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Cover Letter To Rent A House

What landlords want

Potential landlords want to know that you can (and will!) consistently pay the rent, that you will look after the property and that you won’t cause trouble for them or the neighbours. Once you show them that you have the basics covered, there are other steps you can take to impress them.

Look good on paper

First and foremost, complete the rental application. Incomplete or inaccurate documents make the agent’s or landlord’s job much harder. By thoroughly filling it in, you’re ensuring they don’t disregard your application. (This is what a typical tenancy application form looks like.) Answer all the questions honestly and clearly, and if you are unsure of what the application is asking of you, always call the agent or landlord to clarify the matter. Once you’ve completed the form, get someone to proofread it to ensure there are no spelling mistakes and that your answers make sense. Remember, too, that a rental application is not the means for negotiating the lease agreement or rent.

In areas of high demand, the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) recommends printing out a standard application form from its website, turning up at the open home with it all filled out and having the deposit in cash ready to give the agent.

First impressions count

Now that you’ve completed your immaculate application, turn it in that way – clean, not creased, and with no coffee stains or fingerprint smudges on it. It’s also a good idea to include a brief cover letter with your application, explaining who you are and why you would be the best tenant for that particular property.

Back it up

In addition to the rental application itself, it’s essential that you have all the requested and necessary supporting documentation. All well-prepared applicants should have a photocopy of a photo ID, such as a passport or a driver’s licence. It’s a good idea, too, to have a copy of a recent pay slip and, if you’ve rented before, your rental ledger, or copy of your payment history from your current realtor or landlord. If you haven’t rented before, find another form of payment history that demonstrates your ability to pay on time, such as car loan statements or a savings account with regular deposits. If you are on a student or working visa, make sure you have a photocopy of the visa from your passport. Additionally, bring along copies of bank statements and a reference from a previous landlord. Strong character references can also help your application stand out, so consider including two or three from people who hold you in high regard – it may just give you the competitive edge.

Find out – and disclose – what you can

If you have pets, it’s wise to call the agent or landlord before the open home to find out whether the property allows pets. Some stratas prohibit animals – it’s not always just a landlord’s preference. This can save you from wasting time in visits to places that don’t allow pets. And remember: honesty is the best policy. Be up-front about pets; it can be grounds for lease termination if they are not approved on your lease. Likewise, it’s a good idea to be open about whether you’re a smoker or have dependents.

With honesty in mind, tenants should be aware that there are websites that agents can use to track your history. Conscientious potential new tenants can pay for a report from, the National Tenancy Database, to show that there is no negative history in the database pertaining to them; these reports are time-stamped. Having this report on hand can be very useful in situations in which you’re renting directly from a private landlord, as they would not have the same access to these databases. Seeing this report just might give a landlord peace of mind renting to you over someone who does not have this information.

Also, it’s always good when all the people who will live at the property come to the open home and meet the agent or landlord. If it comes down to a decision between two parties, they may favour the ones they’ve actually met.

Remember – attention to detail counts. If anything is missing from your rental application or supporting documents, it could ruin the chance of a property becoming yours.

In a competitive rental market, you want your application to be approved. I've been a property manager for over 10 years, so I have five important tips to help get that rental application for sure approved. These tips are especially helpful if you don't have the best credit, or if you have an animal…

1. Get organized before you go on the apartment hunt

When I'm reviewing rental applicants, if an application is organized and thorough, the cards will already be in your favor. Most landlords will require you to fill out an application, provide a copy of your photo ID, submit documented proof of income, and they will charge you an application processing fee to run your credit. If you are moving for a new job, make sure to have the signed offer letter from your new employer. If you are self-employed, get a copy of your tax return and copy a few bank statements to show current consistent income. The more organized you are the less work the landlord will need to do. This will automatically enhance your application and put you ahead of the pack.

2. Write an introduction cover letter

Write a few paragraphs sharing a little history about who you are, the reason for your move, your financial background, and a few sentences to personalize why you are interested in that particular apartment. You should also include an explanation of any negative credit marks, so there are no surprises when they run your credit. Ask your current landlord to write a short recommendation to show your rental record of paying on time.

3. Secure a financial Guarantor if you have poor credit

Applicants with poor credit may need to ask a friend or family member with good credit and ample income to act as their financial Guarantor/co-signer. That person is guaranteeing that they will pay your rent if you don't. As landlords we sometimes think, why should we trust this person with a bad track record to pay rent on-time each month, if their friends and family won't vouch for them? The guarantor will also need to submit the same application documents as the applicant. If you get these documents ready ahead of time it could save you a few days of scrambling. If you cannot secure a guarantor, try offering to pay a double security deposit or pay a few months of rent in advance.

4. Offer more rent per month

Money talks, so if you really love a place try offering more rent per month, even if it is just $25 or $50 more than the listed price. If you have a pet, offering additional "pet rent" will give the landlord an incentive to choose you over an applicant with no pets. You should also expect to pay a pet deposit, provide pet references, and purchase renter's insurance to cover your pet's liability.

5. Have a good attitude

I think this might be the most important tip! Searching and applying for apartments can be a stressful time for a prospective renter. Running around looking at multiple places and providing personal financial documents can create anxiety which sometimes manifests in a bad attitude. Make sure to be polite and friendly to the leasing agent, landlord, or owner. Your pleasant attitude will have a direct impact on the success of your application. This one seems like a no-brainer, but from my experience, sometimes ya really do need this reminder.

Rental managers and dwellers: Dish the goodies! What are your secrets for nailing the rental application?

Guest post written by Jessica Carrillo

Hey! I'm Jessica and I'm an event planner who's also been a property manager for over 10 years, and I'm also a real estate agent. I'm a fiery Aries; a lover of live music, street art, Mexican food, photography, and retro fashion, and I change my hair color like underwear. If I'm not planning events, or working on a home improvement project, you'll find me hanging with my husband and our lhasa apsos, Bibi and Bully.


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