The current rental market is insanely busy. We are seeing many more prospective tenants in the market, and this increased demand for properties outstrips what is available across the board.  Searching for a new home is always stressful and the shortage of rentals at the moment is making a bad situation worse.

Here at Merrifield Real Estate we want to ease this stress.  We hope this information helps you understand the rental process – and by helping you, it helps us match you to a home as quickly as we possibly can.

One of the biggest challenges in the rental market is the application process. It is extensive, requires a lot of information, and can be confusing.  Worst though, is the time it takes, and we know it’s time that many of you simply don’t have to spare!  So let us share with you our five Hot Tips on how you can put your best foot forward when applying for a rental property.

#1 Hot Tip: Presentation – First Impressions count!

When attending a property viewing be mindful of how you present and handle yourself. Most agents and property owners will be assessing you from this first interaction, including how you act, and what you say and do.  Later they will consider how well your application is completed. Be mindful of these things and make sure the impression you give to others is memorable for the right reasons!

#2 Hot Tip: The Application – Get the perfect form in!

Ensure you have fully read the application, including any additional requirements. If your application is not fully complete when you submit it, but we receive 10 others that are, yours won’t be prioritized. Ensuring you provide all the required information means we can start processing the application straight away rather than needing more time to follow you up.  The same goes for the ID and income requirements; these are presented to the owner to help them decide if you are the right tenant for their property.  Taking the time to do the application well helps save time in the process, for everyone involved.

#3 Hot Tip: References – Choose wisely!

Too often, our time is spent chasing applicant’s referees because they will not answer, or return our calls. Making sure your nominated referees are aware that their details will be provided is critical in the response time. Provide them with our details, and make sure they know to expect a call.  We know, ignoring calls from an unknown number is tempting – but this is important.  The faster your application is processed, the faster we can present it to the owner.  If they miss our call, a quick return call is appreciated.

Employment contact is the same, we need to confirm the information you have supplied is correct and current and that your employment is ongoing.  This confirms your ability to afford the property. Ensure your employment references are aware we will be contacting them.

When applying with others (including partners) please ensure you have each listed different personal references. These provide a character reference for you, so the referees need to know you on a personal level: think work colleagues, supervisors, neighbours or friends for example.

#4 Hot Tip: Honesty – it is always the best policy!

When checking through your application we look at everything.  We are engaged by the property owner to match them to the best suitable tenant, which means we must scrutinize every piece of information you provide to ensure you are the right tenant for them.  If you are not honest when listing information, it will be uncovered.  If there is something you think we should know about you, then let us know!  If you need to, feel free to add extra information to assist in the processing of your application.

#5 Hot Tip: Speed – delays cost!

Due to the current demand, you simply must work quickly.  This means attending the first possible viewing as soon as you can. If you’ve secured a time and cannot attend yourself; don’t cancel!  See if a friend can view the rental for you, so that you don’t miss out.  We recommend submitting your application no later than 24 hours after viewing the property.  Some people wait a week before they submit their application, and after that much time the property is already leased.

We aim to get a response to you within five business days so please be patient with us. We do not make the final decision, that comes down to the property owner who makes it.  Some owners like to take a little longer to decide when it comes to their investment but we will always provide you with a response as soon as practicable.  Please note though, that due to confidentiality laws we are not able to provide reasons as to why your application has been declined.

Ultimately, the rental market at the moment is extremely tough.  Everyone is in need and there is only so many properties available.  We understand it’s a stressful situation but with your help, we hope to make this process a little less stressful because lets face it, we all need less stress in our lives!


Written by Lisa Dunham & Liz Duncan