How to apply for a rental

Don't miss your chance of getting the rental you want - here is everything you need to know about acing a rental application.

Sjanna Sandalova
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Congratulations! Once you've reached this stage it means you've found a rental property you are interested in and need to apply.

With competition in the rental market quite high, it's important you get your application right from the start and submit one you are proud of.

The application form is your opportunity to show the owner and property manager that you are the best fit candidate for that property. Your application is reviewed against other applications for the same rental, so making yours stand out will improve your chances.

What should be included in the rental application?

A rental application is basically your resume for renting so here is a list of documents you should have ready to increase your likelihood of being selected.

1. Identification

You will need to include all your personal details in the rental application, including name, current address, employment details etc. - most things you would include on a resume.

Along with this you will need to provide a copy of some form of photo identification, this can be a passport, driver's license or proof of age card. A second form of ID is also recommended which can be in the form of a Medicare card, birth certificate, healthcare card etc.

2. References

You should include references that can verify your rental history and employment history. A referee can also be a previous housemate or family member that can vouch for who you are as a person and can shed light on what you would be like as a potential tenant.

Make sure that the referees you have listed are aware you have put them down and are happy to take calls from property managers. It can be detrimental to your application if the property manager cannot reach or get in contact with your referees.

3. Proof of income

It's important to prove that you can afford to pay rent, therefor you need to verify your income and current employment. You can verify this by including the details of your current workplace, your manager and your most recent pay slips.

4. Proof of rent history

Proving that you've been a good tenant is important to your application. It's desirable to provide previous tenancy ledgers so you can show properly that you were always on time with paying rent.

5. Cover letter

A short cover letter can be what gets you that little bit ahead of other applications. It shows you're very interested and willing to go above and beyond. Include in your cover letter reasons that make you a good tenant and suitable fit for the property e.g. closer to work or family.

6. Utility bills

(or proof of current address) Provide something that verifies where you are currently living. This can be a utility bill, car registration or anything posted with your name to your current residency.

Tips from a property manager expert

We spoke with Head of Property Management at Professionals Michael Johnson & Co Kathryn Massey about how to make your rental application stand out.

1. Provide as much information as possible

This should go without saying but the more information the better. This prevents the property manager from having to prolong the application process by asking for further clarification. If there are gaps in your employment or rental history, provide explanations upfront.

If there are unexplained gaps, the property manager will most likely move onto another application where all information is available.

2. Make a good first impression

You should treat applying for a rental the same as applying for a job - don't underestimate the value of first impressions. Present yourself well at the home open, as this reflects how you will potentially look after the property. Not only should you dress well, but also be friendly and polite.

Remember you are being considered to look after someone's largest investment, so it is very important to the owner/property manager that they feel comfortable with you looking after their property.

3. Be on time

This applies to home opens and lodging your rental application as both are just as important when it comes to being selected for a property. Property managers are very busy, so it's important you are reliable and turn up when expected.

Usually a property manager will indicate that any rental applications will need to be submitted by a certain time. Respect the deadline - if you don't, the result will more than likely be disappointment. If you are planning on renting a share house, make sure that all the applicants have their information ready to go so delays to submitting the application are avoided.

4. Know what you're applying for

Make sure you know the property you are applying for and that it fits within your budget. Don't submit an application for a property unless you can seriously see yourself moving in, otherwise you are just wasting time for yourself and the property manager/owner.