10 tips for securing a rental in a tight market.
COVID-19 changed the Australian property market, with many people leaving densely populated centres in search of sea or tree changes with more space and freedom to ride out travel bans and lockdowns. This trend of internal migration led to a prolonged period of apartment vacancies and lower rents in our cities across 2021.
Now, as life returns to ‘normal’, business as usual and overseas arrivals are back, causing the rental market to tighten up again – but this time, both in our cities and in the regions, as remote working prevails for many. This new normal is putting a lot of stress on renters looking to find the right property. To help you navigate this tricky time, we’ve outlined our top 10 tips to find and secure a rental in a competitive market.
1. Attend inspections as soon as possible
Make sure you attend the first advertised inspection for a rental property. If you miss it, somebody might get accepted for the property before you even get a chance to view it. Where a property doesn’t have inspection times listed, be proactive and contact the property manager to arrange a viewing as soon as possible.
2. Put your best foot forward
Be friendly, polite and presentable. Even if you miss out, a property manager will keep you in mind for any future rentals. Remember how you treat someone will leave an impression and a great impression is more likely to lead to a great result.
3. Consider what the landlord is looking for
When viewing the property, take some time to talk to the property manager/leasing agent and let them know how your situation would suit the property. If the property is a small cozy home, let them know how that type of home suits your lifestyle. Show interest in what the landlord may be looking for in a tenant and highlight your suitability.
4. Account for your rental history
Tenant checks provide property managers with all the necessary information to determine your tenancy viability. If you have past breaches, it’s important to be aware of these so that you can be transparent when you submit your application.
5. Be upfront about any past issues
If something has gone wrong in the past with a rental, such as an eviction or bond return issue, this may be listed on a tenancy database. Property managers and landlords may check these databases when assessing applications, so it’s always best to be up front and let the property manager know about any prior issues and explain how you resolved them, or intend to do so.
6. Prepare your paperwork
Property managers get inundated with applications for rentals in a competitive market, therefore, the first viable applications may be presented to the landlord quickly. With this in mind, it pays to prepare so you are ready to move swiftly.
Application forms can usually be found online, allowing you to fill them out before the inspection and hand in on the same day. As well as the completed application form, make sure you have copies of your identification, proof of income, previous utility accounts, and references on hand.
7. Write a cover letter
A cover letter isn’t standard practice for a rental application; however, it could be helpful when trying to distinguish yourself from the competition. A cover letter is an excellent opportunity to give a fuller picture of yourself and your situation, reiterating your viability and explaining any gaps or breaches in your rental history.
8. Prepare your references
The final step property managers take in the tenant decision process is to check references. As a courtesy, it’s good practice to inform your referees ahead of time. A landlord is unlikely to ring a reference more than twice if they don’t answer, so consider providing a few extra references as a contingency.
9. Prepare your finances
Make sure you have your bond and the required number of weeks’ rent ready in advance. You may tick all the boxes during the rental application and reference process, but you will miss out on securing the property if you don’t have the funds ready. Paying the bond and deposit, or initial rent, will be the final step in securing the property, along with signing the tenancy agreement.
10. Be responsive
Once you’ve applied for a property, be on standby ready to respond to calls or emails from the property manager or get back to them as soon as you can, and make sure you have got everything ready if you are approved. If you are approved for a property and have other applications pending, make sure you withdraw any other applications quickly so as not to waste anyone’s time or have other prospective tenants thinking they have missed out on the property.