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New figures reveal that Australian households are highly mobile and this has major implications for landlords who are dealing with high vacancy rates.
Figures published by CoreLogic RP Data for February 2015 show that the number of residents in capital cities who lived in another residence a year ago ranged from 18.8% in Perth to 25.2% in Darwin.
If we look at a five year period, these relative figures blow out to 47.1% for Perth and 54.9% for Darwin.
In all capital cities, the number of households who lived at another address 5 years ago was above 40% except for Adelaide (37.9%).
Many of these households who are moving around tend to be tenants who in most capital cities account for around one quarter of all households.
Housing mobility is a key issue for landlords because of the biggest financial headache landlords have to deal with is when reliable tenants leave their property and they have to find new tenants.
Experience shows that to retain tenants, landlords have to properly maintain their properties.
One of the main reasons tenants leave a rental property is that the poor condition of the property.
Another reason why tenants leave rental properties is the poor level of service provided by the landlord especially if they are managing it themselves.
Being competitive with what you charge in rent is also important. If rental vacancy rates are high and there is a large supply of rental properties available for rent, tenants will shop around for the best overall package.
Landlords who have properly maintained rental properties will find it much easier to retain current tenants or find new tenants in a soft rental market.
Properly maintaining a property is an issue often overlooked by landlords especially if they manage the property themselves.
Regular property inspection reports should be undertaken by landlords and while they are time consuming they will ensure that minor maintenance issues are quickly fixed and do not become major problems at a later stage.
Keeping a good tenant happy means low vacancy rates and the added expenses involved in finding a new tenant are reduced.
If the landlord does not have the time to undertake regular property inspection reports and organise speedy repairs of maintenance matters, then they should seriously consider using the services of a reliable property management company who will undertake these services.
Landlords should also ensure that their property offers a high level of security for tenants. For example, if the property is located in a strata complex, the landlord could encourage other owners to collectively ensure that the complex is properly maintained and also improve the overall security of the complex by installing security gates at the entrance to their car park. Such measures will not make their property easier to rent but also enhance its resale value.