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Tenants may soon compete for fewer homes - here's how to make a landlord pick you

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Tenants may soon compete for fewer homes - here's how to make a landlord pick you

The demand for rental homes is expected to outstrip supply in the coming months as investors snap up buy-to-let properties for entry-level buyers who can no longer afford to purchase.

Continued rising inflation is creating what looks to be a lingering increasing interest rate cycle, and Makhosini Ndlovu, product head at FNB commercial property finance, says that, historically, such an environment results in growing demand for residential rental properties.

This is because people who were previously planning on buying a home have to rethink property ownership due to affordability concerns.

While, currently, supply of rental stock is still largely sufficient to meet the gradually growing demand - as the impact of increasing interest rates is still filtering through to consumer budgets, that may change in the near future, he says.

"We expect demand to gradually outstrip supply in the coming months..."

How to beat other tenants wanting the same property

Even in a balanced market, tenants compete with others for the same home, and often it is a case of first come first serve - provided all applicants pass the vetting process equally. So in an environment where there are more tenants than properties available, it will be advantageous to stand out.

The Schaefer family from Durban recently found themselves in such a situation, competing with another family to rent an apartment perfectly suited to them. The unit was a new listing and by the time they viewed the property, the other family had already submitted their application.

But one thing was in their favour: even though it was the first week of the new month and they had already paid rent at the home they were living at the time, they had the funds to put down the deposit and first month's rent immediately and take occupation within a week. The other family, however, were only able to move into the apartment at the end of the month.

"That was our saving grace," says Chris Schaefer.

"When we told the agent we were able to move and pay immediately, she told us that we may have an advantage as the landlord wanted to let the home as soon as possible. And as it turned out, our application was approved that evening."

But not everyone is in such a position to do what this family did. In fact, most tenants need to wait for their deposits to be returned before they can pay the deposit at a new rental property.

So here are some other ways for your rental application to stand out from the rest:

Be prepared with your paperwork

Most landlords will require you to fill out a written application, so submitting it quickly will give you a competitive edge. The best way to do this will be to bring all necessary documentation with you to the viewing so that, if you like the property, you can fill out the application on the spot.

It will help to ask the agent beforehand what documentation is needed, but most applications will require a copy (sometimes certified) of your ID, proof of salary, and proof of previous residence.

Have a few references from previous landlords

Whenever you leave one rental property to move to another, it helps to get a reference from that landlord. Collecting these references can come in handy whenever applying for a new lease.

If you are able to show an agent or landlord positive references from previous landlords, it may help nudge your application to the top of the pile.

If you have never rented a property before, you could gather some character references to attach to your application.

Prepare a family CV

Granted, this is something that is usually done by South Africans looking to rent properties overseas, but it would not hurt your application here. Your CV could include photographs of all family members as well as a brief description of what they do or enjoy doing, as well as the schools and sports any children partake in.

This is something that is not asked for, but if a landlord can relate to a family by seeing them as people and not just names on a piece of paper, it may give you an edge.

Have a pet CV

Similarly, a pet CV with photographs of your furbabies as well as some information about their characters and up-to-date veterinary records could endear a landlord to your family. Many landlords do not want pets at their properties and even those that do allow them may well choose a family without pets than one with pets. But if they can see how adorable your animals are, they may just be swayed in your direction.

Give yourself a competitive advantage

Again, this may not be something many tenants can do, but if you are able to perhaps offer to pay a higher rent or put down a higher deposit, this could elevate your application if a number of people want the same property. Or perhaps you could offer to pay for the monthly security costs, fix up things around the home, or have the property professionally cleaned when you move out. Just be sure not to make promises that you cannot keep.

Offer to sign a longer lease

This may not be appreciated by all landlords as they may have certain plans for their property, but if you know the home is one you will be happy living in for longer than the required one- or two-year period, it may help to offer to sign a longer lease. Many landlords may be comforted by the fact that their investment will generate an income for a longer, fixed period of time.

Author iol
Published 07 Nov 2022 / Views -

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