Getting A Rental Property

Get the rental property you want

Know what to look for on inspections and you can work out which rental property best suits you, without any nasty shocks, like finding your stuff doesn’t fit or there’s no public transport around, for example.

Next, check out how to look good to landlords and agents, and maximise your chance of getting the place you want! It’s all here, just read on and print the checklists.

How to find a rental property

Whether you’re after a slick city apartment or a big ole house in the country, you can find your dream digs (or something close…hopefully) online, direct from a real estate agency or even in the newspaper or on a noticeboard.

Usually you’ll need to make an appointment with the managing agent, go for an open inspection or sometimes the real estate will lend you the keys to take a look. Whatever it is, dress neatly and make sure you’re on time for appointments!


Be careful to protect yourself against rental scams, especially when searching for properties online. Check any properties out in person and always take someone with you, plus read up on how to best protect yourself in my section on scams. 


What to look for on property inspections

Checklist 5 — What To Look For On House Inspections (below) covers the main things to look for when you go and check out prospective rental properties.

Print a copy and take it along on inspections so you can tick the boxes as you go.

* go to print these for a printable checklist of this and more


What To Look For On House Inspections:

  • Security! Check door and window locks and seals, plus lighting at the front door and street access.
  • Will your stuff fit? Look at spaces for things like fridge/washing machine/microwave.
  • Are there built-ins or will you need a clothes rack or cupboard?
  • Is there enough storage space?
  • Where are the power points?
  • Do light switches and appliances (fans, heaters, air conditioning) work?
  • If you want cable tv or a certain type of internet check out if there’re connection points for them, or you’ll need permission from the landlord and it’ll cost more.
  • How far it is from shops, your work and/or where you study? Is public transport close and affordable?
  • If you have a car — is there off-street parking? Or do you have to pay or apply for a parking permit?


Getting your rental application accepted

It’s not easy for first-time renters to get applications accepted, since landlords and agents, are, after all, looking to find the best tenant they can, as fast as possible. You’ll usually have more luck if you have a job, a good rental history and you want a long lease.

If you’re a first-time renter, are single and/or a student, and/or you don’t want a long lease, it can be more difficult to find a place to take you.  But there are quite a few things you can do to maximise your chances of getting accepted as a tenant. Checklist 6, below, shows how to look your best through a landlord’s eyes (and no, it’s not your striking looks or charming personality).

Basically, follow the steps to make a good impression on agents and landlords and give yourself the best chance of getting your application accepted.


Checklist 6 – How To Look Good To A Landlord

  1. Make sure you arrive on time for any inspections.
  2. Try to present yourself well (e.g. neat hair and clothing).
  3. Be polite.
  4. Look people in the eye when they’re talking to you (ok, not the whole time… psycho).
  5. Don’t show you smoke (smoking stinks and stains, plus makes burns).
  6. Don’t ask about pets unless you have one (they’re not usually welcome).
  7. Fill in paperwork promptly – ideally on the spot.
  8. It wouldn’t hurt to take a couple of typed personal references to hand in with your application form.
  9. Do whatever you can do to look good – mention that the location’s close to your volunteer work or grandma’s nursing home (nudge, nudge); how the quiet environment will be great for study (wink, wink); that the front room will be perfect for practising your harp (ok, now we’re getting extreme) – whatever helps show you are steady and responsible. But follow through, mind. Pay your rent (on time); look after the house and tone down the parties or you will be blacklisted and crawling back home indefinitely before you know it.


Once you’ve charmed those agents and landlords into accepting you as a tenant you’ll need to check out my post about renting, including what the responsibilities are of both you and your landlord, plus where to get help if you need it.
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