Tenant Advice: How To Secure A Rental Property

Imagine you have spent countless evenings scrolling through realestate.com.au and domain.com.au on the hunt for the perfect new place to move into. You’ve narrowed your search down to a handful of properties and have arranged inspections with each of the property managers.

After the inspections, you’ve found a property you love and so you eagerly fill out the online application, and so the waiting game begins. You’ve played this game before.

And so, you receive the dreaded rejection email: “Thank you for your Tenancy Application. We have received a number of strong applications for this property. Unfortunately, on this occasion, the owner has decided to accept an alternative application.” Why do you always seem to miss out?

You are running out of time and need to secure a new place soon but your applications are being relentlessly denied with no explanation. If this is your experience, then this is advice is for you.

  1. Offer more than the advertised price – One way to stand out is to offer more than the asking price. Another way is to offer a month in advance, instead of the usual two weeks. These tactics demonstrate that you can afford the rent and are very keen to secure the property. More often than not, someone who offers more than the asking price with the income to support it will always find them at the top of the list of potential tenants. Of course, ensure that your offer is affordable, no point getting the best place on the market, only to not be able to afford to live in it.
  2. Consider your rent payment history. Do you pay rent irregularly or do you pay on time, every time? Ensure your rental payments are received by the due date without fail. The easiest way to achieve this is to automate the payment through scheduled transfers or direct debit plus ensuring sufficient funds are in your account. If you think your history may not be perfect, ask your property manager for your rental ledger and see if your rent is paid on time. Having a poor history of paying rent or water/electricity invoices on time can be detrimental to your chances of getting a new place. Neither property managers or landlords appreciate late payment of rent or expenses. This is especially important where landlords have loans to repay from the rent.
  3. Is your property clean and tidy with no damage during the routine inspections? A messy, dirty or poorly kept property is a sure-fire way to ensure you are on your property manager’s mind for all the wrong reasons. It’s easy for property managers to tell when a property has just been straightened up for the inspection compared to a home that has been lovingly maintained and kept clean. Side note: a lot of the tradespeople are a second pair of eyes for the property manager. So, when the next tradesperson comes to fix the leaking pipe, loose door handle or service the air-conditioner, they’re sometimes reporting back to the property manager as to what state the property is in. Easiest way to avoid bad feedback regarding cleanliness? Always stay on top of your cleanliness game – channel your inner Marie Kondo.
  4. Are you a pleasure for your property manager to deal with? How do you respond when your property manager calls you to arrange access for a tradesperson, routine inspections, payment issues or other matters? An aggressive, mean or rude demeanour over the phone or email is another sure-fire way to taint your rental history in the eyes of property managers. They are people just trying to do their job too.
  5. Read the online advertisement thoroughly? This may seem like a given but most of the time, the answer to your question is already in the ad. “When is the property available, when is the next viewing, can I have a pet, how many bedrooms, is there air-conditioning?” When looking at a prospective property online, read the ad from top to bottom, title to finish. To the side, open for inspection times are displayed, details on how to apply for the property or contact someone for an inspection is in the ad. If you ask a property manager a question that is already answered in the description, this starts your relationship with the property manager on the wrong foot.

This information is specific to those people who are currently renting. However, if you are young and trying to get into your first rental property and are finding it difficult, ask your parents to be a guarantor and go on the lease with you to give comfort to the property manager and landlord. Provide supporting documentation like bank statements, personal references and payslips to help prove you are suitable for the property. Once you secure your first property, follow steps 2, 3 and 4 whilst living there – this will be the start of an exceptional rental history which will help you stand out from the crowd when it next comes time to hunt for a property.

When applying for a new property, your current and previous property managers are sent a rental reference request. In this request it shows your rental ledger and asks a number of questions regarding rental payments, how the property was during inspections, were pets kept without permission, were you difficult to communicate with etc;

For those who are currently renting, the best way to strengthen your application and improve your chances starts now at your current property. Pay your rent on time, every time. Keep your property and yard/gardens clean and tidy. Ensure tradespeople don’t have anything to be concerned about. And last but not least, be a polite, courteous and reasonable human being when dealing with your property manager.

Good luck with the next application!

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