By Leilani Shepherd

Australia's toughest rental market: how to secure a property in Sydney


Securing a rental property can be a difficult process and with tough conditions facing renters across all capital cities, Sydney is no exception. The struggles that tenants face to lock in a new home have been exacerbated by cash rate rises, which have reduced the borrowing capacity of buyers significantly and cast them back into an already overflowing pool of renters.

Vacancy rates have hit record lows across Australia and rental prices have skyrocketed as tenants compete for a lower-than-usual volume of available listings. Property re-lets are becoming fewer as existing tenants fear the possibility of being unable to find something else and instead renew fixed-term agreements to avoid rent increases.

With prospective tenants lining up out the doors of open homes, Sydney’s rental crisis is becoming harder to ignore.

As the leading property management and leasing advisor in the Inner West, we have the inside scoop on how you can set yourself apart from other applicants and give yourself the best chance of securing a new home.

Inspecting a property

If you’ve been looking for a while, chances are you’ve already spent a significant amount of time scrolling through platforms like Domain and This is your opportunity to submit enquiries on properties that you’re interested in and nut out the nitty-gritty details, like if a property is pet friendly, before you spend the time attending an inspection. This also lets the agent know that you’re interested and where available, we suggest registering for an inspection if you’re planning to attend – this will prevent any delays when you arrive to the open home.

Remember that the fifteen-minute inspection window will be your only opportunity to decide if you want to live in the property or not, so make sure to check the important things, like if your furniture will fit or if the bedrooms are big enough for you. With twenty-to-thirty applications landing on an agent’s desk after a single open home, they won’t have the time to show you the place a second time before taking a deposit and if you’re not willing to commit after one viewing, they’ll offer the property to someone who is.

In this market, patience is also a necessity. There may be up to eighty groups lining up to inspect a property and while waiting for your turn might be an inconvenience, the leasing agent is likely overwhelmed too. They’re the one that will be reviewing your application and making a recommendation to the landlord on who the property should be leased to, so your first impression counts. Be nice, be patient and remember that everyone else is stressed too.

Applying for a property

Different agencies will use different application processing software but in general, you’ll be given instructions on how to apply upon inspecting a property or registering for an inspection. With paper forms becoming a thing of the past, weblinks sent straight to your phone are the most common choice for Inner City agents at the moment. Whether it’s T-App, 1Form, Inspect Real Estate or another application processing software, the same information is required most of the time.

If you take anything away from this article, let it be this: have your documents ready. It might sound obvious, but a missing bank statement or forgetting to obtain your rental ledger can be the difference between an application acceptance and a rejection. While different agencies might vary slightly in their requirements, you will always need to provide proof of ID, proof of income and rental history (where applicable).

Before you even take a look at a place, make sure you have your supporting documents in order. The questions on a rental application can seem never ending and it’s easy to become overwhelmed if you’re having to go back and forth to add in missing pieces.

Make a digital copy of your passport, driver’s licence or other legal ID, download a copy of your latest bank statement plus your two most recent payslips, and have your employment contract on hand; you might not need all three, but different agencies will request different documents.

Ask your current property manager for a copy of your rental ledger and make sure you have their name and number noted down so they can be contacted by the agent processing your application. If you’re not a resident, be ready to supply a copy of your visa and if you’re moving straight out of home, have your parents draft a guarantor’s letter. If there’s a four-legged family member that will be sharing the home with you, a pet resume is never a bad idea; include the age of your pet, their temperament, breed, and house-trained status.

Even if you look excellent on paper, a leasing agent won’t wait around for you to get your documents in order after-the-fact; if they have to chase you for information missing from your application, they’ll move on to the next candidate.

Nine times out of ten, the leasing agent processing your application will contact your current property manager if you’re being considered for the property. How you’ve treated previous rental properties will play a big part in whether you’re recommended to the landlord as a tenant. While you’re not required to keep a tidy house during routine inspections, we always suggest you do your best to present the property well – the experiences your current property manager has with you will influence if they recommend you as a tenant and they will be asked.

Last but not least, when it comes to price, it’s no secret that Sydney is in the midst of a rental crisis. High demand has driven prices up to an almost unfathomable peak and paying unreasonable prices for an Inner City pad has become the norm. With the current state of the rental market leaving little flexibility for negotiation, we always suggest that you put your best foot forward. Work out what you’re willing to spend and offer it on your application. The leasing agent won’t reach out to you to negotiate a higher price if you’ve low-balled your offer; your application will simply be moved to the bottom of the pile.  

Looking for somewhere to live? Browse our properties for rent here.

Got a property that you want to lease? Get in touch with our property management depatment here.