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Applying for a Place to live

Okay. Now you have been planning and made a decision about what kind of accommodation you would like (and can afford), you can jump on the merry-go-round of house hunting.

As previously mentioned, the rental market is very competitive and you need to put effort into presenting to an owner/agent, so you appear as the best applicant for the tenancy. Much like a job interview.

Handy Hints

Keep in mind, the following tips:

Ringing up

The first step is to ring up and ask about a property.
The first impression that you make when ringing may affect the way an owner/agent views you and whether they will consider your application for a property.

When ringing up first give your name and ask if the property you are interested in is still available for rent.

A conversation could go something like this: “Hello, my name is Bruce Brown and I am ringing in about the property you have advertised to rent in the paper/internet. I was wondering if you could give me some information about the property.?

  • Could you please tell me the address of the property?
  • When will the property be available?
  • How long can I have the lease for?
  • Are pets allowed? Only ask this if you have a pet that you must keep with you.
  • Can I arrange to view the property and when would be a suitable time for you?

When you are ringing up an owner/agent, always leave your telephone number, in case they need to contact you.

Viewing a property

Once you have made an arrangement to view the property, you need to consider how you present to the owner or agent. It is important to:

  • Make a good impression, by looking neat and tidy

You don’t have to wear a suit or dress, but clean clothes and good personal hygiene will make a difference.
In order to obtain a rental property, you may have to make adjustments to the way you look so that an owner/agent will view you more favourably.
While this may sound unfair, it is an important and necessary step to renting a property.

  • Be prepared to look through a number of properties and keep in mind that it can be difficult to be accepted as a tenant, especially if you are young, have no rental history and are not in regular employment.

By presenting well, you increase your chances of obtaining a rental property.
Other things you should keep in mind are:

  • Limiting the number of people you take to the property when you view it (Too many people will give the impression that you are a ‘party animal’, and that you may be a nuisance in the future, so they may be less inclined to rent to you).
  • If you do take a friend, make sure they understand how to dress and present themselves.
  • By taking a responsible adult with you, the owner/agent can see that you have some adult help/support.
  • Mind your language and your manners.
  • If you are interested in the property, ask the owner/agent for a tenancy (or lease) application, before you leave the property.

Rental Portfolio

When trying to secure a tenancy, a rental portfolio is a helpful tool.

Keeping all the information you may need to provide to an owner/agent in one place gives the impression that you are organised and will give you the advantage of being able to apply for properties, as they arise because you won’t be wasting time finding important documents.

Items that you may want to include in your portfolio are:

  • Information about previous tenancies-e.g. copies of rent receipts from a previous rental, supported accommodation, refuge etc.
  • References from previous owners or landlords-if you are unable to get a written reference, ask your previous landlord if you can give the prospective owner/agent their telephone number to ring for a verbal reference (keep this contact number in your portfolio).
  • Character references from support workers or youth workers-these will show that you are a responsible person and that you have contact with support workers if you need them.
  • Identification-these can include drivers license, birth certificate, passport, school reports, paid utility bills, current bank statement, Centrelink statement or contact number for a worker at Centrelink to verify your identity.
  • Details of any tenancy training completed e.g. Roofs for Youth certificate.
  • Talk to your case worker about Roofs for Youth training or contact YACWA on YACWA

Remember that it is important to keep your rental portfolio looking as neat as possible and that the documents are clean and clear. A ’scruffy’ rental portfolio doesn’t make a good impression.