Property Managers and Landlords have a lot to do with tenants and it can often be extremely frustrating when people’s applications for rental properties are unsuccessful. As I’m the one who has to break the bad news to them, people often ask what they are doing wrong. My answer is usually “probably not a lot.”
In some areas, demand for properties far exceeds the number available. That means property managers can have a very hard time choosing between similarly suitable applicants. There's not much individuals can do about supply and demand in the rental market. However, there are a few simple traps that a lot of people fall into.
Here are some tricks and tips for rental application success:
1. Treat it like a job application
Be prepared, and get informed about the property. Nothing puts a busy property manager off quicker than a potential tenant who knows literally nothing about the property they want to be trusted to live in, so make sure you read the advert and avoid dumb questions like this text conversation on the managemyproperty Txt Line:
Txt:Is the flat still available?
Txt:The one in the paper.
It also doesn't hurt to make a little effort to look tidy and respectable. I heard of one young guy who really wanted a flat in an awesome location at a great rent. He knew the too-low rent would attract a lot of students so he deliberately asked for the first visit of the day, turned up five minutes early and wore his only suit on a sunny Saturday morning. After an afternoon of students drifting in and out, sometimes hours late, it took less than five minutes for the guy in the suit to get the call.
2. Fill out your application neatly and thoroughly!
Fundamentally, this means answering all the questions, not just the ones you happen to know off the top of your head. Property managers need to know your employer’s details as well as your landlord's so we can check up on your history. We have an obligation to the property owner to do this properly and cannot accept the application until we have done the requisite checks. If for some valid reasons the applicant does not have this information, a little note explaining why always helps.
3. Show us you want the property
This means follow up - without being too aggressive. Calling up to confirm that your application has been received and asking when we expect to have an answer is perfectly fine. It's also more than reasonable to call on or around the decision date to check again.
4. Be friendly and not too annoying
This is subjective because every property manager’s definition of “annoying” differs, but there are some general guidelines. Common courtesy and a friendly smile never go wrong for a start. The bottom line is that applicants who look like they're going to make the property manager’s life extremely painful rarely get accepted.
5. Don’t be offended by standard requirements
Every landlord and property manager has been burned by people saying they love a place only for them to disappear off into the ether. Their previous bad behaviour means applicants may now be asked for proof of a deposit or to sign a lease as pretty much standard practice. It’s definitely nothing personal.
6. Provide documentation
Don't be shy here. Make sure to include any documents that will enhance and support your application. Property managers are really looking for things like letters of commendation from previous rentals or papers confirming your income. A copy of a healthy bank statement is also a powerful item to include, especially if you're new to the country or between jobs.
7. Act quickly
Of everything written in this post, this tip is probably the most important. If you really like a place, get your application in as soon as possible. When a property is vacant, property managers and landlords are usually in an understandable hurry to get someone in. Otherwise, the property is just sitting there and no-one is earning money. In these circumstances, it's often the person who gets their application in first with an early move-in date who gets the nod.
8. Consider offering more rent
If you are truly, madly, deeply in love with a property and are desperate to live there at all costs, there are some options. The advertised rent is not a set maximum amount. You could consider offering to pay more than the advertised rental, giving the agent extra rent up-front or moving in earlier than you might have otherwise planned. Any or all of those tactics might tip the balance in your favour. However, a word of warning: only offer to pay what you can truly afford because the agent will rightly hold you to it.