Letting in December: The Highs and Lows

Are the rumours true? Is December really the worst time to let your property?

It is true that the rental market certainly slows down significantly in the lead up to Christmas. Tenants are more likely to be looking to go home for the festive season than for their next home and landlords are aware of this, so you’ll see fewer properties advertised to rent in December.

However, if you find yourself with an empty property this winter despair needn’t displace your festive cheer just yet! We have compiled some top tips on how to let your property in the quieter month of December.

Avoiding the void

A void period, where your property sits empty, is something that all landlords want to avoid as these periods can be expensive, due to having to cover the lost rental income. This is also not the best time of year to have your property sitting empty, as the weather can cause problems, such as frozen pipes bursting or storms damaging the roof, and you want someone there to raise the alert as soon as possible.

However, if you do find your property empty in December, try to take advantage of it:

  • Carpets. Hire a DIY carpet cleaner and give the carpets a thorough clean. This will make a good impression on potential tenants viewing the property and will help them last longer 
  • Paint. Take the time to give the place a spruce up if you need to!
  • DIY. Any little things that need fixing? Maybe the kitchen tap needs a new washer or there’s a crack in the plaster that needs seeing too. Take the time to catch up on these little tasks when you don’t need to negotiate a convenient time to do so. You can use Mashroom to find the right person for the job if you can’t do it!
  • Clean. Take the time to get really stuck in! If you can afford to do so, hire a cleaner to give the place a thorough deep cleaning – future tenants are bound to have their heads turned!

But, while that makes the most of a void period, you still want to avoid it as much as possible. So, what can you do to ensure your property is filled, warm and generating income during the winter months?

When can I move in?

It might seem like obvious advice, but it’s essential that when you advertise your property to let in December that you state that the house or flat is available before the new year. 

There’s a lot you can do to make your ad stand out, but making it clear your property is available before Christmas or the new year is key at this time. Potential tenants property hunting before Christmas will often assume that a property is being advertised for rent from the new year onwards, so be sure to clearly state in your advert the move in date, or the immediacy of the availability of your property, for the best chance at avoiding a void period.

Due to the fact that there are fewer properties available to rent in December, people who are looking to move sooner rather than later will be looking out for the magic words ‘Available to move in before new year’.

Consider the short-term

Although it might not be your first choice, it could be worth considering taking on a short term let to fill the gap through the trickier-to-rent winter months, though if you have a mortgage you will need to double check if your lender permits short term lettings first. If you’re unsure, it’s worth calling your lender – better safe than sorry!

If you live in an attractive or desirable city, town or countryside setting, you could also think about letting your property as a holiday home over the Christmas period. Again, be sure to check if you need extra permissions to do this beforehand, and get familiar with the rules and regulations around turning a domestic let into a holiday property.

If a bit of extra reading doesn’t put you off, it could be time very well spent as holiday lets yield significantly higher income over short periods than regular lets do.

Why it’s not all bad news for landlords in December

December gets a bad rap in the rental world, but there are some things that actually make it a great time to be letting out your property.

Just as there are fewer people renting properties than at other times of the year, there are also less properties available to rent in December. Many estate agents and landlords shut up shop in December, meaning that those searching for a home have fewer options of where to look, in turn making your property more likely to be chosen.

Tenants who are house hunting in December also tend to be searching more intensely, meaning you will likely be dealing with people who are serious about moving and motivated to find somewhere quickly rather than fielding enquiries from those who aren’t actually that sure about renting. Don’t skip your due diligence though – make sure you still reference them!

The trend in the market at the moment is still that tenants searching for a home outnumber available properties, which has also led to an overall reduction in void periods in the UK properties, meaning the odds are in your favour to find tenants, even in the quieter months.

Keep the Christmas cheer!

Whether you find yourself unexpectedly tenant free in December, or if you’re just planning to let your property in December, you might find it’s not the dead zone many landlords fear it to be. 

With the right kind of advertising, some extra incentives for tenants to pick your property, and careful consideration of all of your letting options, Christmas could come early when you let your home in December!

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