The number one reason agents would decline a tenant application, according to a rent.com.au survey of Australian property managers, is a history of missed rental payments.

More than 70% of property managers surveyed said an applicant who had a record of habitually paying their rent late would be the first struck off the shortlist.

There are a number of legitimate reasons a property manager/owner could reject a tenant’s application. Here are the top eight reasons provided by Australian property managers: 

  • A history of missed rental payments (70.8%)

Does the applicant have a history of not paying rent? According to the responses, this was the biggest red flag for property managers. If a database listing or landlord reference showed an applicant often had late or missed rent payments, the majority of PMs would put the application aside and consider another applicant with a proven ability to pay the rent.

  • A negative rental history (i.e. listing on a tenancy database) (57.4%)

Has a tenancy database listing showed evidence that an applicant left a property in a bad condition or caused property damage beyond fair wear and tear? For many PMs, this would be a good reason to reject an application. No owner wants their property tenanted by someone who a high risk for causing hundreds of dollars in damage.

  • Inadequate income for the property (55.6%)

Making the top three list, having an inadequate or unverified income was a common reason rental applications would be rejected. Proof of income could come in the form of payslips, a letter from an employee or excerpts from bank statements. If a tenant can’t show proof that they’ll be able to pay the rent, their application could be rejected.

  • False information on an application (38.9%)

If a tenant lies on an application, it’s more than likely the truth will be found out before the application can progress. Most property managers run tenancy database checks on rental applicants, so false information provided about former rental history or damage can come back to bite them quickly.

  • References don’t check out (31%)

Most rental applications include a section where an applicant needs to list a few references: a past landlord, an employer or an unbiased person who can speak to how responsible and trustworthy they are. After discovering the applicant was consistently late paying rent or turned their apartment into a meth lab, their application will likely be refused.

  • Insufficient information provided on the application form (18.5%)

Good applications should come with all the necessary information required to help the property manager and owner consider each prospective tenant. For many PMs, a completed set of documentation and information for all applicants/housemates is going to increase a person’s chances of getting to the top of the pile. 

  • Unexplained gaps in their rental history (14.4%)

Unexplained gaps in an applicant’s rental history can also trigger a rejection. Why? For one, many agents would suspect that the person vacated before their lease was up. Circumstances depending, the absence of information can be a big red flag. Of course, this doesn’t always mean instant rejection. Tenants can work around these periods by explaining legitimate reasons for the gap (moving in with family, taking time to travel). 

  • Applying with pets (7.9%)

Not all owners will list their property as pet-friendly, but with a growing percentage of pet owners across Australia, it’s not uncommon for PMs to be approached by an applicant armed with a Pet Resume and intentions to move in with Fido. Of course, the laws in regards to allowing pets into rental properties vary from state to state, but it’s not uncommon for landlords to have rules about pets (certain size or breed).

What about you? We’d love to know what you think.

Are your reasons for refusing an application in order with the above? Or do you have other points you consider first? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.


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