11 tenancy application tips to help you land a great rental property

Applying for a rental property can be a daunting process — there’s plenty of paperwork and some legal considerations and financial requirements, as well as the fact that you’re probably facing up in direct competition against a bunch of other potential tenants who want the same property. But there are things you can do that may make your property manager and landlord view your tenancy application more favourably.
With a great application, you’ll land a rental home more quickly and minimise the stress and hassle that can sometimes be involved with moving house. So let’s get stuck in and see what you can do to make your application better than the rest.

Stop smoking

Quit now! It’s better for your health, your wallet and your ability to land a great property. If you can’t kick the habit, always smoke outside. Smoking inside causes irreversible damage and very grumpy property managers!

Avoid pets

We love our furry friends too but we don’t recommend pets if you’re looking to rent due to the damage and mess they can cause – even if your current landlord is okay having Fluffy around, your next one may not be keen. Best wait until you own your own home before you get pets.

Know your budget

As a guide, look for a weekly rental rate that is one third of your weekly income — if you make $600 per week, the maximum rent you should be willing to pay is $200 per week. It’s unrealistic and unaffordable to pay more than that and it could impact your quality of life.

Have your bond ready

Be aware of the bond amount and how you’ll pay it before you move in. Paying it off in installments is not an option so make sure you have it available upfront.

Carry photo ID

We need to know you are who you say you are, so bring your driver’s license or passport with you when you apply for tenancy.

Improve your credit record

We need to check your credit record for our landlords to make sure you’ll reliably pay rent. Check to see if your credit history is correct, make arrangements to pay off debts and stick to them to improve your credit rating.

Build up a good reputation

The best way of getting a good property is to have another landlord or property manager who will refer you because they were happy with your tenancy. This means keeping and leaving properties clean, always paying rent on time, avoiding damage, letting the landlord know if repairs are needed, not disturbing neighbours and being easy to get along with.

Line up your referees

Previous landlords are the ideal referees but, if you don’t have one or can’t get hold of them, choose people who are in respected positions like your employer, teacher or community group leader. Tell them they may be called and check it’s okay to put their contact details on your application. Your friends or family, no matter how much they love you, will not make good referees.

Stick to the agreement

Landlords don’t like people who break the lease, ignore the conditions of the tenancy or break the law. If you agree to one thing but do another, you’ll just make it harder for yourself to find another property.

Face up to Tenancy Tribunal issues

If you have had a tribunal ruling against you, expect to have trouble getting a place as all Tenancy Tribunal decisions are now on the internet for anyone to read. If you have faced up to your responsibilities (e.g. paid outstanding rent) you will be considered in a far better light than if you have not.

Be honest!

With many people competing for a tenancy, we’ll reject any application that seems dishonest or suspicious. Be up front with us and we’ll give you the same treatment back — remember, we want to help you find a new home. The more thorough and detailed you are in your application, the better a tenant we’ll expect you to be.   Now you have a clearer idea of how to make a good impression, you can apply in the knowledge that you stand a great chance of getting the home you want. Good luck! Looking to rent somewhere in Otago? Get in touch with your local Harcourts property management branch and we’ll help you find the perfect place.