How to get the rental: What we look for in a tenant

Wellington is experiencing a shortage of rental properties currently, but if you think it’s tough out there now, just wait for Jan/Feb where we’re going to see more cases of 40+ people lining up down the street to view a property.

You might apply for more than 4 or 5 properties before you finally get one, but what can you do to increase your chances of signing the dotted line faster, or being accepted for a property that you’re really keen on.

Here’s some ideas on what we look for as property managers when reviewing an application.

When you see the listing

Get in early: As soon as you see the advertisement or listing for the property, and you have decided you are interested and want to apply, you should get in quick and organise a viewing.

Book the viewing correctly: Each property may have a different process for arranging the viewing, such as contacting the property manager/landlord directly via phone call, text only, email, or through an online booking system like ViewingTracker, which you can use through your TradeMe account. If you text or call, when it’s specified to use an online booking form, you’ll likely get ignored.

With tools like ViewingTracker, we can also set the limit of viewings. At Nice Place, we limit attendees to only 10, so time is of the essence when booking.

Have your application ready: Once you have booked your viewing, it’s time to get your application together before you arrive to speed up the process for everyone involved. There will typically be a form online that you can either download and print, or fill in directly online. If possible, bring this with you.

Don’t miss out important details: Make sure you are filling in your applications completely, so no details are missed. It can be worthwhile giving the application a personal touch, for example explaining why you are looking to move to the area. It is also important to add any other details that will clarify areas in the application. In this case, you may have another source of income as well your main employment. It is important to clarify this, so the property manager can see where the income will come from, and if you can pay rent. Online applications can also ask for photo ID, preferably a NZ Driver’s License. Passports are okay to use, however not all applications can use them. It’s important to add photo ID to your application, especially when asked for it.

Part of your application will include adding in your references, so make sure that they are aware they may receive a call regarding your application. This is especially important to communicate with your current property manager/landlord – they don’t want to receive an unexpected call from another property manager about your application.

When you attend the viewing

Arrive on time: Make sure you arrive at the viewing with time to spare – try to get there at least 5 minutes prior to your booking time. You don’t want to keep the property manager waiting, but you also don’t want to rush them, or intrude on another person’s viewing.

Be prepared: If you really want a shot at getting the rental, you need to arrive prepared. What questions do you need answered about the property? Have you got all of your application details arranged? Do you need to take an application form, or have you filled it in online?

Treat it like an interview: Not only should you make an effort with how you present yourself, which shows you’re a tidy and clean tenant, but you should also introduce yourself to the property manager to really stand out. Often there may be plenty of others at the viewing, so make yourself known to them, and use this opportunity to ask questions.

Ask questions (only for information not obvious in the listing). Asking questions about the property will help to communicate your interest, and build a relationship with the property manager. It can be helpful to ask the property manager how they prefer to receive applications, as this shows genuine interest, as well as clarifying for you the best way to apply.

When you get accepted

Now that you’ve got the rental, you need to ensure you follow through with your good impression.

Read the lease agreement: When you first get offered the rental, make sure you read thoroughly through the lease agreement. It is your responsibility to understand the terms of the lease. You should make sure you are clear about all requirements and understand the agreement before signing.

Set up your automatic payment: As part of your lease agreement, you also need to meet your rent payment obligations. To avoid making late rent payments, set up and automatic payment – and notify your property manager that it is set up. This will give both you and the property manager peace of mind that the rent will be paid regularly and on time.

Make an effort for your inspections: It’s not difficult to throw the vacuum cleaner through the house, check the widow edges are mould free, and wipe the bench down. Not only will you and your property manager have a good relationship, but when it comes time for you to move into another rental, you’ll have a great reference from your existing property manager. A really important thing to keep in mind if the rental stock continues shrinking.

Have you ever tried something new when applying for a property that helped get you over the line?

Nick Phillips