How to Successfully Apply For a Rental Property

Getting a rental in Australia is now tougher than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic created one of the most competitive rental markets in history, so it’s not a great time to be looking for a new place to live. If you’re heading to inspections at the moment, it’s normal to see long lines of people snaking out of the front door.

Fortunately, Sam from Insider Guides is a master at handling rental properties. With handy tips and tricks passed down to him from a property manager, Sam has applied to rent exactly eight different houses in a number of countries around the world, and all eight of his applications were successful. While there are a number of rental application tips out there, in the current rental market, you need to be doing everything possible to make a good impression when applying to rent a property.

Here are some sure-fire tips that are guaranteed to get you and your rental application to stand out from the crowd.

Prepare in advance!

  • Only go to inspections that meet your criteria and be ready to apply on the spot. If you’re sharing your rental with other housemates, write down a list of what you want in a house (for example, a specific number of bathrooms, accessibility to public transport, car parking) and only go to inspections that meet your needs. Don’t inspect houses that you don’t like or don’t fulfil the criteria you’ve set – this is a waste of time.
  • Don’t look at rental houses until you want/need one. There’s no point looking early at houses that you love that will be unavailable when you actually come to apply.
  • Never put an application in before the inspection date. This can imply to the rental agent that you don’t care about the property and won’t look after it properly, or that you’re desperate for any house, regardless of what it is. Plus, by the time the inspection happens, your application will be at the bottom of the pile.
  • Check if an inspection requires an online application. Have this ready and filled out as soon as you know you want to rent a property, as they can take quite a bit of time. Often, these online applications can be prepared and used over and over again to save you time. 
  • If you can choose between submitting a PDF application or filling in a new online application – choose the PDF. It is usually easier and you have more freedom to make specific notes or comments that you would like the rental agent to consider. 
  • Get good references. You can ask a lecturer or tutor, your friend’s parents – basically anyone that has enough authority to respect property.
  • If you have never rented in your life, find someone who will vouch for you. Have a friend or a family friend say that you stayed with them and you were respectful of their property, were clean, and great to have in the house.
  • Prepare your payslips. If you are a casual, get the best looking ones. Don’t submit payslips where you worked the least amount of hours.

Have a cover letter ready

Your landlords are trusting you with their very expensive investment. A cover letter is an opportunity to tell them about yourself and how good a tenant you are.

Some things you should include in your cover letter are:

  • Your ability to clean and that you have a weekly cleaning schedule. If you can, say that you know how to mow a lawn and enjoy gardening.
  • That you are handy around the house and will try to fix something yourself before calling them.
  • That you can move in immediately. Any day your landlord doesn’t get rent, is a day where they don’t get paid. The sooner you can move in, the more you will stand out to them.
  • If you have a pet, that they are an absolute angel. If you can, include a cute photo of them in your cover letter – this can help you stand out and adds some personality to your application.
  • That you have grown out of the partying lifestyle and studying quietly at home is your number one priority 😉
  • You will always pay rent on time. It’s worth also mentioning that you will set up an automatic bank transfer so the bills are paid at the same time every month.

At the moment, with such a competitive rental market, unfortunately, some people are offering landlords more money than what is being advertised. While we don’t recommend this, if you can spare an extra 5-10 dollars per week, it may be worth stating this increased rental price in the cover letter.

Most importantly, get a friend to read over your cover letter and check your grammar and spelling.

On the day of the inspection…

  • Never just hand over the paper application. Physical copies of applications can be lost. Always follow up with a digital copy.
  • Introduce yourself. You are more likely to make an impression that way. Let the rental agent know that you like the property and try and make a connection to the area – for example, that you’ve always wanted to live near a specific park or by a particular restaurant. You want to show that you care about the property, are enthusiastic, and won’t break your lease.
  • Dress well. Smart-casual is best.
  • Show that you care. Having a genuine interest in the property and being enthusiastic.

After the inspection…

Call the agent to say that you have sent in your application. Something simple, like saying that your mail server has had some issues and you want to check that your email has arrived is a good, believable excuse. You could also thank the agent for answering your questions on the day of the inspection or for their help on the day. Only call them once, though. Any more and they may become annoyed.

If it doesn’t work out, try again!

There were probably a lot of people all looking at the same property. Run through this list of tips again, make sure you’ve done everything, and try to improve your cover letter before applying again.

Don’t lose faith!

If you’re applying for space in a sharehouse…

Rather than having to deal with rental agents, when you’re looking at spaces in sharehouses through websites like Flatmates, it’s important that you impress the people you will be living with. Some tips include:

  • Demonstrating how good a housemate you can be in the interview. Show what you would bring to the house, for example, that you can cook dinner for everyone, you clean after yourself, you can bring a TV that everyone can use.
  • Wearing something nice. Again, smart casual is best.

Above all, stay safe!

Renting your own space can give you a lot of independence, but it’s important that you understand your rights as a renter in Australia. There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself while renting

Why should I rent a house?

Choosing what student accommodation is perfect for you can be difficult – there are a lot of options! When it comes to renting a property, there are a lot of unique benefits. You will be able to easily engage with the local community, explore different parts of your new city, gain independence and, if you’re sharing with flatmates, make some new friends. 

Happy house hunting!