One in five landlords (21%) have to wait more than four months before signing up their first tenants, Nottingham Building Society research shows.
The average landlord has to pay out £2,000 on their first property before they think about finding tenants.
Two thirds (62%) have to refurbish or redecorate the place and for three in 10 (28%) this takes more than two weeks.
Stephen Reade, lettings operations manager at The Nottingham, said: “Becoming a landlord remains attractive for thousands of people, but it is clear landlords need to think carefully before making the decision and also to plan ahead
“Having to wait four months or more before getting tenants in can put a strain on finances and landlords need to ensure they have spare money to invest in their property over and above basic mortgage costs.”
Once tenants are in place the pressure eases. Landlords typically only have one month of voids in a year while nearly half (45%) have none at all.