Promising reports from the National Landlords Association (NLA) suggest that void periods in private rented accommodation have dropped significantly in the past year.
Strong tenant demand, aided by would-be homeowners being priced out of the market, have led to a sharp rise in tenancy agreements. The NLA’s research shows that just 33% of landlords experienced a void period during the previous three months. This figure was down a considerable 13% on the same period last year.
Regionally, the North East of England fared worst, with over half, 54%, of landlords having void periods during the last quarter. London had the fewest, with just 20% of landlords saying they had uninhabited properties during the same period. 
The average duration of a void period also fell from 63 to 60 days during the last quarter.
Further positivity was recorded in the findings with the news that rental arrears are at their lowest since March 2010. Still, 41% of landlords said that they were victim of rental arrears during the past 12 months, down 9% on last year.
Steady Decline in Void Periods
Chairman of the NLA, David Salusbury, stated: “It is in every landlords’ business interest to maintain good, long lasting tenancies and avoid voids.”
He went on to emphasise the housing problem, saying: “At a time when demand far outstrips supply, it is imperative that empty properties are filled quickly.”
Salusbury concedes: “The private rented sector afford tenants flexibility, so as tenants’ circumstances change, there are occasions when a property might be empty.” However, he suggests that their research shows “that there is no one property market, with voids representing more of a problem in the north than in the south, where demand is far higher.”
Mr Salusbury also offered advice for landlords looking to minimise void periods, suggesting that they should “talk openly with their tenants about their future plans.” This, he feels, “will give the landlords some idea of when the property might next be empty and allow them to make any improvements and plan advertising activity in good time.”