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Haig comments on how landlords can best eradicate void periods

29 Oct 2013
Haig comments on how landlords can best eradicate void periods

Douglas Haig comments on how best to reduce or eradicate void periods when you’re a buy-to-let landlord. Mr Haig is MD of James Douglas Sales & Lettings, Chair of the Cardiff Landlord Forum and Residential Landlord Association Director for Wales.

“Voids are your killer and are to be avoided. The first step is to look after your current tenants. The longer they stay in property looking after it and paying the rent the better. Sometimes a business decision needs to be made whether you want to raise the rent but certainly make sure you get repairs done quickly and respond to reasonable requests.  It depends on the demand in your area of course. High demand areas mean you can raise the rent and they will be happy to stay, whereas raising rent in low demand areas is likely to push your tenants to leave.

Different investment types have different timescales.  For student properties for instance, it is not uncommon that the best time to rent for the academic year is anytime from November through to February. In some markets like Cardiff really nice student properties have achieved full rent, whereas in the summer in nearby student area of Treforest that services the University of South Wales, poorer properties only achieve ten months’ rent with the nicer properties achieving that plus half rent over the summer.

Another key is the presentation on the viewings. Current tenants have to give one months’ notice before they leave.  The key is getting a new tenant to reserve the property whilst the old tenants are there. This means the new tenants are referenced and ready to move in within a few days of them moving out.  The current tenants don’t have to let you in to view the property, and when they do, their lifestyle may not present the property in the best light. This makes it very hard for the potential tenant to see themselves living there. On the other hand a good tenant can sell the property for you, we had one where the applicant turned up early and had already had a cup of tea with the current tenant.  By the time our negotiator got there, the tenant had convinced the new person to take it!  We got the tenant a bottle of wine and flowers for that!  The point goes back to having a good relationship with your tenant.

You should always leave sometime between tenancies to go in and do your safety checks and leave time to put things right in case the previous tenant leaves it in a less than desirable state.”

For more information about the RLA please visit their website: and for more information about James Douglas Sales and Lettings please visit:


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