Knightsbridge houses for rent. Belgravia apartments for rent. As estate agents in Belgravia, this is our market. Agents in other parts of London and the UK will tell you that ours is a privileged market. Many of the concerns which dog other parts of the UK are simply not an issue in Belgravia.
Nevertheless, there are some things that can’t be ignored. Our principle is to ensure the maximum possible return on investment for our landlords, and that means minimising void periods. A void is a period when there is no tenant in the property, so no income – but the costs still have to be paid. If the property is untenanted for only one day, that day is a void. You’re going to have those days when a tenant moves out, because it’s unlikely a new tenant will be able to move in on the same day.
More concerning, are longer voids. The question is: how can you avoid them? Here are some ideas.
Short-term rentals mean more voids than long-term rentals
If you emphasise short-term rentals, or if you have the sort of property that lends itself more to short-term rentals, you’re going to have more voids, simply because short-term rentals end more often. This isn’t a disaster, because the long-term trend in rents is upwards and history suggests that, when you re-let the property, you can expect to re-let it at a higher figure. When you let a property for a short period, you can cover yourself against the cost of a void by factoring into the rent an extra amount to take care of the cost.
It’s an attractive property. Keep it that way
Many tenants expect, when they move in, to stay in the property a considerable length of time. They don’t want to move, because moving is a nuisance. Keep a tenant in place by making sure maintenance work is done and the property is redecorated in a timely manner and to a high standard. It will pay off in longer rentals. Make sure that, when a tenant calls to say something needs work, the work is done promptly and without inconvenience to the tenant. Tenants who know their landlord listens to them and takes care of them are more likely to want to stay with that landlord.
Within reason, allow personalisation of the property
Never forget that, although you own it, the property is the tenant’s home. Tenants like to be able to do things to the property, turning it into something akin to a home. When you redecorate, canvass the tenant’s preferences and wishes, and do your best to meet them halfway – just so long as doing so does not mean reducing the value of the property in the eyes of other, future, tenants.
Belgravia is an attractive place. It’s the properties that make it so
Empty properties that look good are let more quickly than those that don’t. If a tenant has left, and you are looking for a new one, take a close look at the condition of the property. Has it been redecorated recently? Is it clean? What about the gutters and drains? If there’s a garden, how well-maintained is it? How new are the carpets, and how well have they been looked after? Ask the same questions about curtains.