Scrapping over who is best-suited to pay someone else's mortgage isn't the ideal start to the year, but it's a January ritual for many Auckland renters.
One tool that can help would-be tenants is a a "renting CV" - especially when competing against 30 other groups.
"It's like a job interview," said a letting agent in charge of several hundred properties in the central and western suburbs.
"There's not enough properties for people, especially if it's a well-presented property in a good location and appropriately priced.
"People that are on the ball ... the moment the viewing's finished, within 24 hours at the most, their application's in, it's submitted with a bit of a cover email to it," he said.
Making a good impression on the landlord or property manager was key, he said.
"When it's such a big group, it's trying to recall who you've chatted to. On a good property you're going to get at least 15 applications. A lot of it comes through in online applications with photos following.
"Most of it goes on ... what their history has been in the past, how well-presented their application was - if it's a group of people, did it all come through together, well-presented and easy for us to process?" the agent said.
The details of the previous two properties prospective tenants had lived at should also be listed, he said.
"Rental history makes it a lot easier because we can actually ring people and find out exactly what experience you had in the property before and how well you looked after it. It makes it easier if they've let them know we're going to call them."
Despite this, first-time renters or prospective home owners between homes shouldn't be disheartened, he said.
"For students ... we talk to the parents and other contacts to try and paint a picture of how we think they'd be looking after a home."
And while some people upped the ante by offering higher rent payments, more manageable promises such as maintaining the gardens could also help, he said. "It's tough. It's kind of like applying for a job."
5 Five tips for nailing your dream flat
• Prepare a "renting CV" to boost your chances.
• Include a cover email to introduce yourself and make the best impression.
• Note previous renting history, including contact for landlords and property details to aid the landlord in their vetting process.
• Make sure you provide details about each tenant, including your occupations and ages.
• List any extra services such as lawn mowing or gardening which tenants can offer to help seal the deal.