Tips for Tenants to Secure Their Ideal Rental Property

In some rental markets there can be strong competition for rental properties so being prepared can help you secure your ideal home.

Generally property managers ask themselves three questions

  • Will you be able to afford the rental and pay on-time?
  • Will you be look after the property and report reasonable maintenance?
  • Will you be easy to deal with? Some of these characteristics can be documented however the others will come from your interactions with the property manager before inspection and during the application process.



Preparation

Rental properties can move quickly so get your documentation organised and bring yourself up to date with market conditions.

Unfortunately there is not standard application. Rental applications vary across regions, real estate agencies and owners so you should try to have multiple copies of documents available if you’re going out to inspect and apply for several properties



Documentation

  • Identity – proof of your identity is required. A driver’s licence or passport are usually sufficient. For overseas migrants proof of a visa might be required.
  • Proof of income – pay slips from the last few months are ideal and bank statements to show your net cashflow if your income is low compared to the rent.
  • Proof of employment – a letter from your company human resources or payroll may be required to confirm your employment for migrants or tenants between jobs.
  • Proof of other assets – if you own an investment property or other investments, that can help support your ability to afford the rental.
  • Reference letters – these are helpful especially if you have rented from an owner directly or been in a share house arrangement. Most property managers will call the previous agent to check your suitability and ask :

    • Did you rent with them previously?
    • What was the address of the rental and rental amount paid?
    • Did you pay rent on time and pay rent in full without arrears?
    • Did you leave the property in a satisfactory condition and receive your bond in full?
    • Would they rent to you again?
  • Rental ledger – your rental history is important from your past agent so ensure you pay your rent on time and in full as per the lease. Consistent and stable rent payments will go a long way to help you win the rental.

  • Tenancy database – if you have a record on the tenancy database bring it up with the manager and explain what occurred. It’s better in person and you should find out earlier rather than later if the agent will reject you on that basis.

  • Pets – are commonly accepted however ensure that you have a details about your pet (type, size, age, indoor or outdoor) and a reference letter about how they behaved at the last property (hopefully no noise, no damage).



Preinspection

First impressions count even on the telephone. Be polite and efficient. Real estate agents and owners are busy. Ensure you read the advert about the property details and avoid wasting their time about information already published.

Have you documentation ready and collect an application form from the agent or complete one prior. If you can’t get the form prior, ensure you are ready to fill it out on the spot.

Try to set up email alerts on the real estate portals to get the listings on the first day they appear and if possible try to get a private viewing earlier than the saturday.

Have your rent and security deposit (bond) ready.

If you are a sharehouse group, then make sure your house mates have their paperwork up to date.

In some states you can pay a holding deposit however be careful about the refund conditions. If you pay a holding deposit of one week’s rental you might lose it if you don’t take the property and it remains unlet.



At the inspection

Be positive – all properties have their faults, try to highlight the things you appreciate. Ask questions and engage with the property manager – they remember the lovely people. It will provide an impression of how nice you will be to deal with about maintenance and other matters from time to time. Treat the property with respect, try not to knock anything and cause damage! Dress in a clean and tidy way.

If you have any requests, it’s best to talk to the property manager at the property so they can see what needs to be done. These conversations are easier in person than as a list on email.

Be prepared to take the property the day following the outgoing tenant to minimise any rental vacancy.



Post inspection

Follow up with a quick phone call on Monday and an email. Express your enthusiasm and desire to move quickly. Ensure the agent or owner knows your name and has your application.

Ask them if there is any further information they need and how your application stands.



Social media forms part of your application

These days agents get straight on Google and search for your online profile. Before you seek out your rental application check out the way you present online. Party pictures won’t help you secure your ideal rental property.



Feedback

If you do get rejected, ask for feedback from the real estate agent or property owner and optimise your application for the next property.

Unfortunately, tenant screening questions can often be inappropriate. Discrimination is illegal so if you feel that you have been unfairly treated you should raise that with the agent or owner.

Good luck with your rental property search. With this article in hand and your documentation and positive attitude, you’re on your way to securing your next rental property!