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Navigating Rental Applications: How to Make Your Application Stand Out

  • Date Listed 18th Mar
  • Written by Tanja Le Roux

Every weekend you wake up early, run around town and join the crowds at the various properties open for inspection. Despite all of your best efforts, another application falls short and securing the right place begins to seem out of reach. With low vacancy rates and a rental market that’s more competitive than ever, this is the case for thousands of Australians.

This brings us to today’s topic: how to make your rental applications stand out from the crowd. From navigating the rental application process to what you need to prepare, and what landlords are looking for, we’ll cover everything you need to know!

With this information, we hope that you’ll be able to make a great impression and secure your dream rental. Let’s get started.

Navigating a Rental Application

If you’re new to the rental market, or it’s been a while since you’ve changed residence, newer rental applications may seem a little daunting at first glance. As you’ll quickly notice, this process has also moved exclusively to digital platforms–the specific platform will vary depending on the agency or property management firm the landlord is using.

The delivery and accessibility of the application form also depends on the specific property. For example, some may be readily accepting applications on the listing itself, while others require prospective tenants to attend an inspection, then receive the link via the real estate representative.

Regardless of the platform, it’s very important to familiarise yourself with all of the sections that you’re required to fill out, as well as have all the resources on hand to actually fill out the form. So, what can you expect? Here are some of the key sections that every applicant needs to fill out!

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Basic Details

In this opening section, you are required to provide your name, date of birth, and other basic details. As with any application, this is a basic formality that clearly sets out who is applying for the property being leased.

Identity Documents

Landlords and property managers need to be able to confirm that you are who you say who are, which is where the identity documents section is very important. Before starting the application, we recommend compiling as many identity documents as possible. Identity documents usually include both primary (driver’s license, passports etc) or secondary (student cards, medicare cards etc).

Often, different agencies will require you to submit documents that meet their own base level of identity points. By taking a little more time to prepare beforehand, you’ll be able to save significant time when it comes to sourcing, uploading, and submitting these documents.

Employment and Income

Landlords need to know that their potential tenants will be able to cover the monthly rental amount. Essentially, no property owner wants to spend time chasing up late payments or fiscally unreliable tenants. This is all to say that providing clear proof of your employment and income can instantly propel you above other candidates. Of course, this will also include the collective salary of everyone that’s planning to move in with you.

Here, documents such as payslips and employee contracts, as well as submitting the correct name of your employer will all be able to showcase your reliability as an employed tenant/group of tenants. The employment section will generally require you to fill out where you have worked for the previous 2 to 3 years up to and including the current date.

Rental History

In this case, a rental history is the equivalent to a real estate resume. Here, you outline the details of your previous living arrangements. Once again, the period that you will need to cover may differ from application to application. However, it’s always wise to have the dates of these arrangements, as well as any documentation that may be relevant (such as a previous lease agreement or a notice to vacate).

Essentially, this section is a way to demonstrate that you are a reliable tenant that has lived in other properties with minimal issues or problems. Showcasing a track record of being a trustworthy tenant can also elevate you over other applicants with more problematic rental pasts.


Whether personal or professional, adding reliable references gives further credibility and weight to your overall application. This, of course, is another way to showcase that you are a trustworthy individual/group, and will offer a leasing experience with minimal disruptions or issues.

Cover Letters and Personal Profiles

Although this is less about technical information, verification or background checks, these sections certainly allow you to stand out from the crowd. A well written cover letter, for example, may illustrate why you were drawn to the property, why you are a reliable tenant and how your personality fits. If you’re not the strongest writer, consider reaching out to someone you know that may be able to help!

Profile sections are also a great way to showcase who you are in both a professional and personal sense. Here, we recommend that you don’t make this section too lengthy, as you want it to be clear and digestible for the property manager. Remember, property managers may be sifting through countless applications, so a profile that’s too long and wordy could actually work against you.

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A Quick Side Note

Here is another important thing to note – always double check your application before submitting a final version! With so many sections and details included, it can be all too easy to accidentally submit incorrect information or even forget to provide an answer for a specific sub-section/question. Unfortunately, this may void what is an otherwise excellent application, or the form will never actually reach the property manager.

Returning to the Same Application Platform

While some tenants secure their dream property on the first go, everyone isn’t always as lucky. Thanks to the newer digital application method, however, there’s still good news. If you’ve created an account and filled out an application on a certain platform, it will remember your details when you return to apply for another property. This makes any other follow up applications far less time consuming.

Of course, if you’re submitting multiple applications, don’t forget to let your references know ahead of time so that they’re prepared to submit a response from their side. They’ll be sure to appreciate the notice!

Introduce Yourself at the Inspection

Whether it’s meeting the agent or speaking to the landlord (if they happen to be there), it never hurts to make yourself known during the open inspection. Of course, making yourself known is a balance, and it’s important not to take up too much of their time.

Whether you’re engaging in small talk or asking about specific features of the property, some landlords and agents will really appreciate the fact that they can put a face to a name. When paired with a sound application, this could put you in the driver’s seat to secure the lease.

Don’t Leave it to the Last Minute

Australia’s rental market is moving faster than ever. This is why our final tip and recommendation is to make sure that your application isn’t submitted too late. Ideally, it is a good idea to (without rushing it too much) send it off on the day of, or in the immediate days after the property inspection.

The best properties tend to get leased quickly so you need to make sure you don’t miss your chance!

We Do Property: Connecting People with Places

At We Do Property, we love connecting people with places, including great rental applicants that tick all of the boxes. We believe that the tenant-landlord relationship is key to making the lease as smooth and stress free as possible. This is why thorough tenant screening is a cornerstone of our all-inclusive property management services.

We have dedicated property managers in Buddina, Nirimba and various other suburbs across the Sunshine Coast. Contact us today and speak with our friendly team!

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