7 steps to help buy-to-let landlords avoid termination of tenancies
A systematic approach helps reduce costly void periods
The most expensive cost for buy-to-let landlords is a void period. Typically, these occur when a tenancy agreement comes to an end, and the tenant then informs the landlord that they have found a new place to live. While our landlord clients’ void periods are much shorter than the UK average (around 97% of the available properties on our books are tenanted within two weeks as against the average of three weeks), it’s far more profitable for landlords to avoid such void periods.
To reduce void periods at the end of a tenancy agreement, we use a renewal strategy. In this article, you’ll learn about this strategy, and a how it helps to keep your void periods down and your profits up.
1. We customise tenancy agreements where needed
It’s much harder to find a new tenant at certain times of the year, such as around December and January. People are busy doing other things. If necessary and viable to do so, we consider altering the tenancy agreement dates to avoid periods of low demand for rental properties. If the tenant does decide to move on at the end of their tenancy agreement, it should be easier to re-tenant your property.
It also gives tenants some peace of mind: who wants the threat of having to leave their home a couple of weeks before Christmas?
2. If avoidable, we don’t automatically renew tenancy agreements
There are two trains of thought about automatically renewing tenancy agreements.
The first is that if the agreement automatically renews, then it becomes the tenant’s responsibility to terminate. Otherwise, the tenancy will roll over to a new agreement and the same terms.
On the other hand, where tenancy agreements do not automatically renew, it is our job to ensure that the tenant is happy to renew. It allows us to speak to the client, assess and review rents, and consider any regulation or law changes that need to be reflected in the new tenancy agreement.
For these reasons, we think it is better not to automatically renew tenancy agreements. However, sometimes we do continue the tenancy on a ‘statutory periodic basis’ (see below).
3. We avoid month-to-month tenancies
Month-to-month tenancies are bad for landlords. Tenants can leave at very short notice and tend to be the most unreliable. Then there is the danger of that new rental property becoming available around the corner, leaving the landlord so desperate to let that he slashes the rent, encouraging the tenant to move out.
If you want month-to-month tenancies, we would suggest you hire your property out as an Airbnb property. Good luck with that – stories of property damage, illegal raves, and even identity theft appear to be on the increase.
4. We review rents regularly
We are constantly assessing market rents. And we want your buy-to-let property to remain competitive, and profitable. When determining rental prices, we do several things, including:
- Review rental property listings online – sites such as Rightmove
- Call local letting agents
- Assess local economic factors such as investment, the jobs market, and average wages
- Consider general inflation and landlord costs
5. Sometimes we may offer an incentive to renew
While we rarely recommend this, it may pay to incentivise a tenant to renew. Usually, we find that the level of property management and relationship we build with tenants is incentive enough. Some letting agents suggest offering a rent reduction or similar. We believe a better way of incentivising tenants to stay is to offer something beneficial to both the tenant and the landlord. For example, something that makes the tenant happier and increases the value of your property.
6. From day one we work hard to avoid broken tenancy agreements
As soon as we take a new property on our books, or start to market an existing property from which the tenant will be moving soon, we get to work, ensuring that the best tenants are found. Of course, ensuring that the tenancy agreement does what it should is imperative, but if there is one tip that we would give to all buy-to-let landlords, it is to properly vet prospective tenants. Doing so should help you sidestep the five tenant types every landlord should avoid.
7. We follow our tenancy renewal process to the letter every time
It’s essential to have a strategy to deal with tenancies that are nearing their end date. Your property manager here at Ezytrac will execute a tenancy renewal plan, liaising with you to get the best deal in place.
Our systems alert us to your properties’ tenancy end dates well in advance so that we can begin the process of renewal. The following is a simplified description of this process:
- About six to eight weeks before the tenancy end date, we contact the tenant to ask them what their intentions are.
- If they are planning to move, we ask why and take actions where necessary to persuade them to stay (in collaboration with you).
- If they are adamant on leaving (they may have a new job in a different area, or are expanding their family and need a bigger home, for example), then we start remarketing your property to reduce any void periods.
- Assuming they want to stay, we ask if they wish to sign a new fixed-term tenancy agreement
- We review and assess rental prices near your property, and advise whether the rent can be increased.
- We contact you to ensure that you are happy to sign a new fixed-term tenancy.
- If you and the tenant are happy to sign a new fixed-term tenancy agreement. We agree to rental terms and draw up the agreement for signing by all parties.
- If the tenant doesn’t want to sign a new fixed-term tenancy but wants to remain in the property. The existing agreement will continue on a ‘Statutory Periodic Basis’. This means that all the terms and conditions of the original agreement remain in place and are applied, but the tenancy runs from month to month.
Never suffer avoidable void periods again. Contact one of the Ezytrac team today on +44 01522 503 717. And discover why we’re one of the fastest-growing investment property managers in the UK. And why hundreds of buy-to-let landlords have turned to us for the support. They need to manage their property and tenants effectively.
Yours in effortless property management,
Brett Alegre-Wood MARLA MNAEA