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How to secure a rental in a high-demand market

By George Hadgelias

n a dream world, finding a rental home is a pain-free, straight-forward process.

However, when it comes to snapping up a property amid stiff competition, tenants need to put in more effort to avoid having their application knocked back.

What is a high-demand market?

Put simply, a high-demand rental market is when the number of tenants wanting a house outweighs the rental properties available in the area, according to LJ Hooker Gungahlin Executive Property Manager, Lyn Fairweather.

“What it means for a tenant is when you go to view a property there may be 15 or 20 other people also looking, and in some cases properties are leased before they have even been advertised,” says Fairweather.

While competition is good for landlords, it can pose problems for renters. Low-income families and people wanting pet-friendly homes are especially impacted, as they often tend to lose out to childless professionals and higher income earners.

What causes a high-demand rental market?

A common issue is a lack of supply, or lack of houses suited to families and share house tenants. Another reason for competition is a flood of demand. This occurs when the area is near good amenities, transport, education facilities and employment hubs.

Fairweather says regardless of the reason, the best strategy for renters to tackle a high-demand market is preparation.

“Potential tenants really need to make sure that they are organised, because if they are just out browsing there is the very real possibility that they are going to miss out altogether.

“It’s important to have references ready and put in an application early,” advises Fairweather.

Apply for multiple rental properties with one application form using 1Form

Where are high-demand markets?

In all Australian cities and some regional areas, you can find hotspots where tenants are vying to get their foot in the door. This could be driven by amenities in the area such as universities, cafes and bars, or by the location itself – for example being near the beach.

1. Melbourne

Melbourne is considered a tight rental market compared to other major cities.

Trendy inner suburbs are in high demand, especially in the north. In Fitzroy, it is common for dozens of students to attend open homes, which drives up demand in the surrounding suburbs of CollingwoodCarlton and Brunswick.

To the south, Balaclava and Elwood are popular among young professionals due to their proximity to St Kilda. While, families jostle for affordable housing further out in Ringwood and Craigieburn and in some suburbs in the regional towns of Ballarat and Bendigo.

2. Brisbane

The popular coffee-cultured suburb of Paddington is tightly held and can be challenging for families with landlords preferring professional couples.

Other Brisbane suburbs where homes don’t linger on the market very long include SpringfieldMansfieldBrendaleFerny GroveWishartKeperra and Sandstone Point.

3. Sydney

Inner-city and beach markets in Sydney have always been popular, but demand for rentals in some particular areas has shot through the roof, especially where houses are available rather than smaller units.

Research from showed the biggest spike in demand was in the north shore suburbs of NaremburnRosevilleMosman and Balgowlah. The eastern suburbs of KensingtonClovellyBronte and Bellevue Hill have also experienced demand increases.

4. Canberra

In recent years, Canberra has been crowned the most expensive city to rent, which is likely to continue with plenty of jobs growth. Inner-city suburbs are sought-after in the Belconnen district.

While in the south the Tuggeranong district is increasingly attractive to families.

How to increase your chances in a high demand market

Although you can’t ever be sure exactly how much competition you’ll be up against, here are a few tips to help you be front of mind when landlords are choosing tenants for their property.

1. Contact agents

Being front of mind is important says Fairweather, so contacting the agent and introducing yourself may help you nab a tenancy sooner.

“Make yourself known to the property manager who is doing the inspection. If it’s busy you may not get the chance to say too much to them, but at least introduce yourself and then you can ring the office the next day and say ‘I really like that property’, which helps,” says Fairweather.

Contacting the agent also has added benefits like being first in line for any new listings.

“If we’ve met you and processed your application and an owner chooses another applicant; if another property comes up for rent, we will say look we have got this coming up. That’s how properties get leased off market.”

2. Information is key

Ensuring you have plenty of detail in your rental application is another easy thing to do when facing strong competition.

“The more information you can give about yourself the more information the owner has to make a determination on whether they will approve an application or not,” says Fairweather.

“If we get 15 applications in the morning after the inspection, those that have got more detail make it easier to have the conversation with the owner. We can say ‘this is a family with two children or a young professional couple with a dog’ and the owners may say ‘we like the sound of these people let’s go with them’.”

Fairweather also recommends uploading photos of children and pets as part of your rental application.

Currently, rental application site 1form allows tenants to include all essential information and upload a cover letter and pictures of their pets.

3. First impressions count

It is important to remember when attending a viewing that the house is not the only thing being judged. Property managers are also sizing up potential tenants.

“It is really important when tenants come to the property that they are well-presented,” says Fairweather.

“Don’t park in the driveway or walk through the garden beds. A lot of properties owners like the tenants to take their shoes off before viewing the property, so wear shoes that slip on and off easily. We can take your name and make notes as we are going through, so keeping that in mind is key – before you even put your application in.”

4. Offer more money

In most states, tenants who are keen to get a property have the choice to pay more money.

Fairweather says it is a common practice in tight markets, but advises being wary of offering too much and appearing “desperate”. If a rental range is provided, paying a price at the top end is suggested. If a property is being advertised at a flat rate it’s best to not add more than $10 to $20 extra per week.

Contacting the agent also has added benefits like being first in line for any new listings.

“If we’ve met you and processed your application and an owner chooses another applicant; if another property comes up for rent, we will say look we have got this coming

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