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6 Reasons Why Tenants Move Out (& What Landlords Can Do About It)

Protect your investment by arming yourself with knowledge of why tenants move out. Let’s take a focused look at how landlords can minimise tenant turnover.

Faye deGavre


Jul 19, 2021


4 min read

6 Reasons Why Tenants Move Out (& What Landlords Can Do About It)

This past year has presented so many challenging reasons why tenants move out of their flats and houses. From financial strain to pandemics, tenants leave for various reasons, many being situations that you, the landlord, have no control over. When you find out your buy-to-let will be empty in a few weeks, suddenly your cash flow projection is out the window and your property investment is in at best treading water and at worst, in danger of sinking.

If you’re losing a good tenant, you might want to encourage them to stay. But you can only do that if you know why they’re moving out and have a solution in hand. Some decisions to move are triggered by the tenant’s dissatisfaction with their rental situation, and that is something you can address. If you can avoid these issues in your property, you may improve tenant turnover.

Common reasons tenants move out

Need for space

Life changes, both involuntary and actively pursued, come with new demands on space. A marriage, the birth of a child, starting a business from home, moving in relatives that need care and other circumstances can force your tenant to start searching for a bigger unit. The other side of the coin is when couples split up or children leave home, the tenant may decide to downsize. If you have a portfolio of properties – and the tenant has a good track record with you – you could pitch a larger/smaller space to the tenant to encourage them to stay.

Noisy neighbours

Loud and intimidating neighbours can scare off your good tenants. Although this might sound like something that’s out of your hands, you can attempt to resolve it. Firstly, speak to the neighbours as they may not realise their actions are having an impact on others. If they’re renting too, you may want to reach out to their landlord. If it’s an issue of statutory nuisances, such as dogs barking, loud music and piles of rubbish, report it to the council.

Poor property maintenance

All rental properties need to be maintained and repaired promptly. Neglecting upkeep and failing to resolve property issues can cost you your tenant. No one likes living with clogged drains, leaking roofs, broken windows and pest problems – and your tenants won’t put up with frequent or unresolved issues. As a property owner, you’re required to keep the place in good nick. If you want to retain your tenants, be clear about possible delays. Ignoring their repair requests could be the final straw.

If you have a Letting Agent, they will handle the necessary repairs and maintenance, keeping disgruntled tenants happy to stay put.

A lacking kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home, right? From Bake Offs to brunches and Sunday dinner, we’re a nation that loves to cook (or at least have the means to). This is why some tenants move out if their kitchen isn’t up to scratch. If your rental property’s kitchen lacks space or function, it could be a recipe for disaster. You can easily remedy this by making sure it’s well-stocked with utensils and is in clean, good working order.


Financial issues are the main reason why tenants want to move. Whether they can’t afford the increasing rent or have been hit hard by, say, a pandemic, some renters simply can no longer afford the payments.

As a landlord, you need to make a profit, incrementally increasing your rental rates every year to keep up with inflation and costs. Yet, you also want to be priced competitively, ensuring your rental price is in line with similar properties in the area. And to walk the fine line between reasonable and profitable? Price your properties at an ideal point and look for locations in the future that offer room to grow. If you have a vacant property at a lower price, pitch it to them if they’ve been a good tenant.

Ready for homeownership

Despite rental prices remaining lower than mortgage rates, many tenants are ready to step onto the property ladder. Having their own slice of equity and their own space feels exciting. This is a big reason tenants leave their current rental space and, unfortunately, there isn’t a lot a landlord can do to prevent them from moving. Ensure a good check out, return security deposits timely and ask for a review. You never know; they may well recommend you to friends who are still renting.

Why is tenant retention important?

Every time a tenant leaves and you need to find a new one, you’re going to take on many costs. If you rent privately, you’ll need to advertise the property, check references, write up a new tenancy agreement, conduct full-blown inventories and so on. If you don’t find someone suitable in time, you’ll enter a void period. And yes, it is as scary as it sounds. Without income, your property sits empty, burning a hole in your wallet.

If you can keep up tenant retention by preventing your tenant from leaving in the first place, then you can minimise void periods. Yet, when there’s no possibility of a tenant staying, you can fall back on the Letting Agent to handle finding someone new – and quickly.

How long does the average tenant stay?

It certainly depends on their age, but typical tenants stay in the same rental property for 4 to 5 years. However, thanks to the pandemic, the average tenancy has fluctuated, with many tenants moving quickly because of financial strain or staying put due to safety concerns.

What else can landlords do to prevent tenants from moving out?

  • Make sure the rental is in good condition, performing regular maintenance and fixing issues promptly.
  • Recognise and respect that people have different communication preferences. Ask them how they’d like to exchange information and be responsive when they come to you with requests.
  • Employ the service of a Letting Agent who is skilled in keeping tenants happy and properties safe.

Don’t miss a beat

Tenants leaving is a fact of life for many landlords. There are a number of reasons renters move out, even if they are happy with the property they’re in. The ebb and flow of the tenancy lifecycle means that you need to be adaptable and proactive to keep your property churning an income. Savvy landlords will get in front of these issues and find ways to improve tenant retention and avoid turnover costs.

With Boomin, you don’t miss a beat. It’s the only place where your property can be visible and gather interest from the moment you book a free valuation with a Letting Agent. We work with some of the UK’s top Letting Agents that help you fill your rental property and keep void periods to a minimum. Get started on renting out your house. It’s your stress-free way to let.

Faye deGavre

Content Writer