Letting agents and landlords should prepare for the risk of heightened void periods in the New Year, according to Tenant Shop.
The average void period was four weeks between January and April 2019 before dropping to three weeks for the remainder of the year to date, figures from ARLA Propertymark show.
Glenn Seddington, managing director at Tenant Shop, said: “Void periods are unfortunately an inevitability for landlords, but it’s obviously important they are kept as short as possible.
“Having the necessary processes and support in place can help to minimise the impact of voids in the first few months of the year when the chances of them lasting for longer is increased.”
“Feedback from our agents and their landlords concludes that the more proactive amongst them utilise this time to carry out productive tasks such as repairs and maintenance, which then in turn helps to reduce the chances of longer void periods occurring in the future.
“The potential cost of void periods for landlords is clear and this means agents play an important role in helping to minimise their impact.”
There are several reasons which contribute towards higher void periods in the first few months of the year.
There is an increased chance of evictions as rent arrears can spiral due to tenants overstretching themselves at Christmas.
Moreover, a lack of funds could discourage renters from moving home meaning that rental properties which are empty at the turn of the year could remain vacant longer than usual.
The summer months tend to be more popular for moves due to better conditions for property viewings and moves, whilst there is a huge amount of activity in the student lettings market between August and October.
With most tenants on 12 month contracts, the chances of these trends becoming set annual patterns also increases.