100 Points of ID and Other Documents Needed for Renting in Australia
Verifying your identification will come up a lot when you first move to Australia. You will become very familiar with the 100 Points of ID Check. I have a whole separate post about the 100 Points of ID Check here. Read it before you move. You'll need to have the documents mentioned in that post, on your person, in Sydney when you arrive.
In this post, I'm going to list all the documents you might need when filling out your rental application. You won't have all of them, so you won't pass the 100 Points of ID Check. I'll talk about what your options are below to make up for missing documentation.
Each Real Estate Agency Has Its Own 100 Points of ID Checklist.
Rental applications are different for each real estate agency. Each has its own points system and requires different documents to verify identification.
Please use this post as a guide for documents to have ready in case you need them. Since you are moving from overseas, there's a very high probability you'll need more documentation for your application. Even if you have 100 points.
Have photocopies with you when you arrive in Sydney. This way, you're not spending time running all over the city looking for a photocopier.
Yes, you will need to submit copies of all supporting documents for your application. This is for the real estate agency to have on file. Check the local Sydney library or Kwik Kopy if you need to make copies.
If you use 1form and upload photos of all your identification documents, don't assume the real estate agency will print them up for you.
To complete your 100 Points of ID Check, the real estate agent needs to see the originals. Uploading them to your 1form account gets the application process started, but you'll need the originals to cross the finish line.
Documents to Pass the 100 Points ID Check and Range of Points for Each.
Each adult living in the rental with you will need to fill out an application and pass the 100 Points ID Check.
I'm listing the main documents you'll need and including a range of points. The points system for rental applications is all over the place. This is why the range I have below is broad for certain documents. Focus on what the documents are and try to have as many on hand as possible.
Primary Proof of ID*
Passport or Australian Driver’s License (only one permitted)
Secondary Photo ID
Foreign Driver's License or NSW Photo ID Card
Proof of Visa
Health Care Card
Bank or Credit Card Statement (one per financial institution)
Utilities Bill (Gas, Electric, Phone)
Proof of Australian Rental History*. Examples: previous lease signed by you, reference letter, up to four rent receipts, and rental bond receipt. Often asked for more than one of these.)
Proof of Income or Ability to Pay Rent*. (Examples: letter of an employment offer, pay slip, employment reference, bank statement with savings to cover six months rent, accountant letter, and Centrelink documents.)
Some tenancy applications won't list points for proof of employment. This is because it's a requirement.
Don’t Have 100 Points of ID for Rental Application?
The three most important documents listed above are primary proof of ID, rental history, and proof of income or ability to pay the rent. Without these, you won't have 100 points even if you have every other document on the list.
For steps to pass the 100 Points ID Check when you arrive in Sydney, read my post on here. At the bottom of that post, I outline the steps to get your secondary identification documents sorted.
Your primary proof of ID is your passport.
Some real estate agencies may also ask for proof of your visa.
Your visa is electronically linked to your passport number. Unfortunately, the real estate agent doesn't have access to this documentation. In this case, you can use your visa approval notification. Take a screenshot of your immigration account and save it as a jpeg, pdf, or doc. If your visa approval notification was an email, use that.
They're after proof that you're on a long-term visa and won't have to leave the country or bail part way on a year or six-month lease.
Include a cover letter with your application.
Unfortunately, your rental history overseas won't count for much.
A cover letter is your chance to explain that you have rented before and include those references with contact details. There is a slim chance the real estate agent will contact them, but you never know.
In your cover letter, included:
- why you're moving to Australia
- where from you're moving from
- what profession you're in
- mention your employment reference in Australia if you have one
- who you're moving with
- pets that will be living with you
- anything else that will make you stand out as an applicant
The letter should be quick and to the point, but specific to the rental property you're applying for. Include why it's a good fit for you.
Here's an example.
Dear [Use Agent’s First Name],
We are Jason and Lauren Anderson. We have recently moved to Sydney from Seattle, where we rented a duplex for four years. We have attached our former property manager's contact details as a reference along with our supporting documents to our application for the property at 123 Military Road in Mosman.
We love the house and feel that it is a perfect fit for us and our two children, Sarah (5) and John (7). They are very excited to be close to the beach and so many parks. As parents, we are most excited about enrolling them in Mosman Primary School, which has been our wish since researching schools back in Seattle.
Jason is a software engineer at Super Cool Company in Sydney. He will be starting work on [date, month]. Lauren was a research assistant at Amgen, a biotech company in Seattle, where she worked for five years. She is looking for similar work in Sydney and has several interviews scheduled for next week.
We moved to Australia on a TSS 482 visa (four-year stream) and would like to settle into a property for the entire time we are in Sydney.
Thank you so much for your consideration. Please let us know if you need any more information from us. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Jason, Lauren, Sarah, and John
This is an example. Please do not copy and paste, then attach it to your application.
Take the time to make the letter your own by adding small, personal details.
Tenancy reference from back home.
As I mentioned before, there's little chance the real estate agent in Sydney will contact your rental references back home. This doesn't mean you shouldn't have any ready to go or not include any with your application. It's a nice touch, and email does work in Australia.
Here's an example of a tenancy reference.
To whom it may concern,
This letter is to verify that Jason and Lauren have been tenants in our rental property located at 47 Market Street, Seattle, WA, from 2 February 2016 to 2 April 2020.
The monthly payment was $2,325 and has always been paid on time. Jason and Lauren have proven to be upstanding individuals and have taken care of the property.
If I can assist you with further information about Jason and Lauren's residency at my property, please feel free to contact me on +1 206 999 9999.
1 Market Street, Seattle, WA 98109
Ph +1 206 999 9999
Email: [email protected]
Make sure to let your landlord back home know when you've started to apply so they can be on the lookout for emails from Australia.
Emailing campaign that worked for us.
If you haven't moved yet, but want to get the ball rolling, read my post about our email campaign that scored us our first apartment in Sydney a week after we arrived.
The email campaign would work well in combination with a cover letter because you'll be reminding the real estate agent that you've been in contact already. A good reference point.
Proof of employment in Australia.
Proof of employment in Australia will be a must. Ask for a letter from the HR department in Australia before you leave. Don't wait until you've started applying.
Have them email you a pdf if possible.
The letter doesn't have to be anything special. It should have enough information for the real estate agent to know that you have a job and can afford the rent.
To whom it may concern,
Re: Employment reference – John Doe
We wish to confirm the following employment of John Doe at Super Cool Company, Pty.
Hire date: 1 January 2020
Start date: 10 January 2020
TSS 482 Sponsored Work Visa (This lets them know you're planning on staying in Sydney for a while.)
Current yearly salary: $150,000
Should you need any further information, please contact me on 02 0000 0000.
HR Department Manager at Super Cool Company
Ask for a letter with the official company letterhead. It should include the company and HR manager's contact details, both phone, and email.
Let the HR manager know when you've submitted an application and the name of the real estate agent and agency they work with. You don't want them to miss that reference check call or email. Most likely, it will be a call from the receptionist at the real estate agency.
The faster your details are verified, the sooner you get your keys.
What if You Don’t Have Proof of Employment in Australia?
This is definitely going to make things harder. You'll need to show that you can afford to pay the rent. To do this, you'll need a bank statement from an Australian bank that shows enough funds for about six months' rent.
You might also want to consider offering to pay six months of rent upfront.
Yes, this is in addition to the bond deposit and any application fee. Yes, it totally sucks, but it could very well be the difference between a successful rental application and one that isn't.
Can’t Afford to Pay Six Months Rent in Advance?
Many expats moving to Australia without jobs end up Airbnb hopping until they find a job. This can be as expensive, if not more, than paying that six months' rent in advance.
Another option is sharing an apartment or house in Sydney. This is not an option for families, but not uncommon for couples or if you're moving by yourself.
Yes, I know it's not ideal. You want to have your own place. It won't be forever, and it's very common for older adults to share flats in Sydney because it's so crazy expensive.
It's also an excellent way to meet people, a bonus if you're moving on your own.
I have two expat friends, both in their mid-thirties, that share a flat in Pyrmont that is gorgeous with a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There is no way they could afford that apartment on their own, but together, they live in a palace.
It's not that uncommon for people over 40 to share a flat in Sydney. In fact, Flatmates.com.au has flatshare listings looking for over 40+ flatmates.
Again, it's not forever, and if you're running out of options, it's worth considering.
A quick note about shared rentals in Australia. A roommate is someone sharing a single room, not the whole place.
Now You’re Ready to Start House Hunting in Sydney
Ok, let's recap where we are and what to do next.
- You have your primary id and secondary supporting id documents. Again, read my post here that goes into more detail on what secondary id documents to get when you arrive in Sydney.
- You have a cover letter written up and ready to send out.
- You've started contacting real estate agents before you move. Read my post about when to start contacting them and what to mention in your email.
- You have a letter from your employer in Sydney and will let HR know when you start turning in applications.
- If you don't have a job yet, you need to decide if you can afford to pay six months' rent in advance.
- Now it's time to get ready to go to rental inspections. I'm not going to get into what you need to know about inspections in Sydney here.
International Moving Companies Near You
What are you taking to Australia when you move? Do you know yet?
The truth is you don’t need to know right now, for sure, what’s going with you.
But you do have to get a shipping quote ASAP, especially now.
Why? Because international moving companies need to schedule your move to Australia far in advance, some ask for 6 months in advance. Yes, COVID has changed everything, including international shipping.
When filling out the form below…
- You don’t need a street address for where you’re moving to, only the city and country. What they really want to know is the main shipping port.
- Moving date is an estimate. You don’t need exact dates right now. Go with your best guess.
- Estimate volume is an estimate. Don’t bother with calculating your volume. Use one of the estimates below for your estimated volume.
- Studio or 1 Bedroom —> 20 m3
- 2 Bedroom —> 25 m3
- 3 Bedroom —> 30 m3
- 4 Bedroom or 3 Bedroom + Car —> 50 m3
- Use your “real” contact details for BOTH phone and email. Yes, the form is secure. If you don’t use your real contact details, then they can’t get in touch with you for your quote. Makes sense, right?