How to land your dream rental property and beat the competition

5,6,7,8 … it’s time to dance the rental foxtrot

So you’ve found that perfect apartment in your dream postcode. It’s within Sunday strolling distance of your favourite coffee shop and dog park. Congratulations! But what’s this? After enquiring about a viewing, you are told there are precisely 76 other potential renters all vying for the same abode. “Nooooo! Why have the rental gods forsaken me!?” you are heard wailing, all the way down in Clapham.

Competing for your dream North London rental can often feel like a battle. A war. A murder on the dance floor! It’s no secret that the more desirable properties are snapped up in seconds, and can slip away if you’re not prepared to take the lead (wink). To help you secure that perfect rental, think of it like a dance to the death. Well, to the handing over of keys perhaps.

Get viewing ready!

You need to be ‘viewing ready’ to show off your best assets (proof of income / i.d.) and bag that trophy apartment over all the competition – no matter how sequinned, nor fake tanned. From where we’re standing it’s eights all round, but there’s always room for improvement darling. Here are our top tips to making your rental application a crowd-pleasing TEN!

Let’s take to the floor…

Illustration of a man and woman landing their dream rental property

Keep your eyes on the prize

One way to get ahead of the competition is to set up alerts on your phone/email to be the first to know about new rentals. Ding! You are told of a dog friendly garden flat in Stroud Green hot off the press and ready to rent next week apparently. Time to call the agents and get your viewing booked ASAP, before Jenny has had a chance to even type in the words ‘pets allowed’ into her search bar. Mwahahaa. You can decide whether you’d like daily or weekly alerts, but in this climate? Daily, darling. Next!

Get your (commute) timing right

Yes, your heart is set on N4, we don’t blame you. The travel options are second to none and local green spaces certainly get our vote. But have you considered N16? N8, perhaps? Hornsey train station is a breeze and speeds across London in air conditioned carriages, no less. Rental homes that might appear too far away might be equipped with faster train services that will get you where you need to be quicker than the quick step after a bulletproof coffee or two. Open up your arms to a wider search area with cheaper rents and potentially less competition. Win win.

Get your ducks in a row

No, we’re not talking about your duck toed dance moves, though they do need addressing. It’s time to make sure your finances are all in order before you make your renting bid. You’ll be able to move a lot faster across the floor if you have your deposit, holding fee, first month’s rent and moving costs already covered. Usually deposits are up to five weeks rent, and will be placed in a government protection scheme by your landlord or agent – often to cover the damage caused by your relentless tap dancing thank you very much. Holding fees on the other hand are usually one week’s rent, and secure the home until your references are being thoroughly checked (the scary bit) before being taken off your remaining rent due. Which brings us to your next move…

From footwork to paperwork

You’d be wise to have your official documents ready for their closeup, too. Landlords will often ask for references from your previous landlord, employer and bank statements. Not the most thrilling of paperwork, and often laced with a healthy dose of anxiety, but a necessary evil nonetheless. Writing a friendly yet formal cover letter can also help you win over the agent / landlord when it comes to your rental application. You might just pip your competition to the post should you have these documents ready to go, alongside proof of ID – from passport to bank statements to utility bills proving you are a trustworthy person who has actually lived in a rental before and hasn’t floated down from Neptune to infiltrate estate agents across the land and learn their fascinating ways. Sorry, wrong metaphor. Back to the dance floor!

Be ready for viewings at the drop of a (top) hat

Weed out the amateurs and make sure you’re ready to view the property at their earliest convenience – including weekdays. Most people aren’t available until evenings or weekends, so try to go on a weekday morning or afternoon and passe doble your way into that ground floor two bed. Should you be busy weekdays, see if you could work out a system with your partner or friend – if moving with them – and snap up that dream apartment post haste.

Be presentable and punctual

If you are moving with a partner or friends, make sure you have all seen the rental before signing on the dotted line to avoid big fallouts further down the line. Never pretty. Speaking of which, it’s important to make sure you look the part when arriving at your viewing – both on time and looking presentable to give the right impression. Don’t cut your own viewing time short by turning up late, bedraggled and stressed. A four from us!!

Get off on the right foot

Build a rapport with your lettings agent by showing your interest and asking keen questions. This shows you’re serious, you’ve done your research and you mean business. Should someone else win the shiny top floor trophy, you’ll have created a positive relationship with your agent who can help you find an even shinier prize with your name (engraved) on it. Chin up, shoulders down and keeeeeep browsing!

Please note that all content contained within our website is for informational purposes only. You should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. All Content on this site is information of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. We advise seeking professional advice from a legal, financial, or other professional.

Contact us: – Lettings Director (contact for lettings and property management) – Sales Director (contact for sales, new homes and chartered surveying)

020 3820 2492

Davies & Davies Estate Agents, 85 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 3EG

Article & images by Barefaced Studios

You might also want to read other useful blog articles by clicking here.

12 October 2023
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