What to look for when checking tenancy applications?
A reliable tenant will often reduce a landlord’s maintenance costs, minimise wear and tear, as well as look after the garden and property as if it were their own. They are worth their weight in gold and can really add to value of a property.
However, bad tenants are everyone’s nightmare- they pay their rent late, cause havoc with the neighbours, treat an owner’s property like a tip or unreasonably demand endless costly repairs. A bad tenant can cause problems for up to 12 months before you can get them out of the property, so it’s important to avoid them.
A good property manager starts by checking applications thoroughly!
10 areas to consider when checking tenancy applications?
1. Application form:
- Are all fields completed?
- Is it completed correctly?
- Are all sections requiring a signature signed?
- Ensure privacy disclosure is signed?
- How many occupants?
- When can they move in?
- Ensure there is one application per tenant that will be residing at the property.
2. Supporting evidence
- Ensure there is at least 1 (one) photo ID e.g., driver’s licence or passport.
- Ensure there are 2 (two) recent bills with current address e.g., phone, electricity, gas, internet
- Ensure there is income evidence e.g., pay slip, employer letter, if self-employed: letter from their accountant; if unemployed: letter from Dept of Social security
- Bank statement
- Rental ledger from last current/last rental.
3. Does it match?
- Do the addresses on the application form match the ID’s provided? If not ask why not?
- Does the rental price match their income? Can they afford it?
- If something does not seem right- ask questions, verify?
4. First time renters
- Ask them to provide a resume- as if they were applying for a job.
- References from family friends, teacher, doctor, community representative, employers
- If property owner- must provide evidence of ownership e.g., council rates notice, Sydney Water bill
- General- from family friends, teachers, doctors, community representative, employers
- If sold property- selling agents details for reference
- If rented- contact details of previous property manager’s, agent, private landlord, head tenant
- Check all references. Call the referees e.g., call their employer or HR, call previous property manager or private landlord.
- Check if applicant is listed
- Check if applicant has been refused, ‘blacklisted’, by your agency.
- Request pet application e.g., photo of pet, cover letter about pet, references from neighbours, previous tenancy/home.
8. Communication/ Presentation
- Be aware of type of conversations and how any meetings have gone e.g., easy to deal with or aggressive, forceful
- Are they responsive e.g., do they respond to your calls, emails, SMS?
- How did they present themselves at the inspection?
- Have you kept the applicant informed and acknowledged you are checking their application? Note: if the applicant hasn’t heard from you, they may assume they’re not approved and go elsewhere!
- If the applicant has been rejected. Be sure to let them know e.g., if a good application but too many received- applicant could be offered another property and the agent may lease another property quickly!
- Check in with your colleagues, team leader, licensee-in-charge
- Check in at team meetings.
- Keep the landlord informed.
- Let them know how many applications you have received and that you are checking them.
- Let them know a summary of your application checking
- Let them know your recommendation and request their approval.
If you would like further information on Checking Tenancy Applications have a look at this Tenancy Application CheckingShort Course