Reader Question: 

“How can I apply for a rental without viewing it? Is that possible? I work full time and can’t make viewings during the day” – Catherine

rental without viewing
Photo: iStock/jhorrocks.

Do you want to apply for a rental without viewing it first?

Catherine, we asked Senior Property Manager at Nicholas Lynch Rentals, Heidi Sparks whether it was possible to apply for a rental without viewing it first.

“Unfortunately, most agencies have the same policy which is that they will not approve an application if you have not physically inspected the property,” Heidi said.

“It is too risky to allow someone to rent a property site unseen as too much could go wrong.

Heidi suggests that if you cannot make it during the week, find out whether they are holding a Saturday open you could make.

“If not, if you have a family member or friend who can view it on your behalf, they will allow this,” she said.

If you’re unable to view the rental property yourself because you’re working or you don’t live locally, you should ask a friend, colleague or family member to inspect the property for you. Worst comes the worst, consider booking accommodation for a night before the inspections in the city you’re moving to. You can arrange the inspections for the day you arrive, decide on the one you like and send in your application.

Want to apply for a rental property without viewing it first? A real estate agent may ask you to attend an inspection before you submit your rental application – and these restrictions may well be a blessing in disguise.

There are many reasons a real estate agent will impose a restriction on viewing properties before you send in an application. This is why.

We’ll be posting answers to reader questions every week. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, please send it to

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heidi sparks
Heidi Sparks
Senior Property Manager at | | + posts

Heidi, a Licensed Estate Agent has over fifteen years experience in the Real Estate industry encompassing all aspects of property management including both residential and commercial property management.


  1. This article is overly simplistic. If the real estate has a “policy” it means they have decided within their organisation to implement a procedure. Policies are not legislation and unless there is legislation which i don’t know about, a real estate agency cannot refuse to process your application if you don’t do an inspection. It seems like real estates have implemented these policies because they can’t be bothered dealing with tenants who complain about issues with their new rental property because they had no idea what the place was like before signing a lease. It seems like more and more real estate agencies have jumped on the band wagon and now its policy everywhere and agents and owners take it as if its law.

    There are many instances, including my own, where inspections were not possible – i have no family or friends who were able or who were willing to do inspections on my behalf and i work full time, i do not have a drivers licence and getting to multiple house inspections on a weekend was a nightmare – especially when i took the effort to go to an inspection and i then i was not approved. Thus the time spent going to inspections was wasted.

    I’m not advocating that you go out and apply for houses willy nilly without inspecting them because this article is correct in one aspect when they say too much can go wrong. However, if agencies do nothing to provide people with alternatives to inspections then this makes obtaining a lease and a home both prohibitive and discriminatory on many levels.

    I suggest if people have difficulties attending inspections that they do some thorough research on the area, thoroughly inspect the online photos, look closely at google images of the street and the neighbourhood/backyard etc to make absolutely sure that the premises will suit your needs. Talk to the agent and ask about previous tenants and the owners and any issues which have ever come up. Then during the application stage, there should be a disclaimer that you can sign which says that you have applied for the premises without inspecting it and you will accept the premises as is.

    If upon being accepted as the preferred applicant of the premises and you arrive to find there are issues with the property there are two options – either they are issues which the owner/real estate are required by LAW to fix or they are issues which you are going to have to live with because you couldn’t make an inspection. You signed a disclaimer so suck it up. There has to be some give and take from both parties. Adhering to this policy of “no acceptance if no inspection” is wrong.

  2. I rented a place unseen….Did it all on the computer, turned out fine…..Each to their own, no hassles.
    The thing with both parties, common sense…

  3. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars driving miles and miles to inspect properties a long way from where I am, only to not make the inspection time, due to unforseen traffic delays, or not be approved. Rents are getting more expensive, forcing me further and further away from family and friends, and I’m on a pension and cannot afford to lose the money it takes to view properties far away. It’s a lot more difficult for tenants in this day and age than it is for landlords and real estates!