It can be super frustrating to miss out on rental properties again and again, but take heart. To whip up a successful rental application, you just need to start with the right ingredients.
Situation: you’ve just found your dream home to rent and you’re excited to submit an application so you can get in right away.
While other applications are convenient snack foods that are as simple as adding basic details and signing on the dotted line, applying for a rental property is more like baking a delicious cake.
If you don’t have all the correct ingredients and follow the recipe in the right order, you’ll end up with a disappointing mess. And no house to rent.
For those new to the rental market, here is my recipe to bake a successful rental application.
Step 1: Prepare the ingredients
Just like when making a cake, it’s important to prepare the correct ingredients for your application. Which in this case means getting each of your documents in order.
Your documentation should be organised before you even start filling in an application. Being prepared will save you time going back and forth, digging up and scanning the right paperwork.
Generally, a rental application form will ask an applicant for the following details, so you should ensure you have these ingredients handy:
Multiple forms of identification including your driver’s license, passport, Medicare card, health care card, or birth certificate
Your rental history
Rent payment receipts or statements
Employment details and history
Proof of income, including current payslips from your employer or your Centrelink income statement
Bank details and copies of your bank statements
Step 2: Blend in some references
Beyond paperwork, the next thing you’ll need to prepare is your references. Having good references from prior rental property owners and property managers can’t be overstated.
When applying for a rental property, property managers and rental property owners want to essentially know that you’ll be a reliable renter. That means you’ll pay your rent on time and treat the property with respect.
While it’s not 100 per cent necessary, it doesn’t hurt to also add references from co-workers, employers, or former neighbours. Throw everything you can into making this a successful rental application.
Note: It’s crucial that you inform your references that you’ve listed them on your application, so they are prepared for a phone call. In some cases, it’s also a good idea to ask your employer to write a formal reference letter, which you can attach to your application.
Step 3: Whip up the rental application form
Now that you have your ingredients in your bowl, it’s time to stir in the all-important rental application form.
Make sure you take your time filling this out. Check that every question is answered correctly and to your best ability.
Most property managers have standardised application forms that can be found on their website, otherwise they may request for you to use 1Form, which is a free online rental application platform.
If you’re applying for a rental property with other people, submit all your forms together and list their names and basic details in your own application.
Step 4: Put it in the oven with a cover letter
“Do I really need a cover letter?” The answer is always yes.
A good cover letter allows you to ultimately summarise yourself, your prior rental history and detail why you would make a good tenant.
When writing a cover letter, be honest and try to conduct yourself in a professional manner, but not so overly formal that you sound robotic. Being too formal can ironically cause some red flags for property managers who think you’re using formality to cover something up. So just be friendly and professional.
If you’re going to live with other people, introduce each person briefly, including any pets.
Step 5: Decorate it with a follow up
After you’ve submitted your application, it’s a good idea to follow up with the property manager. You can do this instantly with a quick thank you email. This ensures they understand you’re interested in the property and are keen to hear the outcome, once the time arises.
Try your best not to be too pushy if you don’t immediately hear back from the property manager. Within a week or two is fair. Remember, you’re not the only person applying to rent the property. They may have a big list of applications to get through.
By being pleasant and easy to work with, property managers will think of you favourably. Then you’ll be top of mind when they’re considering applications.