Have your Rental Application Ready!

Demand for rental stock is expected to increase in the months surrounding the festive season. This is a popular time to start a new job, relocate or for young professionals to enter the rental market for the first-time; meaning that quality rental property will be highly sought-after.


Popular online property portals have made sourcing information and viewing properties extremely accessible and easy. Many of the websites send out emails notifying prospective tenants that have joined the mailing list as soon as properties that fit their criteria become available.


The tenant can then immediately view the property’s images, location and features or click to be redirected to other properties with similar features in a matter of seconds. To manage the influx of calls and emails, especially in the low to middle rental property bracket, many estate agents organise bulk property viewings that allow a number of interested tenants to view the property at once.


Although the agent saves valuable time, the increased competition means a higher number of potential applicants and a larger pool from which to choose the most credit-worthy applicant.


In terms of the application approval process, the majority of estate agents operate on a first-come-first-served basis.


To ensure the best possible chance of securing the rental property, it’s crucial that prospective tenants attend viewings with the necessary documentation on hand, up-to-date and in order.


This reduces the amount of time spent gathering documents and personal information and allows the tenant to apply for the property at the viewing or soon afterwards, should the property meet their requirements. Complete rental applications with valid FICA documentation attached are a massive advantage when a high number of potential applicants are applying for the same property.


The required documentation for an individual looking to sign the lease agreement in their own name is as follows:

  • A copy of your ID or Passport. In the case of foreign nationals, a copy of work/residence permit is required.

  • 3 Months’ most recent bank statements.

  • Most recent payslip or proof of employment.

  • Proof of current residential address dated within 3 months of the date of application.

  • A copy of your employment contract if you’ve been employed for less than 3 months or are due to start a new job/position.

If two or more applicants are applying for the property together, each individual must complete and sign the application form and submit the documentation listed above.


Necessary Personal Information:

Applicants are required to provide personal information such as contact information and other particulars for themselves and their spouse/partner/other occupants, the applicant’s current residential address and current landlord/managing agent contact details for a tenancy reference, employment information, proof of income and bank account details as well as next-of-kin contact details.


If the Applicant Doesn’t Qualify:

Most estate agencies require that the applicant earn 3x the monthly rental amount to qualify to rent the property. If the applicant does not qualify from an affordability standpoint, which is sometimes the case with students or first-time renters, the applicant can have someone sign surety on their behalf. The Surety is required to submit a copy of their ID, proof of residence and 3 months’ most recent bank statements.


Defaults & Judgements:

In light of SA’s tough economic climate, rising household costs and growing consumer debt it’s not surprising that a large percentage of South African’s have poor credit ratings on their personal credit reports.


Having a default or judgement does not automatically disqualify an individual from applying to rent a property so long as valid proof that the arrears amount is being paid off/has been paid in full is supplied. Real estate agents prefer that prospective tenants are upfront and honest about any defaults/judgements against them at the beginning of the application process so that valuable time is not wasted in sourcing the necessary information/documentation regarding repayment.


Inevitably the landlord has the final say and it is within their rights to approve or decline the tenant as they see fit so long as it does not discriminate against the individual.


When there are a number of tenants viewing and applying for the property, aspirant tenants should consider attending the viewing with the necessary documentation on hand, up-to-date and in order to ensure that they have the best possible chance of getting their foot in the door.