How to apply for a rental property in Australia

Oct 02, 2019
There are a number of hoops you have to jump through when it comes to applying for a rental property in Australia. Source: Getty.

Depending on your circumstances, moving into a rental property can be stressful as you rush to get your application in and wait anxiously to hear if you have managed to secure the property of your dreams. And that’s all before you have even begun the process of physically moving and making the space feel like home.

But when it comes to submitting an application for a rental property in Australia there are some things you can do to ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible, while hopefully convincing the homeowners or letting agent that you are the tenant they have been searching for.

So, if you’re looking to rent a property, or struggling with the application process, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know and do in order to bag the keys to your new home.

What information do I need to include on my application?

When it comes to applying for a rental property, individual real estate agents or private landlords may have different forms and processes that they follow, however there are some pieces of information they will all ask for, in order to assess your suitability as a desirable tenant.

You will always be expected to provide proof of identification – usually more than one form, such as a drivers licence, passport or bank card. This is because letting agents may wish to conduct background checks into prospective buyers to look for potential issues such as any outstanding debt, your visa status and any criminal convictions or court summonses.

Another vital piece of information that landlords will request is your renting history, as this is also needed to carry out background checks using tenant screening services, which can show whether you have a track record of looking after properties you rent and paying your rent on time. This links to your employment status, or financial status, as landlords will want to be sure that you can meet the weekly payments.

Lastly, private landlords and letting agents may wish to contact referees – which can include your employer, friends or previous landlords – before they agree to rent their property to you.

Is there anything that can help to sway a landlord?

If you’re asked a question, answer it – that’s the advice of many Australian landlords who claim that missing information can be the difference between your application being accepted or rejected. In fact, according to Domain, up to 30 per cent of applicants leave information off their forms.

The more information you provide, the better, and this rings especially true when it comes to your finances as these details can go a long way in assuring landlords that you won’t have any difficulty meeting your weekly rent payments. If you’re still working, be sure to include your employment contract, payslips, even a letter from your boss confirming your salary. If not, bank statements, along with proof of any additional income you receive, should suffice.

Another way to possibly sway a landlord in your favour is to ask your previous property manager to provide a rental ledger, detailing every rent payment you made to them. This can then be included as part of your application as proof of your reliability.

Why has my application been rejected?

The rental market in Australia is very saturated, particularly in major capital cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. This means that there can be a large number of people applying for any single property, meaning prospective tenants may be rejected several times before landing themselves a set of keys.

There are a number of common reasons why your application may have been unsuccessful, these include:

  • You have failed to provide enough information about your income
  • You haven’t answered all of the questions on the application form
  • You can’t afford the rent on the property. Many landlords operate on the basis that if the rent amount is more than 30 per cent of your income, it is out of your price range
  • You submitted your application too late, meaning other prospective renters beat you to the punch

If you are rejected though, you are well within your rights to request feedback from the landlord.

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