20 people battle for every rental home: Top tips for renters looking to move

Securing a new home or flat in a highly competitive rental market can be challenging, but there are several tips you can follow to improve your chances of success

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In the ever-evolving landscape of the real estate market, finding the perfect rental home has become a daunting task for many prospective tenants.

The sector is experiencing an unprecedented surge in demand, with a staggering 20 inquiries to agents on average for every available property - as per recent analysis by Rightmove - transforming the rental market into a fiercely competitive arena, leaving renters scrambling to secure their desired homes.

According to the analysis, as of May 2023 the average number of inquiries per available property is 20, a significant surge from the six recorded on average in May 2019. That leaves renters faced with the arduous challenge of standing out amidst the masses and capturing the attention of landlords and property agents.

With interest and mortgage rates on the rise, some property owners may be contemplating selling their rental properties, further exacerbating the already limited availability of rentals and intensifying the competition among aspiring tenants.

Because of this, securing a new rental has become akin to navigating uncharted waters. As such, prospective tenants must equip themselves with invaluable strategies and insights to successfully secure their dream rental amidst the fierce competition.

Securing a new home or flat in a highly competitive rental market can be challenging, but there are several tips you can follow to improve your chances of success.

(Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)(Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
(Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Be prepared

Before you start searching for a rental, gather all necessary documents, such as proof of income, references, rental history, and a copy of your credit report. Having these readily available will enable you to act quickly when you find a suitable property.

Set a budget

Determine a realistic budget for your rental, including rent, utilities, and other expenses. Some experts say you should aim to spend no more than 30% of your monthly income on rent to ensure you can comfortably afford it.

Act quickly

In a competitive market, properties can get snatched up swiftly. Monitor various rental platforms and websites regularly to maximise your chances of finding a suitable property, and be prepared to visit properties and submit applications as soon as they become available.

Any good rental listing website or app will allow you to set up alerts or notifications to be instantly notified when new properties fitting your criteria are listed. You could also check local newspapers and social media groups to stay informed about new listings.

Be professional and polite

When communicating with landlords or property managers, be courteous and professional. A friendly demeanour can make you more memorable as a potential tenant.

Offer a strong application

Along with your application, you could provide a cover letter introducing yourself and explaining why you'd be an ideal tenant. Highlight anything that may make you appear more desirable to prospective landlords, like a stable income and good rental history.

If you've been a responsible tenant in the past, ask your previous landlords for references to vouch for your reliability. If you have a strong rental history but don't meet all the income requirements, having a co-signer or guarantor can improve your chances.

If your financial situation allows, offering to pay several months' rent upfront can ease the landlord's concerns about your ability to pay, and if you can also accommodate the landlord's preferred move-in date, it might make your application more appealing.

After submitting your application, follow up with the landlord or property manager to ensure they received it and to express your continued interest in the property.

Consider offering more rent

If you can afford it and you really love a property, you could consider offering slightly higher rent to make your application more attractive to the landlord. However, ensure this is still well within your budget and won't strain your finances.

Likewise, some landlords prefer tenants who are willing to sign a longer lease (e.g., 18 months instead of 12). This demonstrates stability and can make your application more appealing. A larger security deposit can also provide landlords with more confidence in your ability to take care of the property.

Negotiate with flexibility

On the other hand, if the property has been on the market for a while or you notice some minor flaws, you might have room to negotiate on the rent or request small repairs or improvements. However, be reasonable in your requests to maintain a positive impression.

Be Ready to make a decision

If you are accepted for a rental, be prepared to make a prompt decision. Delaying your response could result in the property being offered to someone else.