A document from a previous landlord that contains important information about the tenant and is addressed to a potential landlord is called a reference letter for a rental agreement. It is also called a “recommendation letter” from a landlord.
The purpose of such a document is to assure the potential landlord that the tenant was punctual with the payment of rent and adhered to the rental agreement with the previous landlord. Sometimes, such letters are part of the background check requirements for any new tenant. These letters are especially useful for tenants who might have a poor credit rating and need proof of their financial ability to pay the required rent amount.
This article will explain what this letter is, who should be selected to provide a reference, and how to write one.
Templates and Sample Letters
What Information Should be Mentioned in Letter of Reference from Landlord?
A letter that serves as a reference to a tenant’s rental history should be comprehensive and contain the following information:
- The exact amount of the monthly rent
- The precise duration of the rental period
- Any late payment occurrences
- Any violations of the rental agreement
- Information on the tenant’s general conduct and habits regarding cleanliness and maintenance of premises
Who Should You Choose As a Reference
There are some important factors to remember when you need a letter that provides a reference for your good conduct as a tenant. Since this document is important in determining if the potential landlord will rent their property to you, you must ensure that it is effective in supporting your request to rent a property.
You must carefully choose who you ask to provide a reference for rental history. We provide some helpful tips to remember when requesting a letter that serves as a reference for your good behavior as a tenant.
Your previous landlords are an obvious choice to request such a letter. However, it is a good idea to choose the one with whom you had an extended rental contract and a good relationship.
Sometimes, people rent housing in large apartment communities owned by housing companies. In this situation, you can ask the property managers for such a letter. However, you must be aware of the rules and procedures of the housing company regarding such reference requests.
Finally, you can also request that your colleagues write such a letter. Professional contacts, such as current co-workers and past employers, can confirm your employment history and reliability. If you have not rented before, you can ask friends and family for a letter as well.
You should not ask for a letter of reference from the landlord with whom you had a short tenancy agreement, as they cannot provide comprehensive insights about you as a tenant.
Things to Remember
A reference letter about your rental history is an important document, so you must ensure that it supports your rental application effectively.
You must consider the following when requesting a recommendation letter from a previous landlord or property manager:
Secure references on time
Rental properties are quickly occupied, so if you have selected a property that you would like to rent, you must arrange all necessary paperwork, including a letter of reference, in a timely manner. It is possible that the previous landlord or manager would not provide you with one instantly; therefore, contact them as soon as possible to allow them ample time to provide a proper letter on time.
However, if you do not have much time, you can request their contact information and include that with your rental application. The potential landlord can then contact them personally to verify your details.
Obtain a favorable reference
If you have a poor credit score, then a letter from your previous landlord about your rental history would be crucial for you. Therefore, you must choose someone who can particularly attest to your financial responsibility and timely rent payments. A good letter would be a useful testimony to overcome the limitations of having a poor credit score.
Components of Letter providing Reference
A letter providing a reference about a tenant’s rental history follows the same format as a formal business letter. It is a comprehensive document that is addressed to a potential landlord.
The following are the essential components of this document:
The date the letter was written should be specified completely. It should be in the format of day, month, and year.
Name and address of the recipient
The recipient’s full name and address should be provided next. The name helps identify who is meant to receive the letter. The address should contain the street name, city, state, and zip code. If the recipient is not known, the letter may begin with a “To whom it may concern” statement.
The subject outlines the main focus of the letter. It should be concise and specific. It should mention the name of the tenant for whom the letter is being written.
The writer should indicate a formal greeting that addresses the potential landlord directly. If the name could not be found, generic greetings such as ‘To Whom it may concern’ can be used.
The introduction provides the context for the letter and should include basic details such as the name of the landlord and the duration of the tenancy. Besides providing the exact dates of the tenancy period, the monthly rent should also be mentioned in this section.
The rental history should be provided in the body of the letter of reference. This information will be used by the potential landlord to determine whether the individual is suitable as a tenant.
The body of the reference letter should contain the following information:
- Tenant’s personality: The writer can use examples or anecdotes to explain the tenant’s personality. The explanation should relate to an individual’s ability to be a good tenant. The writer can use one or two sentences to explain this.
- Information related to adherence to the rental agreement: All information related to the adherence to the rental agreement is the crux of the reference letter. Therefore, the letter should accurately highlight whether the individual was a responsible tenant. Details about rent payments and adherence to the other terms of the agreement should therefore be clearly mentioned in the body of the letter.
- Explicit recommendation: Finally, a brief concluding statement citing a clear recommendation for the tenant should be provided. The statement may be indicated in one or two sentences. The recommendation should be written clearly and in a positive tone.
- Conclusion: The concluding section of the letter provides the following information:
- Sign-off: A formal sign-off phrase should be used to end the letter. For example, phrases such as ‘Sincerely’ or ‘Kind Regards’ may be used. A comma should be placed at the end of the sign-off phrase.
- The writer’s name: The previous landlord’s or the writer’s full legal name should be written below the sign-off phrase.
- Signature: The previous landlord or the writer of the letter should then sign the letter. If the letter is a hard copy, it should be signed by hand.
- Contact information: The previous landlord or the writer should include complete contact details at the end of the letter of reference. Phone number and email address can also be included here.
Tip: When writing a letter to provide a reference for someone’s rental history, the writer should ensure that the content does not discriminate against the tenant’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, family status, disability, or any other protected classes indicated in the fair housing laws. Such discrimination will be considered a violation of the fair housing law even if they are used to favor the tenant. The writer should also consider checking local laws to avoid discriminating against additional protected classes listed by local authorities. A lawyer can review the letter before sending it as an extra precaution.
Rental Reference Letter
Template and sample of rental reference letter are given below:
[City, State, Zip code]
Subject: Reference letter for [Tenant’s name]
Dear [The landlord or property owner’s last name]/To Whom It May Concern
I am writing on behalf of [tenant’s name] to vouch for their credibility as your potential new tenant. My name is [current landlord’s name], and I am [tenant’s name]’s current landlord.
[Tenant’s name] has been a tenant at my property for at least [time frame], and the rent has been [the rent amount in dollars]. The tenancy is due to end on [the end date of the tenancy]. [Tenant’s name] is a responsible person and has taken good care of the property. Rent payments have been made on time, which has made the interactions pleasant.
I highly recommend [name of the tenant] as a tenant. [Tenant’s name] is reliable and honest, and you would find him to be a pleasant and trustworthy new tenant. Feel free to contact me for any further assurances.
12 March, 20xx
678 Adams Street
New York, NY51626
Subject: reference letter for Mathew White
Dear Mr. Green,
I am writing on behalf of Mathew White to vouch for his credibility to potentially be your tenant. My name is Jane Smith, and I am Mathew’s current landlord.
Mathew has been a tenant at my property for at least ten years, and the rent amount has been $950 per month. The tenancy is due to end on April 3. Mathew is a responsible person and has taken good care of the property. Rent payments have always been made on time, which has made the interactions pleasant. He has kept the premises clean and
I highly recommend Mathew as a tenant, as he is reliable, honest, and has always adhered to the terms of the rental agreement. For any questions or clarifications, please feel free to contact me.
To whom it may concern,
I highly recommend John Mwangi as a potential tenant. He has been my tenant at 2000 Kanu Street since March 5, 2000. The monthly rent for the property is $300.
He has been paying rent on time, and in the rare instances of any delays, he has always informed me in advance. He took good care of the property and always kept it very clean. He is a good person and is always polite. He is friendly and able to adjust well with others.
Once, we had a problem with him playing loud music. However, we never faced the problem again once we discussed it.
I would gladly rent him my property again if he chose to stay. You can reach me at this number, 0703999225, for any clarifications.
Some Tips to Follow
Be brief and focused
Ensure that your rental reference letter is concise and includes only relevant information for the landlord. By keeping it brief and focused, you can effectively highlight the essential details.
Provide an honest assessment:
It is crucial to present an honest and accurate portrayal of the tenant in your reference letter. Avoid making any false statements or negative remarks that may misrepresent the individual. Supporting your statements with evidence such as rent receipts or late rent notices attached to the letter can enhance its reliability.
Maintain a professional tone:
Maintain a professional and objective tone throughout the letter. It is important to separate your personal emotions towards the tenant from the content of the letter. Present the details in a factual manner to ensure a professional approach.
Follow a structured format:
Adhere to an appropriate formal structure while writing the rental reference letter. A well-structured letter makes it easier for the recipient to navigate and comprehend the information effectively. This will facilitate clear communication of the tenant’s qualifications and attributes.
Ensure clarity and accuracy:
Thoroughly review the reference letter to eliminate any typographical or grammatical errors. Consider seeking assistance from a third party to identify any mistakes that may have been overlooked. Once the letter has been carefully reviewed, it can be sent to the new landlord, confident in its clarity and accuracy.
Tip: The previous landlord can decline the tenant’s request to write the reference letter, especially if the relationship with the individual was negative. Though maintaining honesty in the rental reference letter is critical, the writer should keep in mind that the letter’s purpose is to persuade the new landlord to consider the tenant. A landlord with significant experience with the tenant is more likely to write a compelling and convincing letter.
A rental reference letter provides a landlord with a third-party perspective on whether an individual would make a good tenant. The tenant can request individuals like the previous landlord, a supervisor, or a colleague write the reference letter. The rental reference letter should provide information on the tenant’s character and recommend whether the tenant should be considered. It should also contain brief and honest information to help the potential new landlord decide. The individual writing the reference letter should consider using the template given above to help ease the writing process.