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Landlords Can Turn To Short-term Lettings To Fill Void Periods

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Short-term lettings are a viable solution for filling lengthening void periods, as research shows that the average time taken to fill an empty property increased in most regions of England and Wales in September.

Data from lettings software and services provider Goodlord, which produces a monthly rental index, showed that void periods for private rentals increased in seven of the eight regions it looks at.

In the West Midlands the September average was 34 days – more than double the previous month’s figure – and in Wales it was 23 versus 14 in August. London was the only region where the period shortened – to 11 days from 14 the previous month.

Void periods are back at levels seen in the early part of 2019 after an upturn in the market over the summer. Research from Kent Reliance earlier this year found that void periods cost landlords £528 annually and, with general running costs increasing and tax relief on mortgage interest decreasing for higher-rate taxpayers, landlords’ profits are being squeezed.

Boosting rental income

Against this backdrop, it’s essential for landlords to maximise the income from their properties to keep yields healthy as winter approaches. Short-term lettings can help landlords maintain a steady income while they wait for new longer-term tenants to move in.

According to data from AirDNA, the average daily rate you can achieve letting a property on a short-term basis is £143 in London, £111 in Edinburgh, £94 in Manchester and £91 in Bristol.

This means than you can make £1,573 over the average 11-day void period in London (86% of the average monthly rent for longer-term tenants in September according to Goodlord), and £1,786 in Manchester over the average 19-day void period in the North West (237% of the monthly rent).

Short-term rentals can be popular with visitors for a number of reasons. Families often want a home-from-home setting, which can be cheaper and more convenient than staying in hotel rooms when you’re travelling with children. Couples and groups of friends may prefer to stay somewhere that gives them a more authentic experience as they can live like a local, saving money by cooking their own meals if they wish.

A third source of business can be companies who want to accommodate their employees on work trips. Putting them together in an apartment or house can be cheaper as well as help them collaborate while they’re away.

In London there’s a 90-day limit to renting out a property on a short-term basis but this is more than enough to cover your likely void periods.

Ensuring successful short-term letting

You can boost your chances of success by using a property management company that specialises in short-term lettings, such as GuestReady. Properties it manages boast an average occupancy rate of 80%. It currently operates in cities throughout the UK, including London, Manchester and Edinburgh, as well as globally. 

GuestReady can handle every aspect of the process to maximise your occupancy rate and how much you can charge. Airbnb management services include preparing and optimising your listing with professional photos, equipping the property with hotel-quality linen and toiletries, communicating with, screening and checking in guests, and cleaning and maintaining the property. The commission you pay starts at 15% plus VAT depending on your property.

Using a property management company means you can offer your guests the best experience possible in an increasingly competitive short-term lettings market and ensure the good reviews, recommendations and repeat visitors that are key to profitability. People have now come to expect a hotel-style service; using a management company makes this easier to achieve every time, especially with multiple stays each week.

Plus, if you’re a busy landlord, you’ll save time as you won’t have to keep on top of your listing, answer enquiries from guests, meet them at the beginning of their stay and arrange cleaning and maintenance.

Tips for landlords

Making a success of letting your property short term is not just about creating a lovely space and watching the business flood in. There are a number of things you need to do to make sure your property stands out from the rest:

  • Always use professional photography in your listing. Perfecting the lighting and photographing your property at the right angles can make a big difference to how desirable it looks.
  • If you’re advertising your property on a website like Airbnb, make sure your listing has an attention-grabbing title that highlights its stand-out qualities.
  • Adding welcoming touches when you’re getting the property ready for guests, such as a vase of fresh flowers or a loaf of home-baked bread, will give reviewers something special to talk about.
  • Highlight what there is to see and do in the local area and what eateries are nearby in your listing.
  • Respond to enquiries and questions quickly – if you don’t reply promptly potential guests may get tired of waiting and go elsewhere.

Speak to an expert today to find out if short-letting your property is right for you. Schedule a call with GuestReady today. GuestReady offers end-to-end Airbnb management services for property owners and investors who are looking to get the most value out of their investment. From 24hr guest communications to in-person check-ins, photography, professional cleaning, maintenance service and more.