Last Updated on June 5, 2023 by Vlad Stoikovich
If you’re trying to rent anywhere in Australia at the moment then you are facing an incredibly competitive market, and a situation some have called a “rental crisis” making it difficult to secure somewhere to live.
The situation will improve, and the Victoria Government is working on Build-to-Rent projects and similar schemes to provide more accommodation. They have already outlawed “rental bidding” where landlords would invite offers over a minimum rental price to spark a bidding war.
So many people are in a critical situation with housing and the local authorities are taking action. For now, if you want to improve your chances of winning a rental in a very crowded market, follow these tips you can follow to put you in the best possible position to win the rental you’re hoping for.
1. Be The First to Apply
A lot of the real estate sites out there allow you to set up alerts. If they have an app, you may be able to set up push notifications when a new property is added that meets your criteria. Sites like realestate.com.au allow you to set up email alerts.
For a landlord, every day the property isn’t filled is a day when they are losing money, and in such a competitive space, don’t expect the properties to stay on the market for long. Be ready to apply whenever a suitable place comes on the market.
2. Keep On Top of All Real Estate Sites
In such a landlord-friendly market, it is likely that they only need to list on one of the platforms out there to get plenty of interest. Be sure you have an eye on every possible place where your perfect property might come up. Sites to keep tabs on include:
While the first three are great for real estate listings, Flatmate Finders is more of a suitable option for finding home share and spare room situations. Gumtree has both rental listings and flatmate/room share ads, but the marketplace isn’t regulated so make sure you are only dealing with trustworthy people, and that you have a contract to protect you. There is a standard form for property in the state.
3. Don’t Hold Rent to Pay Back With Your Bond
The property bond will be refunded as long as you haven’t damaged the property. Some people don’t pay their last rent payment on the previous property as they assume the bond will cover it, or they wait for the bond to be paid back to pay the last installment. Make sure you don’t do this. A rental reference from the person you most recently rented from will be gold dust when it comes to finding somewhere new.
Keep the relationship with previous landlords positive. Pay all of your rent and then chase up your landlord about getting your bond back.
4. Be Ready With the Paperwork
Time to get organised and have your paperwork in order. If you see a property you want, then you don’t want hold-ups stemming from collecting paperwork and making copies, and neither does the landlord.
A full list of documents you could be asked for can be found at HousingVic. They include:
- A form of photo ID like a driver’s license or passport
- Paystubs – if you don’t have any handy, use a Paystub Generator
- Rental history
- Name and contact details of references
- Rent payment receipts and statements
- Your proof of employment and employment history
- Bank statements and proof of income
5. Try To Show Stable Employment History
This isn’t something you can change in retrospect of course, but there are ways to show stability in your work and prove that you have had a stable income and job security for many years. If you have changed roles recently or had a career break then you might even choose to explain the reasons.
6. Be a Couple, Or Present as a Couple
Couples are in a great position to rent, especially if they have dual income. Landlords like a simple setup rather than having four or five people on the rent. If you rent as a couple but need to share the rent responsibilities with others then it may be possible to sub-let. In Victoria, “rental providers must give permission to sub-let unless there is a good reason not to” according to Consumer Affairs Victoria.
The key takeaway is, most landlords would rather deal with a couple that they know they can rely on than split rent between more people.
7. Have Your Money Ready To Go
A very simple yet effective tip. Have the money ready to pay to your rental provider, including any bond that is required. Landlords will appreciate this and be more likely to accept your offer over someone who may not be able to provide the money instantly. Again, with so many potential renters for each property, any delays may also mean that the landlord goes elsewhere.
8. Be Willing to Pay Rent on Two Properties Temporarily
It may be painful, but it is a way to increase your chances. If you have to sign a new lease before your current lease has expired then you will be paying rent on two places. With such a demand for properties, rental providers are not going to be willing to wait until you are out of your current place.
One benefit of this is the fact that it can make the moving process easier as you can access both properties. If it means double rent for a few weeks while you get there.
9. Find Somewhere Before it Becomes Urgent
It is always best to have a plan before you are left with a few days to try and find somewhere to live. Of course, there are many life events that can change your plans, but in general you will know when your lease is coming to an end or you are planning to move. This means that you can begin the search in advance and get an idea of what is on the market, and hopefully find the ideal property in the process.
10. Pets May Be a Dealbreaker
If you’re looking for properties already you probably will have noticed how many listings insist that you don’t have pets. It is a risk many property providers don’t want to take.
One potential solution is to offer to pay a “pet bond” which means that in the case of your pet damaging the property or the home needing more cleaning and upkeep as a result of your pet, the landlord has financial protection.
11. Be Prompt and Presentable When Attending The Inspection
The inspection is about checking out the property but it is also a chance for you to make a good impression. Nobody is saying you have to wear your best suit, but don’t turn up looking scruffy and unkempt. Smart-casual clothing, a friendly demeanour and being on-time will all help your cause.
12. Don’t Focus on Distance, Focus on Travel Times
It is possible that you are ruling out properties that look like they are too far from your work or school. It’s possible that many of these locations have better commutes, quieter rush hours, or better public transport links.
You can even carry out some experiments and travel to these areas of the city, both to see what they are like and how long it takes to get there using buses, trains, and trams. Melbourne’s public transport system has many different options.
13. Stay Positive and Build Rapport With The Letting Agent
It can be hard to stay positive if your search is a source of frustration, but it is the best route forward. Avoid complaining to letting agents about properties and the state of the market, as it isn’t their fault and it also makes them less inclined to want to help you. Positivity and professionalism in your dealings will stand you in the best possible stead.
How to Win a Rental Property in a Competitive Environment
Yes, a high credit score is often viewed favorably by landlords as it indicates you are financially responsible. If your credit score is lower than ideal, consider providing an explanation and demonstrating a reliable income stream.
Yes, if you can afford it, offering to pay slightly more rent than listed can make your application more attractive in a competitive market. But be cautious not to overextend your budget.
If you’re flexible with your move-in date, it may make your application more appealing to the landlord, especially if it allows them to minimize the vacancy period.
Make sure your rental application is complete, neat, and accurate. Include any supporting documents that might strengthen your application such as references, proof of income, and a credit report. It’s also beneficial to have a co-signer if possible.
Being prepared with all necessary documents will expedite the application process. Also, responding quickly to any inquiries or requests from the landlord or property manager shows your eagerness and reliability.
Good references are very important. They provide the landlord with assurance that you have been a reliable and responsible tenant in the past. Consider including references from previous landlords, employers, or other non-family members who can vouch for your reliability.
Yes, attending an open house shows your interest in the property and gives you a chance to make a good impression on the landlord or the property manager. It also allows you to ask any questions and get a better understanding of the property.
In a competitive market, offering to sign a longer lease can make your application more appealing to landlords. This provides them with stability and reduces turnover.
Yes, a polite follow-up email or phone call a few days after submitting your application can demonstrate your keen interest in the property and keep you fresh in the landlord’s mind.
Yes, writing a cover letter can be a good idea. This gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself, explain why you’re interested in the property, and highlight why you would be a reliable tenant.
Vlad Stoikovich is the General Manager of HomeMove, with more than twenty years in the Melbourne removalist industry, you won’t find anyone with more experience or greater integrity.