Five tips for securing a rental

If you’re in B.C. and looking for a rental, here are my tips.

Signs on the street 1. Check out all the places rentals may be advertised.

There’s definitely been a move to online advertising so you should check them out first. (See my list of agents and internet sites as a starting point.)

Remember the local papers, particularly the free ones that are delivered in the areas you’re targeting. Older landlords and those willing to pay to advertise will still be using the printed press.

Walk the streets in areas that you particularly like and look out for the rental signs. In my area, for instance, there are definitely signs that appear from time to time.

2. Be quick to respond

Being first in to see a property is the best way to find somewhere. If you’ve not yet started work then use your availability to your advantage.

3. Be prepared

Landlords want good tenants who will treat their place well and pay their rent. Be prepared to satisfy them on all counts. That means having references available should they ask. If your references are from out of country then it can help to have copies of letters from previous landlords, employers or character references.

If at all possible find someone locally who can vouch for you. If you do have a job then confirmation of the job offer will be useful.

4. Be decisive

There’s a fair amount of competition for good rentals, so be prepared to make a quick decision. I have seen people lose out simply by taking too long to make a decision, or by holding out for something better.

5. Negotiate

This might not always be possible, but there are times when you can negotiate a drop in the rent. Use whatever factors you can to make your case. For example if you’re willing to sign a longer lease (over the standard one year) then use that. But you must be sure that you can stay for the term agreed.

If there’s something you don’t like about the property then see if you can get it fixed before you move in or get something off the rent. You can even use factors that aren’t really problems to you. For example if it has one parking place, you could say you’d ideally like two places and see if you can be compensated for only having one!

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