Moving house is always a busy time, whether your home is bought or rented. Without the pressure to find a buyer for your property though, moving between rental properties can be a lot more flexible than buying. And with minimum notice periods and rolling leases fairly common throughout the UK, tenants can increasingly take control over their property moves.
So if you’re moving between rentals, when is the best time to think about making the move? Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of moving in each season:
The cold weather and interruption of Christmas make moving in the winter a foreboding idea for many renters. If you can face it though, the coldest months have a lot going for them when it comes to moving property.
The amount of people looking for property plummets during the winter, making the competition for properties much lower. You’ll have a letting agent’s full attention, and can rest easy in the knowledge that there isn’t a massive queue of people behind you waiting to snatch up any property you take your time over. However, there is also less property available than in other months, so you won’t have as much stock to choose from.
Good if: You’re relaxed about choice, but don’t want a stressful move
Many agents and landlords will upload property in the spring, ready for the hectic summer. That means that there is more property available than in winter, and if you are quick you can get some great flats as soon as they hit the market.
Rents also tend to increase in the spring though, a trend that will continue through the summer; so if you plan on looking for property in March-May, you may end up paying a little more. As the spring moves on, more and more students and other property hunters will also start their search – increasing demand.
Good if: You want a compromise between the summer rush and the winter lull
Summer is by far the busiest period of the year for lettings, with around 50% more properties let last summer than in the preceding winter. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing – the majority of new property is made available for the summer months, so the level of choice available is very high indeed.
However, rents are always highest for property found in the summer, and there is almost no room for negotiation thanks to the sheer number of tenants looking to move (especially if you live in a city). You’ll also face stiff competition for your dream property, as the amount of time that properties spend without tenants is far smaller than any other point in the year.
Good if: You want maximum choice, and don’t mind competing for property
After the busy summer, the number of properties available for let will be massively diminished, so the market is usually fairly slow and bare in autumn – even more so than during the winter. There will still be some good options available though, especially amongst properties that failed to find a tenant during the summer and now have a landlord or letting agent that is more willing to compromise.
If you really know what you are doing, and are prepared to invest a lot of time covering all of the major portals, newspapers, visiting letting agents and taking advantage of tools like property text and email alerts, the autumn can be a good time for your move.
Good if: You know what you are doing, and can take the risk of not finding a property
This is a guest post by Patrick Foot who writes about lettings and property for Lettingweb.com, covering everything from moving tips to tenancy disputes to generating yields. He’s been a professional writer for several years, and now writes under his role as Lettingweb’s Marketing Manager as well as for various publications as a freelancer in his spare time.