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London landlords lost £730m in lost rent last year due to avoidable void periods

Void periods can have serious financial consequences for a landlord. While they are undoubtedly part of running a buy-to-let business, it would seem that some letting agents are not doing enough to minimise the risk of the landlord being caught up in an extended period without a tenant, thus avoiding the associated costs as well.

Research shows that rental properties across London, for instance, are empty for an average of 24 days, costing landlords £730m in lost rental revenue last year. 

The study, undertaken by prop-tech letting firm Home Made, suggests that much of the void periods were avoidable. 

One of the key reasons properties remain vacant is due to the lag time between a tenant handing in their notice and the time it takes a traditional letting agent to find new tenants, according to Home Made. 

With the research revealing that it takes on average more than three weeks for a London agency to let a property from the point they start their marketing efforts, Home Made suggests that some landlords should consider less traditional methods to fill rental properties.

According to the study, there is a six-day delay on average in London to agents marketing a property once tenants have served notice, thereby increasing the risk of a lengthy void period.

Asaf Navot, founder and chief executive at Home Made, commented: “Empty rental properties are hurting everyone. Landlords are needlessly losing value on their investments and tenants are missing out on the home of their dreams.

“Our research shows that inefficient agency models are one of the driving factors keeping London homes unoccupied.

“Landlords are paying agencies for a service and if they are not delivering, they need to hold them to account.

“We’d urge landlords to ask their letting agent for transparency at every stage, from the date their property will be available online, through viewing volumes and feedback, all the way to move-in date.

“At Home Made we make this information readily available for landlords to track so they can ensure that every detail from appealing imagery to negotiating contracts is handled efficiently and as if the property were our own.”

London boroughs with the shortest void periods in 2019

Hounslow

15 days

Camden

17 days

Islington

18 days

Lambeth

19 days

Richmond Upon Thames

19 days

London boroughs with the longest void periods in 2019

Havering

37 days

Bexley

33 days

Barnet

32 days

Brent

32 days

Barking & Dagenham

31 days

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