Applying for a rental property

Before applying for a rental property, you should always inspect the property first.

Make a good impression

When you apply for a property to rent, you may be competing with many other people also interested in the same place.

The landlord or agent will decide whether your application will be approved. To give yourself the best chance of success it’s important to make a good impression with the landlord or agent.

To make a good impression:

  • dress neatly—as if you are going for a job interview
  • be on time or early for appointments and inspections
  • go alone or take only your partner/co-tenants to appointments and inspections and give the landlord/agent your full attention
  • respect the property that you are visiting
  • introduce yourself and answer questions politely
  • have a list of any questions you want to ask about the property
  • make sure to provide all the required documents with your tenancy application so that the landlord/agent doesn’t have to contact you for more information.

When applying for a rental property, the landlord or agent will check your references and whether you are listed on a tenancy database. If you know that you are listed on a tenancy database, talk to the landlord or agent about this before you submit your application.

Completing applications

Once you find a rental property you like, you will need to complete an application.

It’s a good idea to have the all of the documentation you need to apply for a rental property ready when you start your property search and to bring copies of these documents with you when you inspect a property.

Before the inspection, ask the landlord or agent for an application form so you can complete this immediately if you like the property. This can increase your chances of getting the property you want.

Some landlords or agents may ask you to apply online. If you do not have a computer or internet access, there are places where you can find free internet and WiFi, such as your local library .

List contact information for people you know who have agreed to be your referee. Signing a privacy consent form gives your landlord or agent permission to contact these listed referees. Before you submit an application, speak to your referees to tell them they may be contacted by your landlord/ or agent.


The only money that can be taken from a prospective tenant is a holding or key deposit. If your application is approved, you will also be required to pay a rental bond and rent in advance before you move in.

Holding deposit

You may be asked to pay a deposit, to hold the property you are thinking about renting. The landlord or agent must give you a copy of the proposed tenancy agreement before they take any money.

If you pay a holding deposit:

  • the landlord or agent cannot rent the property to anyone else during the holding period
  • the landlord or agent must give you a receipt when you pay
  • make sure you know when the holding period ends. If you do not agree on a specific time with the landlord or agent, the holding period is 48 hours.
  • you must tell the landlord or agent if you wish to rent the property or not within the holding period.
  • if you do not let the landlord/agent know whether or not you will take the place by the agreed time, you will not get your holding deposit back.
  • iIf you decide not to rent the property and tell the landlord or agent within the holding period, they must refund the deposit to you within 3 days
  • if you do not tell the landlord or agent your decision by the agreed time, or if you say you will proceed with the tenancy and then you do not, you will not get your holding deposit back
  • when you sign the tenancy agreement, your holding deposit must go first towards your rental bond and then rent.

Key deposit

You may be asked to pay a deposit and/or leave your driver's licence with the landlord or agent before getting the keys to inspect a rental property.

The landlord or agent must give you a signed receipt when you pay a key deposit. The full deposit must be refunded when you return the keys.

Application outcome

The landlord or agent will contact you to let you know the outcome of your application.

Approved applications

If your application is approved, your landlord or agent will make arrangements with you to sign the tenancy agreement and ask you to pay some rent and/or the rental bond.

You can read more about what happens after your tenancy application is approved on the page about moving in to your new rental home.

Unsuccessful applications

If your application is not approved, ask the landlord or agent why you were unsuccessful. This may help you with your next application.

Be polite and respectful as the next property you apply for may also be from the same landlord or agent. How you act in response to your application being unsuccessful could affect your future applications.

More information