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Tenants: How to make your Application stand out?

March 16th 2023

Since the start of 2023 the rental market has been very active in Christchurch, particularly for tidy, warm and contemporary homes. Whenever we advertise a new property, we receive a flood of applications. Whether you’re moving from a current rental, or you haven’t rented for a while, how do you make your application move to the top of the list?  

Here are some simple tips to improve your chances:

  1. Answer all questions in the application form! This makes the process much smoother, particularly once we reach the “preferred applicant” stage.  
  2. Ensure all referee information is completed with current and correct phone numbers and email addresses. Tenant references often have old/incorrect phone numbers, referees don’t pick up the phone or reply to messages, so there is a lot of chasing back and forth with applicants to get correct contact details. If we can’t reach referees we move on to the next applicant.  
  3. Give your referees a call beforehand, to let them know someone may be in touch and will have specific questions regarding your suitability as a tenant.
  4. Tell us a bit about yourself and why you would like this home. This can be as simple as “I’d like the spare bedroom as a hobby room, or, I love the garden at this home, and would like to grow my own veges here”. Think about how to make your application above the standard, without divulging personal information.  
  5. If you have a pet, include a pet cv. A cute photo helps! Property owners who allow pets in their rental homes are looking for responsible pet owners as tenants, so it helps to include some information to demonstrate this. We require dogs to be registered, and all animals to be neutered, unless there’s a compelling reason not to. If the owner approves your dog, you will be asked to bring it in to the office to meet us, so we can see that you have good control and the dog is well socialised.  
  6. There are strict rules that protect tenants from discrimination. Ruby Housing do not make a decision on prospective tenants based on where you come from, your marital status, or your religion or cultural background. We are proud to have a diverse range of tenants, from many parts of New Zealand and overseas. If you are concerned about how you have been treated with other agencies, check out the Tenancy Services guidelines here.
  7. If you don’t have much rental history, think about who else could vouch for you? If you’ve recently sold a house, then you could ask the sales agent to attest that you are someone who has a clean and tidy home, and is easy to deal with. Is there a sports club, community group or church you belong to, with someone independent, who can speak to your character and general conduct? Friends and family members aren’t independent referees, however there may be an ex-colleague, or someone you know through voluntary work.  
  8. If you make it through the application process to become a “preferred applicant”, there will be a credit check completed on all applicants over 18 years of age. If there is anything of concern in your financial history, it helps to discuss this with us at the start. You may have indulged in some silly spending when younger, had a business venture fall over, or had a rough patch for some other reason. At Ruby Housing we want tenants who prioritise paying rent, and we understand anyone may have had financial difficulties in the past and then turned that around. If you can show you are now on top of your budget and payments, that goes a long way.  
  9. Not all applicants will have current paid employment. If you are receiving help from WINZ, be sure to include all income, including part-time work, family support, or tax credits. We do need to be sure the rent is manageable on your total income. We don’t want to see your bank statements, or see what else you spend your money on.  

Key points to remember: 

  1. Do you have independent referees who can vouch for your character, behaviour, and the way your home is cared for?  
  2. Have you checked the referees contact details are correct?
  3. Can you afford the rent, and pay on time every week?    

Ruby Housing Ideal Tenants:

  1. Good communicators - let us know promptly of any maintenance needed, or if damage occurs
  2. Respect neighbours and other tenants
  3. Keep the property tidy and well-cared for
  4. Pay rent on time, every week.