In a perfect world, tenants would be tidy, friendly, sign long leases and never complain about the rent or anything else for that matter – is that too much to ask?
While landlords may dream of the perfect tenant, in reality they tend to look for tenants that are similar to them in standards and values. Entering into a landlord tenant relationship is like any other relationship – first appearances matter and they want to ensure you’re serious.
What makes your application appealing?
Tenants are as varied as the colour of jelly babies but they tend to fall into groups including students, young working professionals, families, power couples and, of course, retirees. Choosing the wrong tenant can be disastrous – you don’t want to end up on an episode of A Current Affair because of bad tenants!
Each persona of renters comes with their own pros and cons. For example, retired couples are immaculate tenants; they stay longer and keep the rental in fantastic condition. Or families, especially those with children, tend to stay longer, because they don’t want to disrupt their kids, but the rental is more likely to need the three R’s; repairing, redecorating and replacement of fittings and fixtures more regularly.
It’s all good and well to have great tenants who pay their rent on time, but landlords are looking out for a few key things that could make or break your application:
History of breaking the lease
Leases are there for a reason, they provide both you and the landlord with stability; breaking your lease can get you into hot water legally as well as financially. So a history of breaking agreements may raise red flags for any prospective landlord or property managers. Make sure all your references are in check before putting them on your application. When the property manager or landlord asks why you want to move, they will be looking for red flags like eviction or fighting with your current housemates. Try to focus your answers on the positive reasons like proximity to certain locations, moving in with a partner or friend or simply wanting more room.
No dirty little secrets
If there is something specific you need included in the lease, it’s best to do it up front. Trying to hide any specific needs from your property manager or landlord will only cause more trouble when they inevitable find out.
For example, not all landlords are fur friendly. However, if you’re tied to your pet/s then by all means declare them at the interview. Try to show that your pets are well behaved and abide by your every word. You can even get a reference or letter of recommendation for your pets from your vet or previous landlord.
Jumping from rental to rental is like jumping from bed to bed – you’ll give yourself a bad rep (minus all the fun). Landlords like to know their tenants are secure and can show stability in their life, from employment to rental history, they want to know you’re in it for the long haul.
A cover letter from old bosses, co-workers and landlords will only help your chances in securing a place over your rental competition.
Putting the “us” in “trust”
Your employment history and rental history can demonstrate your reliability to pay rent on time but how can you demonstrate you are trustworthy enough to look after their investment? Well, most property managers and landlords will do their research, from credit to criminal history; it is important you are honest on your application and be prepared to pay a larger bond should your history come up colourful. You may even wish to suggest a parent or relative co-sign the lease with you to prove your record is in the past.
When your landlord comes to visit, they don’t want to get death stares from the neighbours because you’ve had parties, friends over or loud BBQ’s until 2am. Even as a tenant, you don’t want your neighbour complaining about you to the police. If Neighbourhood Watch means anything, your neighbours can act as a shield between you and burglars, and could even make for a great rental reference, so take care of them.
Landlords and tenants want the same things – a good working relationship; tenants want to live somewhere comfortable and safe and landlords want to pay their mortgages through income they make from you. Show that you will meet these needs on your application with as much positive information as you can. The more glowing references you have the better and you are putting yourself in a great position to land that rental.