The do’s and don’ts of a rental lease agreement

Written by in Renting

A contract with a pen writing underneath the signature

Completing a rental lease agreement can be a tough and desperate battle for many would-be renters. Check out the list of dos and don’ts of a rental application below to help give you the edge!

The do’s of a rental lease agreement

  1. Finish the rental lease agreement. You would be surprised how many applications property managers and landlords receive that have sections left blank. Beyond raising suspicion, it creates work for property managers in chasing up these details.
  2. Prove you can afford the property. This is the number one thing a landlord wants to see. If you can pay rent, they can pay their mortgage. If you can demonstrate a healthy employment record, rather than one that jumps around or shows large periods of unemployment, then provide this detail. The same goes for the self-employed. Detail your business, how many clients you have, how much you have grown and your income.
  3. Be open. If you are between jobs, be open about your ability to afford the property.
  4. Choose good references. Choose those that are confident and articulate, who can essentially sell you as a potential tenant without it seeming like a blind recommendation just because they are your friend. Consider previous work connections.
  5. Be strategic. If you can, inspect properties during the week, rather than the more busy weekends. This will give you time to meet the property manager, inspect the property properly and ask important questions.

Note: Quite often the person leading the inspection will not be your property manager, but an assistant who is running around trying to get to inspections on time. Be sure to ask them if they are the property manager before you barrage them with questions about the property.


READ MORE: First steps for first time renters


  1. Ask questions. Show your interest in the property by asking about a few key concerns and noting them down. If a property manager sees that you have organised yourself enough to check off a short list of concerns, it demonstrates that you are an organised individual and unlikely to miss a payment or be a messy tenant.
  2. Offer more rent. This does not mean you bribe your property manager. Simply consider paying an extra $5-10 per week, while other applicants may do the same, it could be something that tips the scales in your favour. This shouldn’t be a priority or something you do all the time, as $10 per week is $520 in a year – not a small sum of money.
  3. Fill out an online rental lease agreement. If you are moving in with other people, ensure they apply correctly and at the same time as you do. Applying online creates less work for the property manager.
  4. Follow up. If you don’t get the property, try asking the property manager whether there was anything in your application that worked against you. You will more than likely come across them again in the following weeks and the fact that you have shown an interest in improving your application will work in your favour, and if not, at least help the property manager remember you.
  5. Be amenable. Offer to move in as soon as possible, or on the date that the property is available.

A girl sits at her laptop working.

The don’ts of a rental lease agreement

  1. Offer a bribe. We hold these truths to be self-evident. Do NOT offer the property manager a bribe. More than likely they will just be a property assistant and not the property manager so your hard-earned cash will just be wasted. Bribes are left for the movies, and if you don’t agree, just try to do it without seeming like a creep. It’s impossible.
  2. Don’t lie about your employment or residential history. Not only is it a risky move but it’s illegal. Just be open about your history, explaining any unemployment history or periods spent at home.
  3. Bring in a pet. If a property does not allow pets, then lying to the landlord can create a mess of issues. There is no law within the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 regarding pets, but if a landlord finds out you have a pet, they may look at way to evict you that relate to the pet, such as damage or noise. Be sure to state that you have a pet and have the landlord agree to having a pet within the lease.
  4. Suck up to the agent. Nobody wants to be harassed, and a desperate look in your eyes as you hand them your application may not have quite the same effect as if a doe-eyed Labrador were handing in the application. Avoid making the agent feel uneasy and again, they may not actually be the property manager, so check this when you walk in to the inspection.
  5. Leave it too late. If a tenant can demonstrate their ability to pay for the rent and has a full list of references, it often comes down to first come, first served. Don’t leave your rental lease agreement too late.