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If you are a landlord, the chances are good that a former tenant will ask you at some point for a reference letter. Your letter will help them qualify for a lease agreement at another property.

A reference letter helps a landlord determine whether a tenant will pay their full rent on time and follow the terms of their lease. Perhaps you already require a reference letter from your tenants’ previous landlords.

Even though these letters can be straightforward to write, it can be challenging to know what to include. This article will provide the information you need to write a landlord reference letter and offer samples you can adjust to suit your specific needs.

What is a Landlord Recommendation Letter?

A landlord reference letter is a written document sent from one landlord to another landlord that shares their experience renting to a certain tenant. The purpose of the letter is to give the prospective landlord details on the landlord-tenant relationship you had with the applicant.

A landlord consults this letter as part of a thorough background check to make sure a tenant is reliable.

Why Tenants Request a Landlord Reference Letter

A former tenant will request a reference letter to include with their rental application. A positive reference can help their application stand out. It assures the landlord that the tenant has a record of paying their rent on time and respecting the home and property where they once lived.

Sometimes a former tenant includes the reference letter without being asked by the new landlord. And other times, the new landlord requires the document as part of the rental application process. Each state has its own landlord tenant laws, with rules that determine what is needed in terms of how to conduct a tenant screening and what is required in a rental application.

What to Include in a Landlord Reference Letter

A landlord reference letter should convey in simple terms whether or not a tenant was a reliable renter or not. It should offer specific information that backs up this point.

The letter does not need to be long or drawn out, and you do not need to include personal details about you or the tenant in question. The key information you need to include are:

  • The date of your letter
  • Your name, physical address, email address, and phone number
  • A greeting using the recipient’s name If you have it or a generic greeting (such as To Whom It May Concern)
  • The address of the rental property
  • The dates of the previous tenant’s lease
  • A description of the tenant’s rent payment history, mentioning any late payments
  • Information about any lease violations
  • Details on how the tenant maintained the property
  • Any negative or positive pet experiences
  • A closing statement that includes whether or not you would rent to this tenant again
  • Your signature

How to Write a Reference for a Tenant

A friendly but professional tone is an essential component of a tenant recommendation letter.

Here are additional guidelines to keep in mind as you write a landlord reference letter:

1. Simple and clear information

Do not include information that is unnecessary, such as whether or not you are friends with the individual.

Also, be careful not to include information that could reflect any personal bias for or against the individual. To do so might be in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Keep in mind that the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination because of race, religion, color, national origin, familial status, sex, or disability.

Relevant information includes the following:

  • Did the tenant pay their rent in full and on time?
  • Did they follow the rules and policies of the lease?
  • Did they maintain the property?
  • If they had a pet, did the animal violate any part of the lease agreement?

2. Be honest

Be as clear and accurate as you can in this document. Be sure to back up any statements with documentation, such as rent receipts or copies of late rent notices.

3. Use a letter template

You do not need to reinvent the wheel each time you write a landlord recommendation letter. If you manage a large property, you could save a lot of time by using a basic template.

You can copy and paste the body of the letter, filling in the blanks with the appropriate details and descriptions for each former tenant.

4. Proofread the letter

We all can make mistakes when we type, so it is important to review your letter for any typos. Check to make sure you have the names spelled correctly and the right dates.

If you are using a template, double-check that you have filled in all the blanks and have not inadvertently left in any information from a previous letter.

Landlord Reference Letter Samples

Sometimes reading over a few samples can be the best way to learn how to write a formal letter. Here are a few examples of landlord recommendation letters.

Landlord reference letter sample

Sample 1

[Date of letter]

To whom it may concern:

I’m providing this reference letter on behalf of [name], a former tenant of my property at [address] from [start date] to [end date].

[Tenant Name] was responsible in their rent payments at first but then fell behind on two months’ payments. I eventually received them, but I had to send late notices on both occasions. I received no complaints from neighbors, and no other lease terms were violated before they moved out.

However, [Tenant Name] did not leave the apartment in good condition. There was food and food-related trash left in each room as well as in the unplugged refrigerator. I also found two large holes in the living room wall.

Because of these issues, I would be hesitant to rent to this tenant again. Please contact me if you have any further questions.

Sincerely,

[Your Signature]

[Your Printed Name]

[Street Address]

[City, State, Zip Code]

Sample 2

To whom it may concern:

This letter of reference is on behalf of [Tenant Name] at [Property Address] from [start date] to [end date]. They had a [Type of Pet] living with them named [Pet Name] during this time.

[Tenant Name] was timely in their rent payments. They did not violate any terms of the lease, and they left the rental unit in clean condition upon moving out. We refunded their security deposit in full.

I would be happy to rent to [Tenant Name] again. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Sincerely,

[Your Signature]

[Your Printed Name]

[Street Address]

[City, State, Zip Code]

As you can see from these examples, a landlord’s recommendation should be brief and to the point. As you write the letter, think about the information you would want to know as a prospective landlord when you consider a rental application. Your honesty and professionalism help another landlord find a responsible and reliable tenant.

If you are a landlord, the chances are good that a former tenant will ask you at some point for a reference letter. Your letter will help them qualify for a lease agreement at another property.

A reference letter helps a landlord determine whether a tenant will pay their full rent on time and follow the terms of their lease. Perhaps you already require a reference letter from your tenants’ previous landlords.

Even though these letters can be straightforward to write, it can be challenging to know what to include. This article will provide the information you need to write a landlord reference letter and offer samples you can adjust to suit your specific needs.

What is a Landlord Recommendation Letter?

A landlord reference letter is a written document sent from one landlord to another landlord that shares their experience renting to a certain tenant. The purpose of the letter is to give the prospective landlord details on the landlord-tenant relationship you had with the applicant.

A landlord consults this letter as part of a thorough background check to make sure a tenant is reliable.

Why Tenants Request a Landlord Reference Letter

A former tenant will request a reference letter to include with their rental application. A positive reference can help their application stand out. It assures the landlord that the tenant has a record of paying their rent on time and respecting the home and property where they once lived.

Sometimes a former tenant includes the reference letter without being asked by the new landlord. And other times, the new landlord requires the document as part of the rental application process. Each state has its own landlord tenant laws, with rules that determine what is needed in terms of how to conduct a tenant screening and what is required in a rental application.

What to Include in a Landlord Reference Letter

A landlord reference letter should convey in simple terms whether or not a tenant was a reliable renter or not. It should offer specific information that backs up this point.

The letter does not need to be long or drawn out, and you do not need to include personal details about you or the tenant in question. The key information you need to include are:

  • The date of your letter
  • Your name, physical address, email address, and phone number
  • A greeting using the recipient’s name If you have it or a generic greeting (such as To Whom It May Concern)
  • The address of the rental property
  • The dates of the previous tenant’s lease
  • A description of the tenant’s rent payment history, mentioning any late payments
  • Information about any lease violations
  • Details on how the tenant maintained the property
  • Any negative or positive pet experiences
  • A closing statement that includes whether or not you would rent to this tenant again
  • Your signature

How to Write a Reference for a Tenant

A friendly but professional tone is an essential component of a tenant recommendation letter.

Here are additional guidelines to keep in mind as you write a landlord reference letter:

1. Simple and clear information

Do not include information that is unnecessary, such as whether or not you are friends with the individual.

Also, be careful not to include information that could reflect any personal bias for or against the individual. To do so might be in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Keep in mind that the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination because of race, religion, color, national origin, familial status, sex, or disability.

Relevant information includes the following:

  • Did the tenant pay their rent in full and on time?
  • Did they follow the rules and policies of the lease?
  • Did they maintain the property?
  • If they had a pet, did the animal violate any part of the lease agreement?

2. Be honest

Be as clear and accurate as you can in this document. Be sure to back up any statements with documentation, such as rent receipts or copies of late rent notices.

3. Use a letter template

You do not need to reinvent the wheel each time you write a landlord recommendation letter. If you manage a large property, you could save a lot of time by using a basic template.

You can copy and paste the body of the letter, filling in the blanks with the appropriate details and descriptions for each former tenant.

4. Proofread the letter

We all can make mistakes when we type, so it is important to review your letter for any typos. Check to make sure you have the names spelled correctly and the right dates.

If you are using a template, double-check that you have filled in all the blanks and have not inadvertently left in any information from a previous letter.

Landlord Reference Letter Samples

Sometimes reading over a few samples can be the best way to learn how to write a formal letter. Here are a few examples of landlord recommendation letters.

Landlord reference letter sample

Sample 1

[Date of letter]

To whom it may concern:

I’m providing this reference letter on behalf of [name], a former tenant of my property at [address] from [start date] to [end date].

[Tenant Name] was responsible in their rent payments at first but then fell behind on two months’ payments. I eventually received them, but I had to send late notices on both occasions. I received no complaints from neighbors, and no other lease terms were violated before they moved out.

However, [Tenant Name] did not leave the apartment in good condition. There was food and food-related trash left in each room as well as in the unplugged refrigerator. I also found two large holes in the living room wall.

Because of these issues, I would be hesitant to rent to this tenant again. Please contact me if you have any further questions.

Sincerely,

[Your Signature]

[Your Printed Name]

[Street Address]

[City, State, Zip Code]

Sample 2

To whom it may concern:

This letter of reference is on behalf of [Tenant Name] at [Property Address] from [start date] to [end date]. They had a [Type of Pet] living with them named [Pet Name] during this time.

[Tenant Name] was timely in their rent payments. They did not violate any terms of the lease, and they left the rental unit in clean condition upon moving out. We refunded their security deposit in full.

I would be happy to rent to [Tenant Name] again. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Sincerely,

[Your Signature]

[Your Printed Name]

[Street Address]

[City, State, Zip Code]

As you can see from these examples, a landlord’s recommendation should be brief and to the point. As you write the letter, think about the information you would want to know as a prospective landlord when you consider a rental application. Your honesty and professionalism help another landlord find a responsible and reliable tenant.