Average rental period in UK is 18 months, new research shows

People renting a home in the UK spend an average of 18 months in the property before moving on with vacant properties being filled most quickly in Birmingham, new research has found.

Birmingham has the lowest tenant turnover, with renters staying an average of two years and four months in the same property. Cardiff on the other hand, has the highest turnover, with the average property being vacated less than a year after being filled, according to the study by landlord insurance provider Direct Line for Business.

Leeds at 12 months and Bristol at 14 months also have a high turnover of tenants, which could prove problematic for local landlords, the report says.

The analysis also looked at the average time it takes to fill a vacated property revealing that on average, it takes a landlord 22 days to find a new tenant. This could result in an average loss of £547 in uncollected rent. When calculating the yield for a property, landlords need to take into account this void period and ensure they have sufficient resources to meet any mortgage, ground rent or other charges.

Vacant properties in Birmingham are filled the quickest, with a landlord finding a tenant in just 11 days. However, in Liverpool and Aberdeen landlords struggle the most to fill their properties, taking an average of 33 days, to find a suitable candidate. Direct Line for Business's analysis estimates that this gap in rent could cost landlords as much as £761 in Liverpool and £913 in Aberdeen.

Even with such a competitive rental market in London, letting agents in the capital claim that it takes 20 days on average to fill a property. With average monthly rents in central London surpassing £2,000 this could amount to a loss of £1,869 in income.

The research also found that landlords can't always rely on occupants remaining in a property for the duration of their tenancy agreement, with 9% moving out early. The highest rate of tenancy turnover is in Aberdeen where 19% of tenants leave a property before the end of the tenancy agreement with Leeds and Sheffield both close behind at 13%.

‘This research highlights the pressure landlords are under to replace outgoing tenants in their properties. Vacant properties are obviously a worry for landlords but it's vitally important that they take into account void periods when calculating the affordability of owning a rental property,’ said Nick Breton, head of Direct Line for Business.

‘Staying on top of the on-going changes within the industry can be time-consuming and a battle for landlords and we fully appreciate the challenges they face when it comes to managing their rental properties,’ he added.

The business has developed a Mobile Landlord app which can manage up to five properties aimed at alleviating some of the stress. The app can track income, calculate yields, set handy reminders such as when a tenancy agreement may be coming to an end and also keep landlords up to date with any new changes in the market.