Traditionally this is the toughest time of year for people searching for a rental property, with the influx of DFAT, Defence and other posted people, as well as a large contingent of students putting a lot of pressure on the market.
In a market where the rental prices are already uncomfortably high, this added pressure just makes it harder for the core of the market to secure affordable rental accommodation. Here’s a few tips to help improve your chances:
Complete the application form properly – I know what a pain in the ass it is: each agent has their own form and you just keep repeating the same info. Problem is, if you don’t fill it in properly your application will probably (read: definitely) be put at the bottom of the pile. With multiple applications for each property the agent isn’t going to waste time chasing you for information that you were already asked for.
Provide supporting documents, but keep it simple – the more information you can provide to make the job easier for the owner/agent, the better. You can go too far though, and an application that will take 45 minutes to read will be put at the bottom of the pile. Make it easier, not harder. I’d suggest adding:
- ID – Licence + other photo ID + Medicare Card. NO CREDIT CARDS. Make sure something shows your current address and DOB. And condense it all to one page. A separate page for each item is just cumbersome and a waste of trees.
- One SHORT introductory letter for the whole application, NOT one per applicant.
- Any written rental references.
- 2x payslips, annual payment summary or letter of offer/reference confirming income – the agent/owner can’t legally ask for this, but if you offer it you’ve made it easier for them to process your application.
References – If you don’t have a rental history it can be tough. Generally what the owner wants to know is “Are they going to pay the rent” and “Are they going to look after the property”. If you can’t substantiate that with a rental reference do whatever you can to do ease their mind some other way. If you have to rely on personal references make sure they’re from someone credible. Your friends, family etc are only ever going to say good things and anyone reading it knows that.
Guarantor – Again, without a rental history it can be tough, but if you have a parent or someone willing to co-sign the lease with you it’ll be a massive help. Having a letter of guarantee from them is of little value – they need to co-apply, so get them to complete the application form and make sure they can come in to sign the lease with you (if you get the place).
Talk to the landlord/agent – imagine there are 20 people at an exhibition and two of them politely introduce themselves and have a brief chat. When the owner asks the agent for feedback on the applicants the agent can give more information on someone they have spoken to than anyone else who just walked through silently. Every little bit helps.
Show respect for the property – simple things like insisting on taking off your shoes even if they don’t ask you to. It is such a simple gesture but it says a lot!
At the end of the day this is only going to help so much. With multiple applicants for any given property only one can be successful. All you can do it make it as easy as possible for the owner/agent to select you ahead of someone else.
Happy house hunting.