Let’s face it — first-time renters are risky for landlords. They can’t be reference checked, so they’re an unknown quantity!
The odds of being accepted don’t favour first-timers — the rental market is tight, and they face stiff competition from applicants with years of rental history.
The other big issue for first-time renters is protecting themselves. A lease is a big commitment, and there are some ‘traps for young players’.
So what can you do to improve your chance of being selected, while protecting yourself?
Our property management experts share insider tips for first time renters to help you succeed!
Preparation for First Time Renters
1. Do Your Homework!
Before you start your property search:
Consider what you need and want — both must-haves (e.g. number of bedrooms/carparks) and nice-to-haves (e.g. timber floors, built-ins.)
Decide where you want to live. Research best and ‘next best’ areas, and check SQM postcode data on vacancy rates/rental property numbers to find areas with more listings.
Consider who/what will be on the lease. If you’re single, housemates can help affordability. Always factor pets in!
Work out how much rent you can pay. Budget for:
- no more than 30% of your gross income as rent — some experienced renters search below their limit so they can offer more if competition is strong
- two weeks rent up-front
- bond (four weeks rent)
- $260 pet bond where applicable.
Decide what type of property you want — flat, house, villa, townhouse? — and budget accordingly.
Decide whether to rent privately, or through an agent. Pros and cons include:
- private landlords may not be up-to-date on tenant rights
- private rentals on sites like Gumtree can be risky — these sites have been involved in rental scams
- reputable sites like reiwa.com and realestate.com are considered safest
- specialized rental agencies like We Love Rentals are highly aware of tenant rights and landlord obligations.
NOTE: the government publication — “Renting a home in Western Australia — a tenant’s guide” can help you understand tenant rights, and avoid pitfalls!
2. First Impressions Matter
Experienced property managers say they start assessing applicants at the property inspection. Their tips include:
- be punctual — keep appointments, or call to cancel
- dress to impress — scruffy applicants don’t inspire confidence
- be polite — don’t talk down the property
- be courteous — don’t park in the driveway, or use the property’s toilet!
3. Think Like a Landlord
What type of tenant would you want if it was your property?
Landlords and property managers look for these key factors:
- ability to pay rent
- reliability/good character
- willingness to care for property
- agreement/compliance with lease terms and conditions.
Improve your chances by showing that you will:
- abide by lease terms
- pay on time
- keep the home clean and any gardens tidy.
4. Be Ready to Go
Prepare documents beforehand, so you can apply on the spot. Have:
- proof of income — bank statements showing wage deposits, a recent tax return, or employer income statement
- a guarantor letter — someone willing to pay rent if you can’t
- credible character references
- evidence of house-care/garden maintenance — e.g. a letter from former housemates
- a cover-letter selling yourself as a tenant
- contact details — yours/your employer’s.
5. Be Fast, Be Accurate
Properties go fast, so complete your application ASAP — but take care to:
- complete all fields neatly
- be truthful
- attach references/letters
- lodge your application using the landlord/agent’s preferred method.
What should I do now?
If you need help to secure a property, call We Love Rentals on 08 62546300 for advice and a list of our current vacancies. Our team would love to help you begin a tenancy and establish a positive rental history!