thirds of available rental properties were empty for more than three months.
Two of the ten worst areas for empty properties were in Lancashire. However the South was also badly hit, with areas in Surrey, Essex and Hampshire amongst the worst. In some areas 50% of rental properties have been empty for more than three months.
Kevin Firth, Director of The DPS, said: “Many landlords market their properties very effectively but the evidence we have compiled in the past two years demonstrates clearly that there is more they can learn to try to decrease void periods.
“In the current market – where demand for rental property far exceeds supply – there is no excuse for allowing properties to remain dormant and not earning income.”
Upad.co.uk has produced a guide of top tips for reducing void periods called Avoid The Voids. These include:
– Be seen; use the internet to ensure your properties are as visible as possible
– Advertise with photos; tenants want to see what they are going to get
– Advertise as soon as your tenants leave the property
– Know and exploit the unique selling point of your property
– Keep your rent reasonable
James Davis, CEO of Upad.co.uk, said: “Breadth of distribution is key to letting your property quickly. A third of our tenant enquiries come from the huge portals you’d expect – Rightmove, FindaProperty and Zoopla – but another third comes from the 400 smallest portals we deal with. The internet makes this kind of distribution possible, so that rather than concentrating on one single website, landlords can ensure they’re seen wherever a potential tenant might be looking.”
Areas with highest number of rental properties empty for more than three months
1. Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire 50.0%
2. South Northamptonshire, Northamptonshire 50.0%
3. Ribble Valley, Lancashire 46.7%
4. Derbyshire Dales, Derbyshire 43.8%
5. Rochford, Essex 41.2%
6. Elmbridge, Surrey 41.0%
7. Eden, Cumbria 40.7%
8. Gosport, Hampshire 40.6%
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