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Improving the Application Process

How we treat applicants who apply for our rental properties will have an impact to our reputation in the local community. Weather we accept them and they become a regular tenant for ours whom we will work with for possibly years to come, the way we start this relationship will impact their perception of us. If we need to decline them, and they rent another property in the community, this will also have an impact upon our reputation for years to come. Some points to consider for either option.

When declining.

It is wise to be very careful on how you decline an applicant. If there are some basic reasons like rent arrears, routine inspections and property condition, you may wish to advise the tenant why they are being declined. Many tenants have no idea why their application is declined. They may not be aware that they would be receiving an unfavourable reference, so advice can assist them with further applications.

When approving.

The prospective tenant is advised and an appointment to sign the tenancy agreement is made. Inform the tenant this appointment will take at least 30 minutes, that all applicants must attend the same appointment and that they will need to bring the following:

  • A bank cheque or money order for the rental bond made out to the rental bond board in your state or territory.
  • A bank cheque or money order for the initial rent and agreement fee made out to (Agency name) less any reservation fee already paid. This can be by direct deposit provided that all funds are received prior to the signing of the leases.
  • Bank details including BSB, account name and number for any rent payments via direct debit.

Advise the tenant that until all monies are paid, the documentation cannot be signed unless approval from a department manager is given. Advise the tenant of their obligations to connect utilities. Your office may have a service provider who can assist the tenant with this connection.

It is recommended that a lease not be signed by a tenant where a property is still occupied by either the current tenant or the landlord. Where a new landlord is still in occupation and the lease needs to be signed, some agencies will have the landlord sign a letter advising that they accept all loss, costs and claims, should the property not be ready for the new tenants to move in on the lease commencement date.

Most agencies will now only take this deposit once the application has been approved, however it can be done either way. It is recommended that best practice is not until approval.

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