Rental application tips from an expert

When you’re on the hunt for a rental property, understanding the application process is vital to securing the property you want. 

Kathryn Massey is the Co-Chair of REIWA’s Property Management Network and Head of Property Management at Michael Johnson & Co and has a wealth of experience with rental applications. 

She also understands the most common mistakes that prospective tenants make when applying for a rental home. 

Here are her top tips for making the application process run smoothly. 

Consider your budget

 

While it’s not necessarily as big of a financial commitment as owning your own home, there are still significant costs to factor. 

Ms Massey says it’s imperative you’re absolutely certain you can afford the property. 

“If you are spending more than one third of your income on rent, can you really afford it? 

“You should also expect to pay an option fee, two weeks rent in advance and four weeks bond – this is a substantial amount of money for some, however it is required upfront, so make sure you’re across the costs,” Ms Massey said. 

Present like you’re applying for a job

Treat the rental application process like you would the job application process. 

Ms Massey says first impressions count when considering tenants for a rental home, so you should put your best self forward at every stage of the application process. 

“It’s important to dress well, don’t be late for home opens and be polite,” Ms Massey said. 

Know exactly what you’re applying for

When inspecting the property, it’s important to make sure you’re happy with it in its current condition before applying. 

“A lot of tenants sign leases and then put in a list of maintenance they want done which doesn’t go down well. Make sure anything you want fixed or upgraded is noted on your application forms and agreed to by the landlord prior to signing any lease agreement,” Ms Massey said. 

It’s also worthwhile making sure the rental home you’re applying for can meet any extra requirements you may have, like accommodating pets or extra people. 

“If you have pets, or want to get one in the future, make sure that the property you are applying for will allow for this. 

“And make sure all people who plan to live at the property provide their details. Be honest on your application as discrepancies are uncovered very quickly,” Ms Massey said. 

Fill in your application thoroughly

 

When you’ve found a property you want to apply for, make sure you take your time filling out the form and be sure it’s completed in full. 

“Ensure that photocopies of your ID and any other documents required are supplied otherwise it will delay the processing of the application. 

“You should also advise your referees to expect a call. It can be very frustrating for the property manager when a tenant’s referees can’t be contacted,” Ms Massey said. 

Be meticulous with all documents

Like any contract situation, it’s vital you do your due diligence and make sure you have a sound understanding of exactly what you’re signing. 

Ms Massey says to ask questions if you’re not sure as a lease is a legal contract and the penalties for breaking the lease can be steep.  

“You should also take the time to go through your property condition report – it is your opportunity to note down any discrepancies so you don’t get held responsible for them at the end of your tenancy,” Ms Massey said. 

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