5 Don’t-Skip Tips For a Getting an Apartment in a Competitive Rental Environment

Photo of a young couple leaning on a full moving box and smiling.

It’s challenging to find an affordable apartment in today’s crazy rental market. Everyone seems to know someone eager to view a new place only to find it rented to someone else immediately.

The truth is that times are tough for renters, and you’ll need to be smart to secure an apartment in this competitive rental environment.

With some perseverance and planning though, you can increase your odds of getting your rental application approved.

Put Your Best Credit Forward

A good credit score helps when you’re trying to secure an apartment. Today’s landlords want reassurance you’ll pay your rent on time and in full. So they’ll want a credit check to evaluate your creditworthiness. 

In Canada, credit bureaus Transunion and Equifax keep credit files based on your activity paying loans, lines of credit, credit cards, and even mobile phone accounts. If you plan to rent, contact a credit bureau to confirm your credit report is error free. If you don’t already have a credit file, visit your local Kawartha Credit Union branch to discuss applying for a loan or credit card to get started building credit.

Have Awesome References

Landlords prefer to rent to responsible tenants, but unless they know you personally, it may be difficult to convince them that you won’t trash their property or skip rent payments. And when landlords have many possible tenants to choose from, awesome references could put your application to the top of the pile. Ask your boss or a former landlord if they’ll provide a reference for your rental application.

First and Last Month’s Rent Right Away

The ability to pay first and last month’s rent immediately is another good way to get a landlord’s attention in a competitive rental environment. Yet don’t be surprised if other competitive renters offer a premium. This has been happening with increasing frequency in some hot rental markets like Toronto.

While the apartments in your area might not call for a rental premium, a landlord will usually like it if you can move in as soon as the current tenant moves out. This minimizes the time the apartment will be vacant, and maximizes your landlord’s rental income.

Keep Your Social Media Accounts Clean!

In today’s world, it’s easy to find information on anyone who maintains social media profiles. If you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest, your landlord can easily take a look at your posts if he or she must decide between several potential tenants.

Review your social media accounts with a critical eye and remove anything that could suggest you’d be a less than ideal tenant. So get rid of those wild party pics, and images of badly behaved pets that could ruin an apartment.

Prepare A Rental Application Package

When you’re trying to rent a place in a hot rental market, there’s no time to waste. Prepare a rental application and plan to submit the application right after you view the place – preferably while you’re still there.

Prepare a rental application package to take with you that includes:

  • A cover letter with information on your household income, current occupation
  • Your credit history/report/score
  • Any pet information such as type, size and breed
  • Rental/tenant insurance information
  • References
  • A completed rental application form if you’ve received one before viewing the apartment
  • Proof of employment and salary
  • A chequebook or smartphone to eTransfer funds so you can cover the first and last month’s rent right away.

In a competitive rental environment, finding an apartment that suits your wallet and lifestyle is just the first step. Use these tips to strengthen your rental application and maximize your chances of getting your rental application approved.