How quickly the residential lettings market moves tends to be very circumstantial. Some towns and cities have well balanced demand and supply and properties come on and are taken off the market within a month or so, other properties hang around for weeks on end waiting to find the right tenant. Occasionally though, tenants find the property they want, but they don’t want it quite yet. Whether you should let in advance is always a difficult decision for a landlord.
If the tenants are good and they’re happy to be staying for a decent period of time, agreeing to let to tenants two or three months in advance does mean your property is filled, and you don’t have to worry about void periods. You can use that time to do some long-needed repairs or, potentially, you could advertise the property casually: you may attract one or two lucrative holiday lets to fill the gap.
Make Your Tenants Pay
Another option is to request that your tenants pay rent on the months they won’t be using. This could be a reduced rate to help you cover mortgage interest, or it could simply be a guarantee that your tenants will return. Either way, if your tenants are paying rent but not in the property, you should investigate your need to take out unoccupied property insurance. Squatters are a real risk if your property is left unattended for any length of time.
Student and Seasonal Lets
If you haven’t been letting a particular property for long, a request for an advance let could demonstrate that you’re hitting a different market than you thought. Student lets usually run from September until June, holiday lets from around May until September. It could be that your property has unsung potential: talk to your tenants about why they want a later date and find out!
It’s a tough call to make when looking at advance tenancies and, usually, some payment agreement can be made. It’s worth remembering that you’re under no obligation to let a property ahead of time and, even if you’ve been struggling to attract tenants, it’s not always a good idea to let in advance.