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Who Should You Use As A Rental Reference?

By George Hadgelias

Just as references are vital when applying for a new job, references on a rental property application can be the deciding factor in a tenant’s success in securing a property.

Landlords more often than not outsource the management of tenancies to professional property managers. What a property manager and landlord want to know is that a prospective tenant will pay their rent on time, look after the property and generally be a good person to deal with over the life of the tenancy.

To check this, property managers require references as part of the rental application process, whether that’s a paper copy or online, like realestate.com.au’s 1form.

But the big question is, who should tenants put as references on their rental applications? And how many is best? Here’s everything you need to know.

How many referees do I need?

Michelle Wilde, the principal of Queensland-based Stella Property, said two references from a would-be tenant’s two most recent property managers is standard across the industry.

The property manager will also get a copy of the rental ledgers from the properties.

A rental ledger, also sometimes called lease ledger or tenant ledger, is an official record of all the rent and other payments a tenant made to the property owner. It can be a physical document or an electronic record.

Can I use personal referees?

Citing a personal referee on a rental application is allowed, but not the top choice for an application, according to Ms Wilde.

However, for renters who are entering the market for the first time, this could be their only choice and will be accepted as an official reference.

Who makes a good referee?

The best referees a potential tenant can put on their rental application are recent property managers, as they offer the most up-to-date and reliable information.

Ms Wilde said applicants should understand that the opinion of former property managers matters more than anyone else’s rental reference, as they have first-hand experience of dealing with the tenant.

“It tells me if you pay your rent on time, which is the single-most important attribute, if you’ll look after the property, if you’re easy to get along with, if you report maintenance issues, if you have a pet and so on,” Ms Wilde said.

What should I do if I don’t have any referees?

Applying for a rental without any referees presents a problem, as the property manager has no way to verify reliability.

Ms Wilde said in some circumstances, tenants can ask for their parents’ names to go on a lease, but this is done on a case-by-case basis.

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