House Rental: What To Do and Not Do During Your Property Rental Application

So you’ve combed through multiple rental properties and found your dream home, but how do you make your rental application stand out from those submitted by other applicants in a difficult rental market? A potential landlord and their property managers review numerous rental applications, so first impressions are critical.

You’ll need at least one good reference from your current landlord or previous landlords, although this doesn’t necessarily mean that first-time renters won’t be successful in the application process.

You’ll also need a solid credit report, all the necessary identification documents, and indications of your financial stability. The key to securing your dream place is to convince the property manager that you’re the best tenant for the apartment or other space.

8 Rental Application Tips for Renting in Toronto

While every property manager in Toronto is different, the basics of the rental application process remain the same. The application forms used for choosing tenants to rent a property tend to be pretty standard, as are the documents required to secure the rental that’s your dream home.

To make a good impression, you’ll want to have these documents handy.

Preparation Is Key – Having Your Documents Ready To Go

As you’re gathering everything you need to sure your rental home, you should think of all these documents as your rental resume.

In addition to the application form, you will need the phone numbers of solid references, proof that you’re paying rent at your current rental home, your driver’s license or another form of identification, and these other items as part of your rental application.

Supporting Documents

One way to really make your rental application stand out is by documenting your rental history for the real estate agency that’s managing the application process for the rental property.

It’s always a good idea to show your prospective landlord that you never missed a rent payment and that you have been renting your current apartment for an extended period without problems.

Here’s your rental application checklist of everything else you need to submit:

Provide Proof of Income

Whether you’ve been renting property already or this will be your first rental property, you will need proof of your income. Many landlords want to see check stubs from your current employer or other forms of proof so that they know the person renting their rental property will be able to pay their rent.

If you have just relocated to an area and don’t yet have employment, you’ll want to submit proof that you have enough money to pay the rent for more than a few months and evidence of a job interview.

Remember, the property is an investment property for the landlord, so you will have to submit evidence that you can pay as part of the rental application process.

Previous Landlord References

You will also want to submit references from a previous landlord. Your rental history could be the key to convincing the property manager that you’re the right person for the space. Many tenants make the mistake of not using their previous landlords as a reference when they’re trying to secure a rental property in GTA.

An Extra Note On Character References

In addition to documenting your rental history, your rental application should also include good references of people who know what you are like. A property manager wants to know that you won’t cause problems for other tenants in the property.

Financial Guarantor To Solidify Your Application if You Don’t Have Proof of Income

If this is your first time renting a unit, some landlords might require a financial guarantor or co-signer who will help pay the rent if you become unable to do so. You might also want to provide bank statements and evidence from your current employer showing that you have a job with your application form.

Together, all these items make up your rental resume, and you might even want to include a cover letter with even more information about you if you don’t have a history showing that you pay rent on time.

Plan for Pets

Many tenants want to bring their pets with them, but this can be a tricky endeavour. Every pet is different, so landlords are taking a big risk by allowing you to bring your pet. Ideally, you should provide them with some pet references or people who know that your pet is well-behaved and won’t damage the rental unit.

Check Your Credit Score

Most property managers check a prospective renter’s credit report when they submit their rental application. If you’re not sure what your credit score looks like, you might want to check it yourself before submitting an application so that there are no nasty surprises.

Create a Good First Impression – Show Up on Time to the Showing Appointment

When you first see a listing, you’ll need to contact the real estate agent for a showing. These rental inspections are important because they will enable you to determine whether the unit is really right for you.

However, these appointments are also important because they provide the first hint of your reliability to the owner or manager.

Share Why You Would Love To Make This Property Your Home

It will likely take a few months for the manager or owner to decide who will rent the unit, but in the meantime, you can work on increasing your odds of success. When you meet the representative for the showing, you can be very open about what you like about the unit and why you would love to make it your home.

If you play your cards right, you may have other opportunities to do this, but it’s important that you don’t overwhelm the property manager with phone calls or mail.


What Qualities Does a Landlord Look For?

Landlords want tenants who pay their rent on time, don’t cause problems for other tenants, and, if possible, live in the unit for a long time so that they don’t have to look for new renters again after a short time.

Of course, it’s pretty easy to determine what landlords look for when choosing renters, but it’s just as important to figure out what they don’t want to see. If there are any signs that you have been a difficult tenant in any of your past rental properties, you’ll need to show that those issues won’t happen again.

For example, if a problematic pet or roommate was the source of the problem, you’ll want to make that known to the manager or landlord and ensure that you won’t be bringing that pet or roommate with you when you move in.

Final Thoughts

The rental application process in Toronto is pretty cut and dry, but in a challenging market, you could be up against a large number of other applicants. As a result, it is critical that you demonstrate why you would be a better tenant than any of those others.

You can do that by having all the proper documents on hand to deliver with the application so that the manager doesn’t have to ask you for them. Some managers won’t even bother asking prospective renters who don’t provide these items upfront, so you should make sure that you have everything they need to make their determination when you turn in the application.

Other important tips for demonstrating why you are better than other people who want to rent the space include showing up for all appointments on time, documenting your positive credit and rental history, and sharing character and landlord references who can attest to why you would make an excellent tenant.

Sabine Ghali
Sabine Ghali
Helping real estate investors build wealth over time

Sabine Ghali, Managing Director at Buttonwood Property Management, Award Winning Real Estate Broker and an Entrepreneur at heart. Sabine is on a mission to help investors create real estate wealth over time in the Greater Toronto Area. Sabine is published in a number of media outlets, including Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Gulf News, among many others.