Void periods drop by 15% in last year

The average UK landlord’s annual void period has fallen by 15% in the last year with as money lost through voids drops 12%, LSL Property Services research shows.

Two-thirds of landlords have properties vacant for only two weeks, costing just £319 a year per property.

Just 18% of landlords have properties vacant for four weeks or more each year.

The average property remained unoccupied for 36.4 days per year but in October this fell to 30.9 days, a saving of £125.

With rents at a record high of £691 per month, this means that a landlord looking to rent out a property now may face losing £702 in rent through voids in the next 12 months – 12% less than a year ago.

Taking this into account, a landlord is looking at an average annual rental income of £7,594.

A landlord looking to rent out a property one year ago would have seen £799 lost in voids – despite a much lower rent of £668 per month.

In October 2009, a landlord’s void adjusted annual rental income would have been £7,217.

David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services, says: “Void periods are a nightmare scenario for landlords. Whilst their property remains vacant, landlords aren’t collecting the rent they need to pay their mortgage each month. But the good news is that void periods are decreasing.

“Tighter lending criteria have kept thousands of first-timers off the property ladder, and most are staying in their current rental accommodation for longer. On top of this, tenant demand has rocketed up in the past twelve months.

“Frustrated first-time buyers swell the rental population, while the supply of properties has been kept in check by difficult mortgage finance conditions for landlords.”

A survey of landlords shows just 18% witnessed void periods of a month or more last year.

Nearly six in 10 landlords saw their properties remain empty for less than two weeks in total, costing an average of £319.

Only 7% of those polled stated they had void periods in excess of 10 weeks, a figure which also includes landlords who were refurbishing their properties.

A total of 88% of landlords expect void periods to be lower than four weeks in the next twelve months, with just 3% anticipating their properties will be vacant for ten weeks or longer.