by Daniel Jones
Landlords have claimed that the number of void periods their properties experience is falling, which is good news for the sector as a whole.
New research by Paragon Mortgages has found that the incidence of empty homes is decreasing, while the duration of each such spell is also falling.
Some 1,000 landlords were questioned as part of the study and 34 per cent said that they had experienced at least one void period in the final quarter of last year, down from 36 per cent in the third quarter of 2013.
What's more, the average void period stood at 59 days in duration in the last three months, whereas it was 64 days in Q3. This shows that rental properties are standing empty less often and for less time.
John Heron, director of mortgages at Paragon, said: "It is good to see that void periods are less frequent and getting shorter.
"What is also important to note is the resilience of landlords when coping with a shortfall of income on an individual property. This provides further insight into just why the credit quality of buy-to-let lending is so much better than regular mortgages."
Covering the financial impact of a void period is one of the major concerns of many landlords, with 17 per cent of small-scale property owners admitting that they turned to their savings and 19 per cent rely on other income.
A quarter of landlords said that they are able to cover an empty property with the rental income they receive from other properties, while 16 per cent use the cash they have built up while it was occupied.
There was also a downturn in tenant arrears in the final quarter of 2013, with the average number of renters in debt said to be around two out of every 11 properties in use.
Some 28 per cent of landlords surveyed admitted that they are concerned about the issue of rental arrears in 2014.
Published on: March 13, 2014