Whether you’re applying with mates, your partner or going on your own, submitting a rental application can be both daunting and exciting. But what really happens behind the scenes?
Between you submitting your application and that much-anticipated call from the property manager, a wide range of checks take place to determine your suitability for the property.
While some property managers follow different processes, most applications can take 24-72 hours before a decision is reached.
But why does it take so long to approve?
Once you submit your application, a series of checks will determine if you’re the best candidate for the property. Some of these checks are very quick, and others can take a couple of days to run. These tests could include:
- Checking tenancy databases like NTD and TICA for any past issues in your rental history (things like rental payments or property damage).
- Confirming that you submitted your rental application in full with all required attachments
- Calculating affordability – Does the property fall within your income range?
- Verifying your previous living arrangements (even if you were living with family)
- Confirming your employment status if you’re employed, or proof of regular payments like Centrelink
- Checking your references. Sometimes contacting references is the reason your application might take more than 48 hours
- Checking your next-of-kin or emergency contact details. This is a crucial step for agents and becomes helpful in the event your tenancy ends, or you don’t provide a forwarding address for your mail.
Once these checks are completed, property managers submit all relevant, shortlisted applicants to the property owner for approval. They may also suggest who they think will make the best tenants. But ultimately, the final decision comes down to the owner, not the agent.
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Property managers are looking for someone who’ll look after and respect the property and pay their rent on time. So a good work history and a positive recommendation from your current property manager or landlord will significantly increase your chances! If you don’t have a rental history, see our post: No rental history: How to get a rental property.
The key here is to be patient!
Hot tip: If you haven’t heard back from the agent after 48 hours, follow up by phone or email. When you do, remind them about the property address. Many agents manage hundreds of properties and can have multiple vacancies advertised simultaneously.
So what happens if my application is accepted?
If your application is successful, congratulations! The property manager will contact you almost immediately. This is the stage where things start to speed up. In most cases, you’ll receive an email to tell you your application has been accepted.
If you decide to go ahead with the lease, the property manager will also include information about the rental bond and rent in advance that needs to be paid as soon as possible. There’ll typically be a deadline attached to this payment.
After this, you’ll be sent the property’s relevant tenancy documents and lease agreement. If you’re renting an apartment, you’ll likely be sent body corporate rules for the property and its facilities.
Depending on where you’re renting, you may also be invited to attend a sign-up meeting to sign your lease.
But what if it’s not accepted?
This is where things get a little complex – and it’s a point of contention for many renters who miss out on properties. There is no legal obligation for a property manager to notify you if you aren’t successful.
If you had your heart set on a specific home and missed out, you’ll probably want to know why you weren’t deemed suitable. Given there’s no legal requirement for them to do this, you might not get an answer until you ask.
Consider sending a friendly email to the property manager and asking them if they can let you know why you weren’t successful.
Reasons you might not be accepted could include:
- Your income did not meet the affordability criterion;
- Another applicant was deemed a better fit; or
- The terms you offered were not suitable for the landlord/rental provider.
Go in with the right attitude
We hear you. This whole process of searching, enquiring, viewing and applying for properties is no breeze. It can also be disheartening if you’re not accepted into a property you love.
As you move through the process, the best thing you can do is stay calm and ensure you’re polite and friendly to the agent looking after the property. Approaching the rental experience with the right attitude can make all the difference and directly impact the success of your rental application.
Organise your rental bond and rent in advance
Once successful, you’ll need to pay your rental bond and (in most cases) two weeks’ rent in advance. Your property manager will generally require this money within 24 to 48 hours to secure the property. The sooner the lease is signed, and your rent and bond are paid, the sooner you’re guaranteed the property is yours.
Need money to cover your rental bond or rent in advance? RentBond can help! Find out more about RentBond here.
Lauren Vardy is the Content Manager at Rent.com.au, Australia's largest company dedicated to renters (ASX:RNT). Lauren has worked with Rent.com.au since 2015 and manages the Rent.com.au Blog. Formerly a journalist with Fairfax Media and Rural Press, Lauren has worked with multiple media groups in Australia and internationally on a freelance basis through publications including the Esperance Express, Southeast Asia Globe, Colosoul Magazine, The Sunday Times, and more.