A rental application can take between 48 – 72 hours for a decision, if there is a rather large volume of applications it can take even longer.  It is the norm for the agent to contact the applicant that gets approval so if you haven’t heard from the agent after 48 hours it’s a good idea to follow up by phone or email.  When you do, put in all the information, including the property address because agents mange hundreds of properties and can have multiple advertised at the same time.   Following up is also a great way to see how you can do your application better and allows you to create a relationship with the agent.  This can be beneficial for future rental applications.   A better application and a better relationship with an agent is never a bad thing.


Why rental applications take time to process.

When your excited about a property your applying for, or you’re in a rush to get out of where you are, those 48 – 72 hours can seem like a long time.  But these things can’t be rushed so make sure you are not leaving your rental applications to the last minute.  The rental application process is about ensuring the owners of the property will have someone who can pay their rent, on time, and won’t damage the property and to figure this out they do their due diligence:

  • Checking tenancy default databases.  This shows them if there are any discrepancies in rental payments or property damage so they can be aware of what the tenant will be like
  • Ensuring all documents required are attached and the application is fully completed
  • Serviceability check. This is done by looking at your annual income and the asking rent
  • Verifying past living arrangements through reference checking
  • Verifying employment status. This is done by looking at payslips or regular income from the sources advised
  • Checking the next of kin or case of emergency details.

Once these checks have taken place, an agent will submit all relevant, shortlisted applications to an owner with their suggestions on the best tenant for the property. The final decision of who is successful and not successful is always the landlord’s decision.  This can hold up the process if the landlord is not available readily.


What happens once the rental application is accepted?

In most cases you will receive an email or text with something along the lines of  “Congratulations Jessica. The lessor/landlord has accepted your application on the following terms. Our agency policy now requires…”

The agency policy is just the relevant tenancy documents and lease agreement which need your signature and sent back to them.  They will also ask at this stage for the bond to be paid and rent in advance.


Paying the rental bond and rent in advance

The rental process will move fairly quickly once you have had your application accepted.   Your agent will ask you to sign the lease (either over email or in person at a sign-up meeting). They will also ask you to pay the rental bond, which is an amount usually equivalent to four weeks’ rent. You also need to pay two weeks rent in advance to secure the property. In many cases, the agency will require this money within 24 to 48 hours after your application is accepted.


What happens if the rental application is not accepted?

Unfortunately, there isn’t any legal reason for the agent to contact everyone personally and give a reason for them not getting the property.   There could be a few reasons why they may have missed out on the property, some of which could be:

  • The income did not meet the affordability criteria
  • Another applicant was successful because they seemed more stable/ideal
  • The terms you offered were not suitable for the lessor/landlord

As I mentioned above, you can follow up and ask what the reasons are, and the agent may be willing to give you some feedback so you can make the application better for next time.  I like to keep a positive attitude about this, because it can be stressful when you do application after application.  But, I try to say to myself that each time I do a rental application and it gets rejected, it’s another opportunity to make it better and its one step closer to the right one.

HOT TIP:  Check out these blogs to further understand all things renting, as a single parent:

How To Write An Awesome Rental Application As A Single Parent

The Legals Of Share Accommodation

6 Apps To Make Co-Living Easier

Think Outside The Square To Help With Rent

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