As a landlord or a roommate or a property manager, you share a relationship with your tenant or the room partner, whether good or not-so-good. Often, the tenants might request a rental reference letter from you that they will furnish to the prospective landlord. With you as the verifier or recommending person, this letter might help them get a new apartment or property on rent without any hassle.

Rental Reference Letters

What to include?

A rental reference letter comes from a landlord and it contains information about the tenant. This letter has different purposes including:

  • Tenants use it when they intend to rent a space in a new location.
  • Tenants use it for employment purposes as part of their requirements.
  • Creditors require it when tenants apply for loans.

Generally, a formal rental or landlord reference letter must contain the following elements:

  • The date when you wrote the letter.
  • The name of the person to whom you’re addressing the letter.
  • The complete name of the tenant.
  • The address of the property you’re renting out.
  • The inclusive dates when the tenant rented your property.
  • Details about how your tenant paid their rent to you. Specify whether the tenant made payments on time or not. In case of late payments, specify if the tenant had any good reasons for paying late.
  • Details about the condition of your rental property. Indicate whether the tenant cared for the property and if they left the property in good condition.
  • Details about how the tenant behaved throughout the time they spent on your property. Was the tenant a good person? What kind of relationship did the tenant have with their neighbors? Would you rent your property to the same tenant again in the future?
  • Your contact details as the landlord. This is very important should the recipient want to ask for more information.

Landlord Reference Letters

Who should write the letter?

A tenant can significantly increase their chance of getting a great rental unit after spending months searching for it. If you want to help them out, you can provide a rental reference letter. Of course, you as the current landlord aren’t the only person who can provide a rental recommendation letter. Other options are:

  • Previous landlords
    The best way for a potential landlord to find out if the tenant is a good one is to ask the person they have rented from in the past. If one of your tenants still rents your property but they request this letter form you so that they can move to a new place in the future, then you can compose the letter for them.
  • Property managers
    Property managers can also speak about a tenant’s prior experiences as a renter, shed light on their level of responsibility, and attest to their good points.
  • Supervisors
    Although an employer isn’t the best person to share about a tenant’s financial responsibilities or rental history, they can vouch for the tenant’s personal qualities.
  • Colleagues
    Requesting colleagues for personal references may suffice too, more especially so for tenants who aren’t on good terms with their supervisors. Colleagues can freely talk about the tenant’s accountability and professionalism with a personal touch.

What should a landlord reference say?

As a landlord, you would expect and appreciate a thorough and honest rental reference letter on potential tenants. But if you’re a former landlord, will you extend the same courtesy to the new landlord of your former tenants?

You should. If one of your tenants requests a landlord reference letter, provide the required information succinctly and honestly. Here are some tips to do this:

  • Start with the salutation and date
    The salutation you write should be something like, “To Whom It May Concern.”
  • Include information about the tenancy
    Include the complete name of the tenant, the address of the rented property, and the occupancy dates.
  • Share payment details
    Indicate whether the tenant made payments late or on time. Share incidents where issues arose because of payments and how you resolved these.
  • Reveal the condition of the rented property
    Indicate how the tenant the condition of the property when the tenant left. Did the tenant leave the property in good condition or were there any damages?
  • Give details about the tenant’s behavior
    Did you or the neighbors have a hard time dealing with the tenant? Were there instances where you had to call the police for any reason?
  • Give a summary of your relationship with the tenant
    In a few sentences, give your thoughts on how you feel about renting your property to the same tenant.
  • Give your contact details
    This is an informal invitation to reach out to you if the reader needs any clarification.

The letter must only state facts related to the tenancy. You shouldn’t adulterate it with personal feelings or opinions. It’s not a good practice to discuss personal information about the tenant that isn’t related to the tenancy.

At its best, you should base this letter on facts accompanied by a brief endorsement. Based on the information contained in the letter, the new landlord will have the opportunity to assess all of the facts. Then, they can decide whether to rent their property to your former tenant or not.

Tenant Reference Letters

How do you write a reference letter for a rental?

A rental reference letter should be both brief and direct to the point. As long as the letter contains the required information, the rest of the letter can briefly talk about the tenant’s trustworthiness. When making a tenant reference letter for a rental, include the following:

  • Introduction
    The letter should begin with a formal salutation. If you personally know the recipient, then you should write their name.
    This paragraph should include your name as the previous landlord name, the name of the tenant, the duration of their occupancy, the rent they paid each month, and if applicable, any payment violations that you had to deal with during the duration of the tenancy.
  • Body paragraphs
    Since the introduction already contains all of the required rental information, this section contains relevant information about the tenant’s behavior during the occupancy to help the new landlord with their decision.
  • Conclusion
    Usually, this consists of a brief statement – a sentence or two. This last part contains your recommendation as the former landlord. After this is your formal sign-off, date, signature, and contact details.