5 great tips on how to get a prospective landlord to pick you over other hopefuls

Photo: Peter Hilz / HH

If you are looking to rent a private property, you will have to be accepted by the landlord of the property. So how do you make sure he or she picks you, rather than the others queuing up to view?

At a time where housing is in short supply, and every available space will have a number of keen tenants lining up, here are some ways in which you can stand out and persuade the landlord that you will be the right person to let the property to. How? Be prepared, be professional and be polite.

Tip 1: Make a great first impression

When going to view a property, or even when going to an open house viewing, make sure you come across well. Wear smart clothing, look neat, clean and respectable. If you think of it as a job interview, you won’t go far wrong. Also, make sure you arrive on time if a time has been agreed, don’t stand outside smoking while you wait, and make sure you put your phone on silent before the visit.

Tip 2: Paperwork

Check if the advert stated anything about bringing along paperwork such as proof of employment, credit history or references, and make sure you have this with you in case you are asked for it. Also, be prepared for the fact that your landlord may need proof of the fact that you have the money for the deposit and rent, possibly in the form of a bank statement or in the shape of a guarantor. If you are able to provide references from previous landlords, say so.

Tip 3: Know your limits

Save yourself and the landlord a lot of time and disappointment by being realistic about what you can afford. Landlords won’t miraculously lower the rent just because they like the look of you, so work out in advance what your monthly outgoings are going to be, and whether you can afford the associated costs such as first (and sometimes last) month’s deposit, fees for credit checks, security deposits, application fees, etc.

Tip 4: Ask the right questions

Come across as an experienced tenant by asking relevant questions of the landlord, such as which utilities are connected, whose responsibility it is to look after the garden, what the arrangements are about rubbish collecting, who to contact in case of an emergency and what the situation is regarding insurance. Does the property have broadband or a satellite dish, and if not will you be allowed to have these installed? These are things it is best to know in advance, rather than after you move in.

Tip 5: Don’t hide anything

If you have special requirements, be honest about them. Landlords often worry about pets, small children, multiple people sharing a property, and so on. If they feel that problems may arise in the future, they may just take the easy way out and choose another tenant. If the property has rules about no smoking, no pets or no children, respect them, because chances are you will be found out and asked to leave.

Lastly, don’t forget to be enthusiastic if you like the place, and to let the landlord know that you are seriously interested. Ask when a decision will be taken, or follow up with a quick phone call to the landlord or agency after the visit to confirm that you would like to be considered as a tenant. Then just keep your fingers crossed and start planning your move!

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