Selecting Your Tenant

Ben Williams

There are several steps in listing and leasing your investment property; advertising, open for inspections and private inspections, ensuring that you obtain the best rental yield etc, but one of the most important is the tenant selection.

Too often, tenant applications are not processed thoroughly and this can lead to a number of dramas down the track for you as the Landlord. It is vital to ensure that all information of your prospective tenant is provided. This includes at least 100 points of ID (see attached Victoria Police 100 Points of ID link), as well as previous places of residence, rental references and employment references – both past and current.

The next step is what to do with this information now that you have it all?

It is crucial to contact the applicants employer, confirming the applicants salary and length of employment. Also asking questions about them as a person, “if you had an investment property, would you feel confident renting to them?”. My Rental also suggest requesting additional information such as the last three payslips, also noting that it is common practise that the rent be no more than a third of the applicants wage to ensure that the applicants income is able to meet the rental payment obligations.

Rental references are vital and if you have been provided with an applicants current or previous Agent details it is imperative that you contact the Agent and request a reference. Questions to ask the Property Manager are: Were they the sole tenant on the lease? What was the length of their tenancy? What is the current ren? Are the rental payments due weekly, fortnightly or monthly? Have you had to chase this tenant for rental arrears? If so, were there any Notice to Vacates served or Application to VCAT made? How was the property kept at the time of Routine Inspections? Did they have anybody else living with them? Were there any pets in the property? What was the outcome of the Final Inspection and did they leave the property in a satisfactory condition? Did they receive their full bond back? Were they cooperative during the tenancy? Would you rent to them again?

An additional layer of security can be provided by undertaking a search on a database such as the National Tenancy Database ( This may reveal some additional information about the applicant, such as identity verification, bankruptcy and court documents as well as an ASIC company background check.

Whether you are planning on leasing your own investment property, or have employed the assistance of a Property Manager, obtaining this information will allow you or your agent to make an informed decision when selecting a tenant. It is also important to note that should you have a less then desirable tenant and need to make a claim on your Landlord Insurance, most if not all Insurance Companies will request a copy of the Tenant’s Application and Documents, and if due diligence was not used, this may jeopardise your right to a claim.