More than one in five landlords have to wait longer than four months before signing up their first tenants, research from the Nottingham Building Society has revealed.
Its study among landlords across the country shows 21% said they had to wait four months or more after completing their buy-to-let mortgage before they had their first paying tenants.
The research, conducted by the HMLettings part of its business, also found that 53% of landlords have paying tenants within a couple of months of buying their first buy-to-let through lenders across the UK but substantial numbers are facing delays which pile the pressure on their finances.
Costs involved in setting up as a landlord on top of mortgage finance are not trivial – the average landlord has to pay out £2,000 on their first property before they find tenants although one in three (35%) manage to spend less than £1,000, the study shows.
Around 62% of those questioned said they had to redecorate or refurbish properties before letting them out with 28% saying redecorating work took two weeks or more.
However, once tenants are in the pressure eases substantially – on average in the past year landlords only had one month where they had no tenants – so-called voids – while 45% of those questioned say they’ve had no void months in the past year.
The Nottingham, which offers lettings management and buy-to-let mortgage advice under one roof, believes the research highlights the need for expert support and advice throughout the process of applying for a buy-to-let mortgage and letting out the property.
Stephen Reade, lettings operations manager at The Nottingham, said: “Becoming a landlord remains attractive for thousands of people, but it is clear landlords need to think carefully before making the decision and also to plan ahead
“Having to wait four months or more before getting tenants in can put a strain on finances and landlords need to ensure they have spare money to invest in their property over and above basic mortgage costs.
“Our landlord service offers advice on mortgages as well as lettings management and help with insurance so landlords have all their property needs under one roof. We also ensure landlords have an Investment Manager to look after customers throughout the buying process and, when the time comes, the selling of your property.”
The research found the average landlord spends around £700 a year per property on maintenance – however two out of five (37%) claim to spend less than £500.