We all thought hell would freeze over before it became more expensive to rent in Christchurch than in Auckland. Sadly, that day has arrived. According to TradeMe Property, from July to September 2013 the average rental property in Christchurch cost more than $500 a week. This is up 25% on the same time last year. Research has suggested the average rent in Christchurch has increased by $100 a week over the past year and some short term rentals for those displaced by the quake can fetch up to $1000 a week!
With post-quake supply and demand working so strongly against renters, it can seem like a hopeless exercise – heading to viewing after viewing, contacting landlord after landlord. So what can those hunting for rental properties in Christchurch do to stand out above the competition?
Tips to increase your rental property chances
1. Know what the landlord is after
Generally, when a landlord wants to rent a property, there are three key things they want to know:
- You can and will pay your rent on time
- You will look after the rental property well
- You have a good past history with renting (as well as a good credit history)
For Christchurch rental properties, proving you tick all these boxes has never been more important.
2. Know your limits
Know what you can afford, and make sure you aren’t pushing yourself further financially than you should as you don’t want to have to back out of your lease early. When you encounter a landlord that requires payslips and bank statements, they will be put off if they can tell the rental is going to be tough for you financially and will be more likely to choose other, more financially suitable renters.
3. Treat a rental property viewing like a job interview
Make sure you are dressed to impress and carry yourself well, just as you would for a job interview. You are trying to make a good impression, show you are reliable and trustworthy, and help the property manager/landlord like you. The way you dress is important. You want to communicate “I take good care of myself, therefore I will take good care of your rental property.”
4. Be on time
As well as being good common courtesy, turning up on time to your rental property viewing will show that you are reliable and punctual, sending a good message about the likelihood of you paying your rent on time.
5. Have your paperwork ready before the viewing
Turning up with your application, a contract (if you can get one beforehand), references, credit history, payslips, bank statements, copies of your ID and any other relevant documents ready to go will instantly put you at the top of the pile – property managers and landlords in Christchurch are generally trying to fill their rentals as soon as possible.
Even if you aren’t sure you will like the property, it’s worth having the pre-filled rental property application form ready to go, just in case. Especially considering how much there is to gain from handing it in straight away. It also shows you are really organised and willing to play your part in the relationship, and make their lives easier rather than harder.
Making sure you have your rental references organised in advance is also a great step. The last thing you want is to miss out on a great rental property because you are trying to track down a referee, and it is something you can easily start organising from the day you decide you need to search for a new place.
If you haven’t rented before, a character reference is a good alternative. For those who have only ever owned a home, a copy of your rates bill will be sufficient evidence. A picture of your home can also help.
6. Be honest
Bending the truth on tenancy troubles, bad credit history, or giving fake referees will likely catch up with you.
An effective landlord or property manager will check those things, even going so far as to check the title of your so-called landlord’s house to establish whether he or she is real. With the Tenancy Tribunal, past rulings are on record for seven years. It is much more advantageous to be frank and open about any issues, and explain your side of the story and how you learned from it or remedied the situation.
7. Consider your pets
The last thing a landlord or property manager wants to do is deal with neighbours complaining about noisy dogs, or to have their lawn or floors destroyed. If you have pets, consider getting a “pet reference” from your prior neighbours and past landlord to prove that your pets don’t cause trouble.
The competition for rental properties in Christchurch is fierce
You really do need to go the extra mile to prove you are not only professional, polite and prepared, but that you are the best candidate of all the other applicants. Renting property in Christchurch is a tough race, so you need to put in the hard yards if you want to win!
Want to know more on how you can secure a rental? Get in touch and one of our friendly property managers will be happy to help.
Janice Cowdy is director of the Property Management Division of Cowdy.
Having worked in the role since 1989, with a reputation for offering an unrivalled property management service, she ensures landlords receive the best return for their investment.
A property investor herself, her philosophy is to treat every client’s property as they would. Always ensuring landlords receive a good return on investment, and enjoying open lines of communication.
She has extensive experience in all aspects of business, understanding relevant tenancy legislation, and is committed to providing the best property management service available.
A strategic thinker, she focuses on quality control, problem solving and forward planning.