A checklist for making sure you’re rent-ready!
Queensland is currently experiencing record-low vacancy rates and high application numbers across the State, producing the most tightly held rental market we have seen in almost a decade. In this competitive environment it is crucial to make a good first impression and put your best foot forward when it comes to your rental application, especially for rookie renters that don’t have a history to fall back on. Moving out of home for the first time should be an exciting and fun milestone, so let us help you get through the not-so-fun stuff to make sure you are set up for rental success!
While it is difficult to show proof of rental history when you are moving out of home for the first time, there are steps that you can take to strengthen your application. Having these prepared before applying for a property will allow the process to go a lot smoother, faster and will give you a higher chance of securing the property.
- Cover Letter – Think of this application as if you are applying for a job by writing a short but informative letter explaining your current situation and why you wish to apply for the property. Providing a detailed and transparent letter outlining your circumstances could mean the difference between securing the property and missing out.
- Verification of income/employment – Pay slips or a bank statement that display you are employed on a regular basis and in a position to cover the rental amount.
- References – These should come from people outside of your family, preferably from an employer, employee, neighbour or anyone you have lived with in the past aside from family.
- Photo ID – Save time and photocopy your ID documentation including driver’s license, proof of age card, Medicare card, passport or birth certificate. You will generally be required to provide 2-3 of these identifying documents, so it is best to have all of yours pre-prepared.
- Recent bills – Phone bills, utility bills and bank statements.
You can access a full tenant checklist at – https://www.rta.qld.gov.au/renting/before-you-rent
Although you may have an idea of what you are looking for in a rental property, making a formal list of your requirements from a practical point of view is important. It is unlikely that you will find a property that fits all of your requirements, so you will need to establish which of these you are flexible on and what your non-negotiables are. Important considerations to make include…
- Public transport – If you rely on public transport, make sure that the properties you are looking at provide easy access to bus stops and train stations. This will save you time and money in the long run.
- Car accommodation – Rental properties don’t always advertise the correct number of car spaces, so if you require secure parking be sure to confirm that this is in fact included.
- Pets – Most properties will specify if they are pet friendly or not and if they are, you will be asked to submit an application for review if you wish to bring a pet to your new home.
- Furnished/Unfurnished – Most rentals will include built-in appliances like a dishwasher, washing machine or dryer, but be sure to confirm this as it can affect the price of the rental. If you have no furniture of your own, filter your search for ‘furnished’ properties only.
Make a good first impression at the rental inspection by following the three P’s – pleasant, presentable and punctual! Whilst making a good first impression alone won’t secure you the property, how you act at the inspection will speak to what kind of tenant you will be. There is no harm in striking up a conversation with the property manager and it may even be the point of difference that wins you the rental. Look through the property thoroughly and keep an eye out for the following when you attend the inspection…
- Damage – Take note of any pre-existing damage – you will later be able to formalise this on an entry report document if you are successful in securing the property.
- Maintenance – Identify any maintenance issues such as overgrown gardens so that you can address them prior to moving in.
- Working appliances – Dishwashers, ovens, air-conditioners, washing machines and dryers.
- Working fittings – Door handles, door locks, cupboards and cabinets.
As a general rule, you can expect a to hear from the property manager within 24-72 business hours of submitting your application, and if you haven’t it can be a good idea to follow up. If successful, the property manager will then ask you to sign a lease, pay the rental bond (the equivalent of four weeks rent) and may also request an additional two weeks rent in advance. Make sure you thoroughly read through any documents before signing and ask for assistance if there is anything that you are unsure of or don’t understand. Below is a brief overview of the documents that you can expect to see…
- Tenancy Agreement – This is the agreement between tenant and property manager that states the terms of the tenancy. There are two types of agreements; a fixed-term agreement for a set period of time with an end date (normally operates for 6-12 months), and a periodic agreement where there is no set end date and is renewed on a fortnightly or monthly basis.
- Entry Condition Report – This is given to new tenants to record the state of the property and any identifiable repairs on a room-by-room basis.
- Bond Lodgement Form – Formally lodges your bond and protect your deposit.