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Property Management Blog

Why is my rental still vacant?

Mendell Gosnell - Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Why is it taking so long to rent my house?

It is always our goal to rent properties as quickly as possible to qualified tenants. However, there are circumstances that can cause an owner to call and ask, “Why is my property still vacant?” when it appears that it should not be that difficult to rent the property.

Market Factors

The obvious first step is to look at the rental market and review the competition. Perhaps there is simply a glut of comparable properties available and tenants can be choosy. Sometimes, it appears that the market is tighter and the property should rent more quickly, but it’s still available despite the advertising and many showings. In either case, you have to look at the same reasons why a property will not rent.

Rent Amount

The asking price is a common problem, so is the rent a competitive price? For example, if larger four bedroom homes in the area are $1100 and your property is a three bedroom for $1150 with less square footage, the property may simply be overpriced. The more competition in the area, the more important it is to adjust the rent to entice a tenant. Even when there is minimal competition, a longer vacancy will generally cost more loss of income than adjusting the rent to entice a tenant.

Curb-Appeal and Condition of the Property

Is the property in good condition and attractive to prospective tenants? It may be a great house inside, but if a tenant pulls up and sees trash, peeling paint, and a deteriorating roof, getting them inside to look at it could be difficult. They may be concerned about future maintenance issues or just turned off about the idea of living in an eyesore.

Perhaps the outside looks good, but the inside has worn, dirty carpet and dingy walls. Good tenants are not likely to put in an application, particularly if there are other available rentals. If either outside or inside conditions present problems, it is time to address them. The longer a property takes to rent, the more costly the loss.

Seasonality - Time of the year

Of course, every year has events that slow down the market – back to school days, Thanksgiving, the December Holiday Season – all these can “slow” the market down and make it a little trickier to rent your property. Still, properties do rent during these periods, there are just fewer people looking, which can lengthen your vacancy.

Location – Location - Location

One of the more difficult obstacles to overcome when renting can be a neighborhood or area problem. Is the property located where there are recurring burglaries, a listed pedophile, suspected drug activity, or even gang activity? Any of these conditions can happen in any neighborhood, so it may only be a temporary problem. However, it is a serious drawback when it exists while trying to fill a vacancy. It may be that you will need to adjust the rent, offer special incentives, and have extra patience before the property will rent to an acceptable tenant.

Death in the property

This is probably the worst scenario when you are trying to rent a property, and hopefully, this will never happen in your property for many reasons. If there has been a suicide, murder, or other violent circumstance with the previous tenant in the property, the law requires you to disclose it to any prospective applicants. Even if you avoided this, applicants or tenants would find out from other neighbors, and many people will avoid the property. When this occurs, the only course of action is to put the property in the best possible condition with a reasonable rent and work through applicant concerns until the property is rented.

Unacceptable applications

If the market is great, the rent is right, and the property looks wonderful, what else could be going on? It could be that there have been applications but they would not make suitable tenants. It is far more important to have a tenant who will actually pay the rent and take care of the property than to rent it quickly. It is simply more cost effective to have a good tenant than a future eviction despite a longer vacancy.

Whatever the reason for a delay in renting, rest assured it is our goal as your management company to rent the property to the right tenant as quickly as possible.

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