How To Ace Your New-Gaf Application

Looking for somewhere to live? You're not alone – and we've got the tips to give you the best chance.

Chandler and Eddie Friends

There’s a huge shortage of rental homes on the market, and with college about to restart, things are reaching fever pitch. What it all boils down to is this: you’re at the mercy of the landlord or current tenant, and first impressions are everything. Here’s how to give yourself the very best chance at getting that room you’re after.

Read the small print

Sorry, but there’s no getting around it; if the ad says no couples, they’re not going to make an exception for you and your honey. If they’re asking for professionals only, they won’t bend the rules for you – no, not even if you’re in your final year and super tidy and professional. Males only? Girl, walk on by to the next ad. There is no reason for anyone to change their already-made-up-minds for someone they don’t know, so don’t waste your – and their – time trying.

Ace the initial approach

Again, read the demands: are you being asked to call or to email? If a preference is stated, go with that choice – if it’s a call they want, pick up the phone and call. You’ll usually get a voicemail, so leave a short message saying your name, what your occupation is and when you can move in. Then hang up before you get all rambly.

Email? This is a bit simpler, and there’s a super-clear formula to follow. Who, when and why. Who are you? That’d be your name, age (if they’ve specified an age bracket), what you do and where you come from. Give enough information to seem chatty and upfront, but not so much that they know your first cousin’s names.

Next up, when can you move in? Give a precise date, and let them know if you’re flexible; maybe you can’t move in until September 20th, but you can pay rent from the 10th. The more information, the better. Lastly, why should they pick you? It’s a landlord’s market and you need to sell yourself a bit. Are you a 9-to-5er with a super-steady pensionable job who lived in your last house for five years and gave no trouble? BIG pluses there. Set out your selling points as clearly as you can.

New Girl Zooey Deschanel

Be punctual

When you get past the email stage, we’re talking viewings: once you’ve been allotted your time, for the love of all things holy do not show up late – and no more than five minutes early.


  • bring a friend. Yep, it happens – you may want a second opinion, but you need to show that you are (a) the singleton you said you were and (b) adult enough to make your own decisions. You can phone a friend later.
  • pull a fast one. Lying is never going to wash in a rental situation, so if you arrive for the viewing and admit that, oh, yes, I totally forgot to mention my live-in lover / labrador / night shift situation, you’re just wasting everyone’s time.
  • be presumptuous. Shouting, “I’ll take it!” might seem tempting, but like we’ve said, it’s a letter’s game. If you’re interested, make that clear – then ask what the next steps are.


  • be friendly and polite. Hi, how are you and a handshake are the perfect formula. (Not to be confused with the luvvie air-kissing of social situations.)
  • ask questions! Your prospective landlord / housemate will want to know that you’re clued in and have rented a house before – along with all its ups and downs. Ask what the electricity bills are like; what kind of heating the house has; and for any little quirks (old houses, for example, might have one particularly freezing cold draft that they can’t get rid of, or a room from which you can hear the neighbour’s telly – and it’s worth finding out before you move in).
  • answer questions, too. Whoever is letting the house will probably want to know things about you; one-word answers are sure to turn them off. Consider this as a job interview of sorts – except, y’know, you’ll be doing the paying.

Follow up

So you’ve aced the email application, you’ve viewed the place – and you love it. What next? While your prospective landlord / master is reviewing, there’s no harm sending a text or email to confirm your interest. Keep it short, but definitely sweet – “Thanks so much for taking the time to show me around today – I really loved the room. Hope to hear from you soon!” kind of thing. We mean, don’t go crazy but be enthusiastic.

If at first you don’t succeed…

You won’t get the first place you look at. Given the current climate, it’s unlikely you’ll get the second or third, either – so we recommend emailing a whole lorra places, putting in the legwork and staying positive. You’ll get there eventually, we promise!