Get your rental application approved!
Updated: Apr 12
Have you shown up to a rental inspection, only to find yourself in a queue with fifty other people?
In such a competitive environment, you can’t afford to be cavalier about your application. Having your bond, first month’s rent and a list of perfect references isn’t enough.
Here are 8 tips to win a rental application.
1. Get prepared
Before you even start inspecting properties, take some time to collect all the documentation that you are going to need to submit with your rental application. Regardless of whether or not the agency you are applying with uses online applications or paper applications, you are going to need all this information.
In most instances, you’ll need: Full details of your rental history including current and previous addresses and the landlords or agencies you rented from; pay slips or proof of employment; photo ID and full contact details for your reference contacts. Also be sure to gather any pre-provided written references; pet references if applicable; and write a cover letter. You will also then need to complete the application form itself, whether that be online, or filling out on paper.
Make sure you have all of these documents copied and ready to submit to the agent in person, or scanned and saved in a handy location on your phone or computer for online applications.
a) Rental history
Knowing you have a good rental history is one of the most important factors for property managers and landlords.
So, find out your history in advance and clear up any nasty surprises or rental discrepancies before applying, to improve your chances.
Providing a rental ledger proves you pay your rent on time, while references from previous properties will help agents assess quickly whether you are a suitable tenant.
The stronger picture you can provide of your rental history, the more likely you are to be chosen. Be sure to provide full contact details of the landlord or real estate agency you rented from, including their phone number and email addresses so that your rental history can be verified without any delays.
b) Pay slips
Having a reliable income will reassure landlords that there won't be any problems with missed payments. Include some recent pay slips in your application to show you are not only employed, but can comfortably afford the property you are applying for. These are especially important if you have never rented before, as they demonstrate you are less likely to default on your rent in the future.
c) Photo identification
It may seem like an obvious part of the application, but including identification upfront means your identity can be verified straight away, avoiding delays with your application.
d) Reference letters
Any evidence from past landlords or employers saying you are reliable and trustworthy is a bonus for your rental application. Character references do not have to be long to be effective. The fact that someone has been willing to take a moment out of their day to write a reference letter for you shows that you are a person of high character.
e) Cover letter
First impressions matter and attaching a cover letter to your application could be the added detail that puts you ahead of the competition. This document should be formal but let some of your personality shine through. List all the people who will be living at the property, detailing who you are and why you are the best candidates. Photos are a nice added touch.
2. Save time and apply online
Forget printing, handwriting, scanning, photocopying – fill in an online application using 2Apply instead. The best bit? Once you’ve filled in your details, you can use that same account to apply for as many properties as you like – drastically reducing the amount of time you spend on each individual application. 2Apply is easy, and free to use.
3. Get your housemates ready too
Your housemates don’t have to attend the property inspection (although this is preferable), but they also need to follow the above steps to prepare for rental applications.
If you have a complete set of documentation for all members of the household, your application has a better chance of being top of the pile. If your application is missing important information, you may miss out on the property while a fully completed application gets approved.
4. Be on time to inspections
Punctuality is common courtesy. Most inspection time slots are fully booked with prospective tenants, and will be very busy. If you arrive late, the agent may not be able to show you through, especially if they have another inspection scheduled that they need to be on time for. Also be sure to observe any social distancing instructions whilst at the inspection.
If you aren't able to attend the inspection, please be sure to let the agency know so that another tenant can take your spot.
5. Be presentable and polite at the inspection
Looking presentable shows you’re keen to secure the property and gives off an impression of responsibility. Showing that you take care and pride in your appearance, reflects that you will also show care and pride in your home.
Be pleasant – not pushy – to make a good impression with the agent. In a competitive market, you will be applying alongside many other applicants and it's good to stand out for the right reasons!
6. Follow up if necessary
The beauty of online applications is that you should instantly receive confirmation of your application being submitted, along with any updates of how your application has progressed during the process. If you’ve submitted an application and you haven’t received confirmation 48 hours later, politely follow up to ensure it has been received. Be sure to check your junk email first!
If you've already received confirmation, be patient. Generally it can take several days for applications to be processed, as verifying information relies on your contacts replying to our requests for confirmation. Let the people you've included on your application know that you are applying for a property you really love, so that when they receive these requests they reply as soon as possible.
7. Consider your budget
Take a moment to consider your budget. Does the weekly rent represent more than 30% of your combined household income? If so, you may be less likely to be approved. Work out what the maximum weekly rental amount is best for your circumstances.
For example, if your combined household income after tax is $2,000 per week, 30% of your income would be $600 per week. By applying for properties with a maximum weekly rent of $600 per week, your approval chances will be better. If you apply for properties over this amount, your affordability score may not be as high as other applicants you are competing against.
8. Be patient, but don't leave it too late!
In this market, it is likely you will end up inspecting and applying for several properties before being approved, which can become very frustrating and stressful. Start the process as soon as possible and try to be patient. Your turn for approval will be just around the corner.