Let’s paint a picture together. You’ve been scrubbing the depths of Craigslist and have finally come across a rental listing that ticks every box. You can barely contain your excitement and think to yourself, it’s perfect! You’re anxious to hear back from the landlord and can’t wait to see the space in person. It’s a sunny weekend and you travel across town to drop in and view the unit and it looks even better than the pictures do. You’re in love and you must have it! The weather is excellent, so you bike down the seawall, tend to the community garden, enjoy a patio beer and before you know it, the weekend is over so you decide to fill out an application bright and early on Monday morning so you can get ahead of the competition. Three and half hours go by and your stomach sinks as you read a polite email that is thanking you for your interest and letting you know that the place has already been rented. For a lot of you renters out there this tale sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it?
Face it, finding that dream home in Vancouver’s competitive rental market can be a challenging task to say the least and to help with that we’ve put together a few simple tips and habits that should have you stand out from the competition and give you the edge you need to call that perfect listing, home sweet home.
We believe that preparation makes its own luck so we’d advise prospective renters to put their best efforts towards ensuring that any and all potential documents that a landlord may request are prepared and scanned into email format before even beginning their rental search. Seasoned landlords and professional property management companies would request a combination of employment, residential and financial references and some standard pieces of information that we believe a rental applicant should have ‘at the ready’ could include but aren’t limited to:
–Confirmation of current employment status: This could be a letter of employment, an offer letter, a recent salary certificate and/or current paystubs that confirm the name, job title and clearly show the current date.
–Proof of finances: depending on the type of work you do, this can include but isn’t limited to two recent pay stubs, tax information about your employment, statements of earnings or an employment letter from your company that provides a clear picture of your earnings.
–Landlord reference(s): This is critical and residences that span the last three to five years would be ideal. Essential information that is looked for would include the length of the tenancy, consistency of rent payments, the unit’s condition, whether there were any pets and subsequent damage, complaints or concerns and the all-important understanding as to whether a prospect’s current or previous landlord would rent to them again. If you currently own a home, it would be great to get references from previous landlords or personal references from individuals that aren’t family members. We would even recommend sharing some proof of ownership of your current house and providing some visuals on the kind of home you own and maintain.
–Credit History: An updated copy of your credit report with certain personal information redacted can help cut down the transaction time of your application and is a common request from landlords. It may also help to have a soft check done once and provided to landlords if you are applying to numerous places and do not want multiple credit reports requested.
– Personal References: A couple of references from friends or neighbours are also great to have on hand. We would not say that they are critical to an application but are undoubtedly helpful in providing a potential landlord with valuable information on yourself as a resident.
– Personal, residential and employment references should be clearly presented and easy to reach out to. Our advice is to let your references know in advance that they may be contacted and to keep a lookout. This is a great way to ensure that the inquiring landlord receives a prompt turnaround time.
Now that you have your information available, there is no harm in dressing things up and providing a landlord with some information outside the standard employment and financial requests. A well-written cover later that explains your interests, lifestyle, hobbies, and what an ideal rental would look like or why their rental appeals to you would be great additions as they are great ways to have your application stand out for a reviewing landlord who would be able to bring to memory your brief encounter if multiple prospects were viewing the rental. Most importantly, having more information on who you are would give a landlord the increased confidence they need when deciding on who they would trust their home with.
Lastly, have you ever heard the old saying that if you are right on time, you are already late? This could not ring truer than with applications. Great listings will often have pronounced interest and it’s our experience that verified renters are often in the habit of either applying before the viewing, handing in their completed application at the showing appointment itself or in a worst-case, applying right after the showing. Timing is a crucial factor in getting ahead of the competition and if you know you have a strong application then by all means, let a landlord see it first. Most landlords are looking to rent out their homes as soon as possible and will likely review and decide on applications on a first-come, first-serve basis so don’t wait until the following day or when the weekend is over as the home could be rented by then.
We will leave you with the idea that Preparation, Presentation and Punctuality are the 3 P’s to submitting an application that stands out and we hope that these tips go a long way to helping you secure your next dream home. On behalf of the team at Sycamore Property Management, we wish you the best of luck on your search!