Should landlords ‘allow’ tenancies to end around the Christmas period?

Well, my vanishing tenant has started something! Not only did I feel compelled to defend myself against being accused of having illegal contracts yesterday, but now it’s been insinuated that I’m unprofessional because I had a tenant with an AST where the fixed term period elapsed on 1 Jan! Whatever next?

Following on from my post yesterday, Pimlico Nick wrote a forum post saying that I can’t supersede the law with a notice clause (not that I was trying to – I am quite happy for any tenant to move out when they wish and would not have tried to make her stay longer or pay any money beyond the final day of her tenancy) and also was ‘outraged’. Hmmm. A few things get me ‘outraged’. Not this. I’m sure I said I was ‘irritated’.

But it wasn’t the factually incorrect forum post which I found most entertaining, it was the comments after it by a landlord called ‘Rich G’.

I’ve also just noticed that her AST expired on 1st January, which doesn’t sound like the sort of thing a switched on landlord would do.

That’s what I meant. Who wants to move in December or January? So why would a professional landlord permit an AST to expire in those months?

So now I’m not ‘switched on’ and am, to Rich G, not a ‘professional landlord’.

What absolute tosh and utterly ridiculous statements to make. This tenant moved out sometime in December with her ‘official’ tenancy ending on 1 Jan and there are already three people queuing up to rent her flat. January has always proven a great time for new tenants coming in, new year, new start and all that. Besides which, our properties are very popular and there’s usually a small waiting list of interested parties. This is no accident, it’s because we spend time and effort on layouts, design and fit outs so they are the best in the area. Tenants and lettings agents tell us this, it isn’t unfounded arrogance.

If a tenant is going to simply vanish without giving any notice or give any form of communication, it doesn’t matter whether it’s 1 Dec, 1 Jan or 1 June, the landlord will invariably have to blitz the property as it will inevitably be left in a state, then re-advertise – so there’s likely to be a void period of maybe up to a month. Hazard of the job. In ten years of renting out and self managing property, with a few hundred tenants in and out, I can count on one hand the number who haven’t given notice if they wish to leave at the end of their initial six month AST. Maybe it’s the type of tenants we generally have, i.e. nice, reasonable, professional ones.

I would agree that allowing a tenancy fixed term period to elapse shortly before Christmas may be foolhardy if the type of tenants you have are prone to vanishing because people rarely view properties / move immediately before the festive break. It is better in these situations to offer a longer AST, seven or even eight months (as Pimlico Nick suggests) to avoid this pre-Xmas period. A sensible landlord will always try to mitigate any void periods and if you know your stuff doesn’t rent easily in Dec, Jan or whenever else, then act accordingly.

But if you know your own properties and know they either rent fast or best at certain times of the year, it is not up to anyone else to tell you that you are not switched on or not professional if you chose to allow an end of term date of 1 January or any other date.

In my opinion, if you have fabulous, desirable, Moregeous properties they will always be snapped up, whatever time of the year it is. So make sure you go the extra mile, or you’ll get left behind with the other landlords who try to rent out crappy, old fashioned, unrenovated tat 😉

2 thoughts on “Should landlords ‘allow’ tenancies to end around the Christmas period?

  1. Hi
    I follow your blog regularly, though haven’t commented before, never thought I needed to!
    I get so cross when a blogger offers advice & shares good ideas only to be tormented by people who do not have the guts to do a blog themselves!
    I rented out 4 properties in the 90’s and 00’s while my dad has been renting properties for 50 years ( a whole street)
    I think what you are doing is great. I hope I did the same, i.e. trying to offer nice touches and shock, horror, do well from it!
    I had many tenancies end around Christmas as my dad did, we both had people queueing up to rent our places as we only offered rental accommodation where we would be happy to live.
    Maybe the critics should try it!
    Good luck to you and don’t stop doing your blog
    Best wishes
    Xxxx

    • What a delightful comment to get, so supportive and positive, thanks Marie!
      That’s the key isn’t it, offering properties to rent which you would be happy to live in. Seriously, with the state of my unrenovated house, sometimes I wish I did 😉

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