No one wants to move in December, and probably not so much in November or January either. It’s the holiday season, it’s cold, it’s dark, and the idea of packing up boxes and, if you’re in the idwest like us, trudging through potential snow, is no one’s idea of a good time.
Here in Central Ohio, the slow season for rental properties starts in late October/early November and runs through the New Year. The fewer vacancies you can have during this time of year, the better.
How to Stave off Slow Season Vacancies
There is no law stating that lease agreements must be 12 months. They can be whatever you want them to be. To prevent a slow-season slowdown, do what you can during that initial lease agreement with a resident to avoid having it end during the slow-season months.
You can set your lease to be 9 months or 16 months or whatever makes sense for your property and the market conditions. We frequently develop lease agreements of varying lengths so that when that lease comes up for renewal, it’s not a bad time of year if they decide not to renew.
The other thing you can do is create a two-year lease or a three-year lease, and potentially offer incentives for a resident to sign a lengthier agreement. Not only does this help you avoid low-season vacancies, but it also increases your overall vacancy rate by extending the length of time a current resident is in your property. As we’ve discussed before, there is inherent value in retaining existing tenants.
If you choose to offer extended lease agreements, you can play with how you want to price it. For example, a one-year lease might cost so much, but a two-year lease brings it down to “x.” Or, perhaps the discount is that you’re not going to raise the rent during the duration of their current lease agreement.
The bottom line is that you have options as a property owner and can play around with lease lengths, so they minimize your vacancies during the slow season when it is generally harder to fill units.
To hear more from us about how to reduce vacancies in your rental properties, you can also watch our webinar replay on the topic. Feel free to get in touch with us at RL Property Management anytime if you have questions about owning and managing rental properties in the greater Columbus area.