Getting an application approved for your first rental property is not without its challenges. The competition can be tough out there and turning up to an inspection to see more than a dozen other people waiting can be extremely discouraging. However, the agent’s priority is to get a good, reliable tenant into the property on behalf of the landlord. If you can convince the agent that is you, then you have just as good a chance as anyone, even without a rental history.
There are a few ways to go about this and taking a professional approach is a good start. Try to collect as many documents as you think relevant, that give the agent a good idea of who you are. Copies of personal identification, information about your residential history, current and previous employment history as well as financial circumstances will all be relevant. Make sure things are clearly labelled and referenced so the agent doesn’t get confused going through your application. They may have a lot of applications so make yours stand out by making it easy for them.
On a practical level, appearances are important too. Turn up early or on time to property inspections, make some effort with your appearance, and if you were asked to pre-register for inspections, make sure you have done so – it makes the process much faster for everyone and the agent will appreciate your cooperation.
During the inspection, why not introduce yourself to the agent, ask some questions about the property and make some positive casual conversation. This puts you in their mind and helps put a face to the name when they process your application. If on paper your competition looks the same as you, your friendly personality may just be what gets you across the line.
Of course the most important part of a tenancy application is proving that you can pay the rent every month. You may not have a rental history, but maybe you have a history of repayments for something else, such as room and board, a car loan or a gym membership? Include a reference to these repayments in your application - you have a greater chance of being accepted if you have an established history of reliability when it comes to payments. Also, make sure the property you’re applying for is affordable for you in the long-term. If the monthly rent is over 30% of your monthly income, chances are the agent will not feel confident that it’s within your means.
Providing bank statements is a good idea, because it gives the agent a sense of your income and your expenses (assuming they are balanced). You can also highlight regular monthly payments on your bank statement, as further indication of your reliability.
Finally, the property manager will want to know that you are going to be a good, responsible tenant and take care of the property. You don’t necessarily have to provide references from people that you’ve lived with. A simple character reference from a personal contact or an employer may be enough. Avoid using friends or relatives though; they will have a less credibility than someone who is being asked in a professional capacity.
Remember, your first tenancy application will be the hardest. Once approved, you will no longer need to worry about rental history because after six months of staying within the boundaries of your lease agreement, you’ll now you’ll have one!
Need help finding a home?
The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions.