So it’s time to look for an apartment, but you don’t have a rental ledger handy. The good news? There are several simple ways to show off your great financial standing without written proof of past rental payments.
Proof of income and good payment history are big metrics for landlords. They show them you have a steady income and should be good to make regular rent payments. Being able to provide a prospective landlord with these documents will assure them you can pay the rent, but they also benefit you too!
This step gives you a moment to check in with your budget and make sure you can afford the place you want to rent. It’s also a moment of proof that you have a steady income, and you can use this to vouch for yourself and your credibility if a dispute ever comes up in future.
TL;DR (Too long, didn’t read)
- Most landlords want to verify you’re financially good to pay the rent
- There are several ways to show proof of income before you sign a lease
- Do your homework ahead of time, so you’re prepped to get the apartment you love
Knowing why it’s important, let’s dive into your options outside of a standard rental ledger at the application stage.
1 – Dig out a copy of a recent bank statement
Haven’t rented before? Or can’t get hold of your past landlord for a copy of your ledger? Either way, a bank statement can go a long way to boost your application appeal. Adding a direct extract (or filtered-down version which only shows rent payments) will demonstrate you’ve made regular payments through your account. Bonus points if you have a solid track history of paying on time and plenty of cash in your savings account.
2 – Attach a payslip to your application
One of the most important things a landlord will look for in an application is evidence you can pay the rent. A simple way to do this is to attach a recent copy of your payslip, which shows your annual and regular weekly/fortnightly/monthly income. Providing you have a reasonable and secure income that would cover the rent without throwing you into bankruptcy, your chances are already far better for securing the property.
Hot tip: Don’t get payslips from work? Ask your employer to write you an email/note stating your wage and back up your solid financial standing.
3 – Pull out a recent tax return
When you file your taxes from the previous year, you’ll receive an official copy of a document showing your most recent tax return. This is a legal document that highlights everything you earned the previous year. Consider using your tax statement as proof of income.
4 – Back up your application with a guarantor
If you’re on the edge of qualifying for a hot apartment, your landlord may ask for a guarantor. A guarantor agrees to take on the financial responsibility if you can’t pay your rent for whatever reason. If you suspect your income history might cause problems securing a place to rent, having a potential guarantor in mind could make life easier. Think about a family member as your first pick, but a friend might be willing to help too!
Providing various forms of income proof will help a landlord calculate your rent-to-income ratio and check that you’ll be a good fit for the property – and that you’ll be able to live comfortably and within your means. A good rule of thumb is looking at a 30% rule, but more on that here!
5 – Consider offering extra rent in advance
If you’re in a good spot with money right now and have the cash on hand to pay over and above your rental bond and rent in advance, this may be plenty to sway a property manager in your favour. Whatever you do, make sure you get a receipt and put everything in writing, so you’re covered down the track.
Final thoughts – be honest, obviously.
Whether you’re working full time or are self-employed and working a few freelance gigs, landlords just want you to be upfront and honest. They don’t care how you make your money, so long as you can prove you make it, and it’ll be coming in reliably. End of the day, it’s always better to give them a realistic picture of your income than leave them guessing.
Rent.com.au is Australia's largest company dedicated to renters and is owned and operated by ASX-listed Rent.com.au Limited (RNT:ASX). For over 15 years, Rent.com.au has exclusively focused on making renters' lives easier by making it easier to find a property, secure it, move in and pay rent.