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How to get the home: six tips for a successful rental application

Top reasons to 'rentvest'
Here's some tips as to whether renting and investing is for you.

Been knocked-back for yet another rental property? Join the club. To help make your next rental application a success, we asked landlords and property managers to reveal what they look for in a rental tenant.

Complete the application

It should go without saying, but filling out a rental application in its entirety is a must.

The dos and don’ts of applying for a rental property.The dos and don’ts of applying for a rental property. Photo: Dean Osland

Dion Verzeletti, director of Ray White Thornleigh, estimates that 30 per cent of rental applications received by his office are incomplete.

It’s a competitive market, and property managers don’t have time to be following up applicants for forgotten details, so make sure all your paperwork is accounted for and clearly outlined from the get-go.

Simply finishing the application puts you in good stead for rental property success.

Provide as many financial details as possible

Property managers generally favour applicants who have been stably employed in the one job for at least two years.

For those who are self or unemployed, Stephanie Barbanti, business development manager at Stockdale & Leggo Epping, suggests providing the details of your accountant, a bank statement showing savings, or references from a past employer.

“For those who are out of work, an explanation as to why would help. You could be between contracts or jobs, sold a business and taking some time off, or recently made redundant from a current position,” Verzeletti says.

Also ensure you’re applying for properties within your financial reach. Property managers look for tenants whose rental payments won’t exceed more than 35 per cent of their income.

Update your social media accounts

Savvy property managers will always look up potential tenants on social media to verify their details.

“Property managers need to go beyond the normal means of reviewing an application as the applicant will always put the good stuff on and leave the bad stuff off,” says Honor Borg, managing director at C-Vue Property Group.

If the information on your social media accounts differs from what’s included on your rental application (such as your place of employment) this can raise serious questions, so check your details are up to date.

Be a responsible pet owner

Some landlords will flat out refuse pets in their properties due to past experiences, so find out if this is the case before applying.

“Renters must understand their responsibilities. Most landlords have had dreadful experiences with non-paying renters, animal damage issues and smoke penetrating through the property,” says Karen Phillip, a NSW landlord with multiple rental properties.

For those who can’t bear to part with their beloved cat or dog, be open about your situation. Verzeletti recommends including a pet reference and photo of your pet in your application. While it may be tempting to lie about having a pet, this may jeopardise your relationship with the property manager, making it even more challenging to rent in the future.

Stick to procedure

Offering a wad of cash up front, or asking the property manager not to contact your previous agent will automatically raise concerns.

“An immediate red flag is when someone has trouble getting together their supporting documents, starts telling us bad stories about where they are living at the moment, or just doesn’t engage with us when we are showing the property,” says Robert Riddell, property investment manager at Response Real Estate Riverstone.

Ask for feedback

If your application is unsuccessful, don’t be afraid to contact the property manager and ask for feedback on how you can improve next time.

“I will always try and give feedback where I can,” says Borg.