Staying in a private rental during your time in Australia could be a smart move if you’re looking for independence, space and flexibility. Before moving into your perfect rental, though, you’re going to have to convince the landlord or property manager that you’re the best person to live there.
Here are a few handy tips for putting together a stellar rental application.
Get your paperwork in order
Any rental application will require you to provide ID, financial information (payslips or proof of employment), references and possibly even a cover letter. You may also be asked to provide a document outlining your rental history, but if you don’t have one, you have a couple of options. You can provide proof of other regular payments, such as paying off a credit card or car, to demonstrate that you’re financially responsible. Alternatively, you can rely on your payslips or proof of employment to show that you’re financially able to pay rent.
You should have all these documents ready to go in a folder so that once your application is filled in, you can hand everything over to property manager or real estate agent straight away. Photocopy multiples of all these documents to keep on-hand for the future.
Write a cover letter
Cover letters are not always required. But, they can make you look like a better candidate, as you’ve put extra work into your application, above and beyond what was expected. The letter should only be a few paragraphs, outlining who you are, what you do (i.e. where you are studying and the course you’re undertaking), the reason for your move (if applicable) and, if you’re moving in with a group, a brief introduction of each housemate. Be clear, concise and professional, but not overly formal – let your personality shine through.
Make sure your application is complete
Most importantly, ensure your application is complete and up-to-date. Property managers won’t chase you for missing documentation or incomplete application forms, so make sure you’ve double-checked every page before handing it in.
Be honest in your application letter
Don’t lie or hide anything on your application letter, cover letter, or during discussions with the property manager, either online or in-person. You must be proactive about anything that may affect your application. For example, if you’re planning on getting a pet during your time in Australia, be upfront with the property manager and discuss whether this would be an option and mention it in your cover letter. Or, if you’re sharing a house, make sure you detail exactly how many people will be living in the property. Any details you try to hide will come to light, and there may be consequences. So, always be truthful throughout the process.
Organise your housemates
Once you get to the point where you’re applying for your rental, make sure you have each housemate’s documentation ready to go. When you’re submitting your application, collate everything in a single email rather than sending off various documents one by one. This will make the property manager’s job much easier and will ensure you haven’t missed any crucial documents.
Inform your referees
You’re going to have to submit a list of references in your application. That is, someone who will give you a ‘vote of confidence’. This could be your current employer or a volunteer supervisor – basically anyone you have had a good experience with who will provide an unbiased evaluation of your qualities (i.e. don’t use a family member).
Make sure to let your referees know in advance to expect a call from property agents when you begin your house hunt, so they’re not taken by surprise or are unreachable.
Make a good impression
When it comes to the inspection or meeting a property manager, be on time, be courteous and dress to impress. Think of your interactions almost as a job interview; make sure to ask a few questions to show that you’re interested in the property and to help you stand out from the crowd.
Follow up with the property manager
Once the inspection is over and you’ve submitted your application, you should follow up with a brief ‘thank you’ email to the property manager or wait a few days and politely ask the manager for a progress update. This reiterates your interest in the property and might encourage them to take a second look at your application. If your application was unsuccessful, call or email the property manager for feedback on your application.
Once you’ve found the perfect property, it’s time to be the perfect tenant! Read our guide on being the best renter possible here.