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How to Win a Rental Application

win rental application

How to Win a Rental Application?

It’s not easy in today’s competitive market jostling thirty other applicants to win a rental lease. Especially if you’re on a tight deadline with a string of failed applications behind you and facing the prospect of having to move in with Aunt Doris.

Here is how to win a rental application:

  1. First impressions count
  2. Submit your application early
  3. Check required documentation
  4. Name multiple applicants for shared rentals
  5. Get to know the agent

Securing a rental home can be a daunting, frustrating process. So, here is how to win a rental application:

1. First impressions count

Show the rental agent looking after the property that you’re a socially responsible human being. When you attend an inspection, arrive early, dress neatly, wipe your feet as you enter and introduce yourself. A smile won’t lose you points. Show enthusiasm about the property and explain why you would love to live there. If you build a good rapport with the agent or landlord, they’ll sway towards you over another applicant who fails to make an impression.

2. Submit your application early

Agents are busy, they don’t have time to read every application pushed in their face. Strong applications submitted early should have an advantage. Be organised and prepared right from the start: request an application form before you attend an inspection, complete all questions and prepare your supporting documents. Make five copies of everything (you may need to apply for several properties) and bring one to each inspection – if you like the property you can submit your application, jump the queue and wow the agent on the spot.

3. Check required documentation

Applications that aren’t supported by the requested documentation won’t have a leg to stand on. Check the real estate agency’s website in case they request anything unusual, but the documents listed below are fairly standard –

Reference letters

Unfortunately most rental applications ask for references from previous landlords/rental agents, which (if you’ve never rented before) doesn’t put your application in the best standing. As an alternative, ask your employer to write you a reference vouching for your professionalism, impeccable organisational skills – and neat desk! Other real estate agents you may have come across through past dealings (buying or selling a house) will also make great candidates for providing a persuasive reference.

Pay slips

 to prove you are financially viable. Rental agents and landlords want to know you have a regular income and can afford to meet monthly payments.

Photo identification

to prove you are not an impersonator!

Deposit / rental ledger

If you have one of these, we’ll allow you to keep the smug look on your face – these are gold, which means you’re a serious contender. Rental ledgers prove you have a history of making previous rental payments and are highly regarded by rental agents. A little like holding a triple-A credit rating. But if you don’t have one of these, all is not lost. A bank statement showing some form of savings or a history of making regular mortgage/bill payments makes a great alternative.

Pet references

Unfortunately many rental properties don’t accept pets. If you have a pet, it might help to include a pet reference from your past or current landlord describing the condition of the property upon vacation and stating that there were no reported pet disturbances during your tenancy.

Cover letter

For that added persuasive touch. Use a professional, enthusiastic tone expressing your interest in the property and why you would make an excellent tenant.

4. Name multiple applicants for shared rentals

If you’re intending to share the property with others, put more than one name on the application (pick the applicants with the highest incomes and best references). A landlord will feel reassured that there are other incomes to rely on should one of you lose your job.

5. Get to know the agent

Always follow up with the agent a few days after an inspection and reiterate your enthusiasm. Agents can meet dozens of applicants each week and may not remember one from the other. If you follow up, you’ll familiarise yourself, placing your application at the forefront of the agent’s mind.

Above all, keep looking and keep submitting! The more leases you apply for, the higher your chances of success. Don’t be too disappointed if you don’t land your first choice, another equally good property is sure to come on the market sometime soon.

Good luck!

We’d love to hear your stories – what issues have you come up against while applying for a rental?


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