How to Find a Home in a Rental Crisis?

Immigration is not for the weak at heart. It takes a special type of courage and an adventurous spirit to pack up your life in a shipping container, limit your travel baggage to 23 kilograms, and get onto an airplane destined for the Great South Land. You leave behind all that is familiar to come and build a new life.

Many new immigrants arriving in Australia these days are unfortunately faced with an additional hurdle to overcome in their quest to settle Down Under. Currently, most Australian cities are in the thick of a housing crisis.

When you visit Reiwa’s website, you will see that in Perth, for the week ending 3 March 2024, there are only 2134 homes listed for sale.  The rental market faces the same lack of numbers, with only 1150 homes listed as rentals in Perth.

Is it impossible to obtain a rental? 

No. There are ways that you can make your application stand out and be sent through to the owner for approval. I asked Esmari Bradley and Rachelle Edwards from Perth Relocation Specialists for recommendations that could help new immigrants in Perth obtain a rental in this competitive market.

Before you arrive

Open online profiles for 2apply and These sites help property managers to verify your identity. Complete the About Me sections. This will provide important information to your prospective landlord. Please ensure that your profiles are fully completed. With the market as it is, the property managers will NOT contact you for more information.

When in Australia

As an immigrant, you already have most of the documents that you will need for a rental application. Make sure that you have copies of the following:

  • Driver’s license/ID document/Passport
  • Payslips to prove your income. If you are a new arrival and have not started earning yet, a letter of employment is essential. If you do not have employment yet, you have to show that you have sufficient funds to last for the term of the rental contract.
  • Character references, and if you are currently renting references from your current property manager. If you own a home, ask your neighbours to write references and take photos of how you kept your property.
  • Shortlist the properties you are interested in and register for the home opens. The market is moving quickly, and you should check your emails regularly.  If you miss out on the first home open, chances are you have missed out on the property.  Currently, a home is on the rental market for only 15 days before it is rented out.
  • Punctuality and presentability are very important. First impressions matter. Introduce yourself to the property manager.
  • Most listings require you or a representative to view the property on your behalf. An application link will only be sent once you attend the home open.
  • Let your references know that they can expect a call. Have more than one reference, as property managers will not necessarily call back, and would rather move on to the next reference in line.
  • If you are able, you could offer more than the asking rental price. The agent is not allowed to ask for more. There is new legislation on the way that will curb offerings higher than the rent that is asked. A good guideline is to stay within 30% of your income for rental payments.
  • Make sure that you have the requested bond and two weeks’ rent ready to pay. If you are still in a different country than Australia, familiarise yourself with international bank transfers and have the funds ready to be deposited.

I know that immigration takes an emotional toll. It is a time of uncertainty and excitement.  If you know what to expect, you can prepare your reaction to the situation and see it as part of the journey, and not an insurmountable obstacle.

Be realistic in your expectations when it comes to property. Remember, a rental is not a lifetime commitment.  It is a place where you can recalibrate while you find your feet and make more decisions about your future in a new country.

I am looking forward to helping and guiding you on this journey. If you need assistance with regard to positions advertised on my website or if you are looking for a job opportunity in Australia, please provide your details, and I will be in touch.

About the Author

Having relocated twice from South Africa to China and then to Australia, and also moving from Queensland to Western Australia, has gained valuable insight into the intricacies of job searching in Australia.

Chaleen, who graduated from the University of South Africa with a background in accountancy, decided to embark on a new journey and discovered a passion for assisting others in their job search. Since 2012 she has played a pivotal role as a job coach, developing LinkedIn profiles and coaching job seekers.

Chaleen was eventually offered a position as a recruiter at a specialised recruitment company and later at an outsourced HR firm. It wasn’t long before she discovered that she had a passion for the recruitment process. Chaleen obtained her recruiter’s license and subsequently established her own recruitment company.

Chaleen enjoys reading, staying fit, and spending time with her family and their two furry pets when she is not working.

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