Renting Guide

How to secure a rental property: tips for your application

Tips for impressing landlords or letting agents.

What you need to know:

  • Things you can do to make your application stand out 
  • Fill out the application form properly with no errors 
  • Be ahead of the game on reference checks 
  • Be confident with your ability to pay bond 
  • Write an amazing cover letter to give a flavour of who you are 
  • Double check there’s nothing off-putting on your social media

Securing a good rental property is, for many of us, the beginning of our property journey and chances are it’ll be competitive, whether you’re in a major city or a smaller regional one. So what can you do to stand out and show the landlord or letting agent that you’re the tenant they’ve been looking for? 

Read on for some great pointers on setting yourself apart from the rest so you land the rental home you’re after.

How can I make my rental application stand out?

1. Give the right first impression

When you’re meeting the landlord or agent, especially for the first time, remember to: 

  • Turn up on time: if not a little early, there’s no shame in arriving early. Arriving late isn’t a good look when you’re trying to prove your reliability. 
  • Dress smart: we’re not talking tuxedos and ball gowns here, but you want to look neat and tidy because that’s the way they want the home to be kept. 
  • Be friendly: landlords and agents want tenants who are pleasant to deal with and people who are good communicators so try to show this side of yourself. 
  • Be honest: throughout the application process. Don’t try to pretend you earn more than you do, or make up references – good landlords will conduct thorough checks and this will come back to bite you.

Be friendly and punctual when meeting your landlord for the first time.

2. Get the application form right, first time

In competitive markets, landlords and agents want to find the best tenants as quickly as possible. So make sure you don’t give them any excuses to put your application into the ‘too complicated’ basket. Trust us, if they have to keep coming back to you because there are errors or blanks in your application form, this is exactly what will happen. 

What you’ll have to provide in a tenancy application form: 

  • Your name and contact information 
  • Where you’re currently living, and any previous renting history ID details 
  • References from former landlords and personal endorsements 
  • Permission for the prospective landlord or agent to carry out a credit check

3. Make it easy for landlords to perform background checks

There are different elements to rental application background checks in NZ, but they usually involve the following: 

  • Credit checks: you’ll need to give the landlord permission to do this in your application form. 
  • Reference checks: ideally, you’ll have a former landlord who your new prospective landlord or agent can contact. If not, you could use a guarantor. 
  • Other tenancy checks: with your permission, landlords can also check things like your police record and any reports lodged with Tenancy Services. 

Bonus tip: A good idea to get a jump on the competition, is to provide written statements from your referees at the same time as completing the rental application. Referees for a rental application could be former landlords, your employer, or even coworkers and friends.

4. Have your bond ready

You’ll need a deposit, or bond, when you agree to take on a rental property. Reassuring the landlord that you’ve got this money in your bank ready to send over, and that you won’t be scrabbling around at the last minute to pull this together, helps demonstrates you can move quickly and shows you’re serious about wanting to rent the home.

Having your finances in order means you can move faster, which will make the landlord happy.

5. Write a great cover letter

If you’re a first time renter, this might seem weird – cover letters are for jobs, right? But in the same way as an employer looks at a cover letter to decide if you’re someone they want to work with, a landlord wants to see if they can trust you with their property. Any home in NZ is worth a lot of money so they need to feel they can trust you with their asset. 

What to include in an impressive cover letter: 

  • Who you are: name and age 
  • What you do: give details of your current job and employer 
  • Your renting history: if you’ve rented before tell them about it – where, from whom and for how long? Make sure a previous landlord is happy to be contacted. 

If you’re applying with a group of friends, make this clear – especially if you’ve lived together before. This will help instill confidence that you’ll get on well and people won’t fall out and move out. Beyond this, it’s up to you if you want to provide more information. Some choose to talk about their hobbies, their past experiences or give reasons why they like the house and the area so much. 

In taking the time to write a cover letter it shows the landlord you’re serious about renting their home. It gives them a better idea of who you are and shows that you’ll be a responsible and pleasant tenant.

6. Review your social media channels

If your social media channels are set to public, you’ll want to have a good look at what the landlord or agent might be able to find out about you if they check you out online. Lots of pictures from nights out and parties might not be ideal – this will immediately get them thinking about what you might get up to at their property. 

A quick fix is setting your socials to private. If you don’t want to do this, it might be time to untag a few photos and delete some old posts that perhaps don’t give the best impression about you.