When landlords are considering investing in property, they often do back of the envelope calculations to estimate their return. They imagine buying a property for £150,000, renting it out for £750 per calendar month or £9500per year, and generating a six per cent yield.
But this little numerical experiment omits a rather important detail: the very real chance of void periods.
Landlords rarely fill a tenancy year-round, year after year. Instead, there’s usually a gap between one tenant moving out and other moving in, cutting into returns. Some tenants may also become disgruntled or lose their jobs and fail to make rental payments at all.
Landlords, therefore, need to work hard to ensure that they hang on to their good tenants. Renters who pay on time every month for years on end are comparatively rare. Void periods are a real problem.
Having a “happy tenant,” therefore, should be a priority. Property owners need people who are willing to pay them consistently over the long-term for rented accommodation.
Landlords Are Facing Several Headwinds In 2020
Landlords currently face several headwinds that are leading to falling demand for rental accommodation. The first of these is the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. With Britain now set to leave the EU, landlords could see a fall in the number of migrant workers coming from the continent looking for flexible rented accommodation.
Foreign and international students were also traditionally a significant source of demand for landlords and generated high yields. Reductions in the number of foreign students, however, could again leave landlords in a weaker position.
Finally, there is the impact of Covid-19, which could reduce international travel substantially in 2020, leading to lower rates of overall migration and demand on properties.
How Landlords Are Fighting Back
Many landlords, however, are fighting back. They are going above and beyond the call of duty to provide an excellent service to tenants.
In the student market, for instance, some property owners are arranging airport transfers for their tenants. The student touches down at the airport, and a car is there waiting to collect them, all paid for by the landlord.
Other landlords are going the extra mile to make it easier for tenants to pay for utilities, bundling bills into rental prices and taking care of all the admin for them.
At the moment, the rental sector is very much a “buyer’s market.” In the context of multiple global shocks and crises, landlords need to pull out all the stops to ensure that they continue to attract people. For many, this might include things like paying for bills, tacking on extra services and even lowering rental prices in some areas.
Remember, there’s a lot that landlords can do to ensure that they grab the market in their area. Things like offering super-fast fibre-optic broadband, improving furnishings, updating the decor, and managing bills behind the scenes can all make a massive difference.
Landlords can also protect themselves by getting 100% guaranteed rent on their accommodation, even if they experience void periods.