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Top tips for a successful rental application

Michael Weaver 4 September 2019

If you are a family looking to rent, be realistic with the type of property you are looking for. Image: home.byholly.

The demand for rental properties in Canberra and the surrounding region remains at an all-time high, with a shortage of properties and an influx of people moving to the area.

It is common for more than 30 people to be interested in the same listing, so what are the tips to getting a tick of approval for your rental application?

According to SQM Research, the July vacancy rate in Canberra sits at 1.1 per cent, or 747 vacant properties. This is an economic indicator which measures the percentage of rental homes that are vacant.

The vacancy rate is also down from the June figure of 1.3 per cent, or 847 properties.

The average weekly rent is currently $665 for all houses and $457 for all units according to figures for the week ending 26 August.

Property manager at home.byholly, Tamara Davis said Canberrans are also competing with people moving to Canberra for employment. Her best advice is that when you see a rental property, make sure you can be there for the inspection.

“It’s likely that the first showing is the last showing, so it’s also likely it will rent successfully within days of the first showing,” Tamara said.

“Please remember agents do more than show properties, so the open times are the best times available for them and hopefully for you.

“Also, take the time to read the whole advert carefully and in full. Most websites require ads to show available date and showings. Standard leases in the ACT are 12 months unless advertised otherwise.”

You can also complete an application form before the showing and then submit it to the property manager. Most agencies use www.1form.com.au, which is free for all prospective tenants.

Tamara said there are four critical tips to help you with your rental application:

  • Complete the forms in full and provide as much information as possible. You need a minimum of two forms of identification, most recent payslips that show a sustainable income and anything that shows you are an ideal candidate to look after someone’s home or investment. If you’re a family, a recent photo helps build rapport with an agent. Of course, if you have rental references, provide them too. Too much information is never too much.
  • If you cannot make the advertised showing, send someone on your behalf. Most property managers will allow this. Some agents will even arrange facetime showings for interstate people. If you don’t ask, you will never know.
  • Make sure your available start date is as close to the listed available date.
  • Read the advertisement carefully and look at the images provided, as this is all the information the agents have to first introduce the property to the public. If you need to know more, go to the showing and check for yourself.

Are you a group? Most groups find it harder than a family or couple to be successful applicants. You need to make your group stand out but also be realistic at the same time. Write a cover letter introducing each person and explain the dynamics of your group. Look for rentals that suit a group as there are plenty of perfect group houses available.

Do you have pets? Most landlords and property managers will consider pets. Again, be realistic. A small courtyard home for three large dogs isn’t going to pass with an owner. Provide some personal information on your pet and a photo.

The Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot, released today in Canberra, shows a continuing decline in rental affordability in the ACT. (Photo by Jack Mohr)

It pays to keep an eye on new apartment complexes if you are looking to rent a property. Photo: Jack Mohr.

Tamara also said she has seen all kinds of information on application forms.

“I have seen forged documents and completely false information. I’ve always said that if an applicant can’t fill out a form correctly, how are they going to look after a rental property?

“If you don’t have a rental history, provide a copy of a rates or water notice, or a statement showing where and how you have lived. People have to start somewhere, so show some good personal references and be realistic with the type of property you are looking at. When apartment complexes come up with 40 or 50 places for rent, keep an eye on those too.

“Ultimately it’s the landlord’s decision but they are guided by the property manager, so I always try to find out as much information as possible, as the owner almost always makes the decision.

“Most of all, stay patient and do not be disheartened if you miss out on the first place you look at. There are so many good tenants out there, so the decision is often a hard one for the owner and property manager.”


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