Real estate agents are elitist assholes. When you're young, poor, a student or part of a group, it can be hard to convince them to let you rent a property. Sometimes it can be really hard. What to do? First of all, check out How not to rent a house. This is good stuff. Next, you need to deal with your biggest disadvantage when compared with other prospective tenants: your application form. Think about it. Why would an estate agent rent a house to group of students with casual jobs, when they could choose to rent it to a pair of young professionals?

Consider carrying out the following technique. It has been used by me to great success in the past and will hopefully be similarly successful in the future. The technique is adding a cover letter to the rental application form.

Use this letter to prove to the estate agent that you will be a reliable tenant, even if you're credentials don't look so good on the forms you are required to fill in. Be creative. Write fluently. Lie a little. Lie a lot, perhaps. Make yourself/yourselves sound like geeks. Estate agents love geeks, because they love anal retentive freaks who pay the bills on time, don't listen to loud music, don't have parties, don't spill beer on the carpet. Geeks are the perfect tenants. The following is an example of a letter that I personally have used:

To whom it may concern,

We are writing this cover letter in order to give support to our application to rent the property on ______ Street in the suburb of ______. We are doing this because we feel that the amount of information we are required to give you on our application forms may not properly reflect or do justice to our level of suitability as tenants. We understand that some agents can occasionally be reluctant to rent premises to any group of young people, and want to do what we can to convince you that we are responsible young adults who will make excellent tenants.

We are going to this extra trouble because we are really very interested in this property. It is close the University of _______. It is in a quiet and peaceful area, meaning that it would be an ideal site for students such as ourselves who need this sort of environment in which to work. It is spacious enough to accommodate the three of us, as well as having enough space for us to use one room as a study, as well as space for A_____, who is a pianist and flautist, to set up her musical equipment. On top of this, the property is also conveniently in our price range.

We feel that we would be good tenants for many reasons. All three of us have experience in either renting or house-sitting properties. We have stable jobs and therefore stable incomes, and are also supported through regular Youth Allowance payments, including Rent Assistance. The three of us have a good relationship with one another, with A_____ and I having already lived out of home together for a year. N_____ and I are cousins, and have been close friends for the majority of our lives. We are all quiet, reliable people.

Thankyou for taking the extra time in reading this cover letter, and we hope that you will forgive the unorthodoxy of attaching such a letter and understand our intentions in doing so. We believe that you will be very pleased with our level of responsibility as tenants, the same as have our landlords and estate agents in the past.

Your sincerely,


So yeah. Keep it short. Keep it formal.

Feel free to use this letter yourself, though if you're applying in Canberra you may want to send me a msg to make sure we're not with the same estate agent!

Good luck.

I hope this will be useful outside of Australia - I'm not sure whether agents in other parts of the world have such limits on what you can write on an application form, or whether cover letters are more common in other places. They are certainly uncommon down here.

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