If you are as picky as I am about who occupies your rentals, it can take some time to choose the right fit for the property. Although I have filled a vacancy in a matter of weeks, the average length of time it takes is more like one to two months. I have found over the years that it can take even longer if I have slipped into the ‘rental market dead zone.’ This non-peak time occurs due to variables such as seasonal conditions, school schedules and even regional hiring practices to name a few.
A case in point, a Vermont rental unit vacant since March is still vacant in May. I have had some inquiries but nothing like the numbers I typically see when advertising in late May through summer. A newcomer to managing rental property might cave and take in a less then ideal renter out of desperation or even lower the rate for the unit. Both are bad ideas.
Taking in the less than ideal renter runs the risk of having a bad experience with the rental party and you will likely part ways soon after the lease term expires (a one year lease is typical). This places you right back into the rental market off season time period. Lowering the rental rate for occupancy sake devalues the property and it can be difficult to re-adjust the rate to proper levels. My advise is to use all of your management skills to keep a units vacancy period in line with peak rental periods. Don’t get me wrong, if a solid renter appears during a dead zone vacancy, I welcome them with open arms and modify the lease terms to correct for the bad timing, either lengthening or shortening the lease terms. These vacancies during dead zones are rare, my average occupancy life cycle is 3-5 years, but every once in a while it does occur.