Landlords, property owners, or apartment managers may be requested to write a reference letter for a tenant who wants to secure an apartment or piece of property. They may also have policies that state that a reference letter must be provided as part of the background check into the tenant. Either way, they must clearly understand what a rental reference letter is and how it can be written.
A rental reference letter is a written declaration from a previous/current landlord or property owner to a tenant’s potential new landlord. It outlines the landlord’s experience with the tenant by highlighting if the individual is responsible, reliable, and financially stable. It also outlines if the tenant can adhere to the rental agreement terms.
This article will look into what it is, who can be a good and bad reference, and how to write it.
Important Points to Consider If You are a Requester
The requester should make a few considerations of a rental reference letter. These considerations are essential as they will help determine who to ask for writing the letter. The requester should consider the following:
Who to Select?
Tenants must carefully think through who they should request to write the letter. The individual selected should provide adequate information about their rental history. The following considerations should be made when thinking about who to select to draft the letter:
An individual’s previous landlord is a good option to ask whether or not the person is a good tenant. The tenants can select a landlord with whom they have an extended lease agreement or a landlord with whom a good relationship is shared. Individuals that live in large apartment communities may request property managers to write them a reference letter. To obtain a reference letter from a property manager, the tenant must first check with the management company’s lease office on rules and procedures regarding references.
A supervisor may also be selected to speak to an individual’s personal qualities and reassures that the potential tenant will keep an excellent job with a steady income. Finally, individuals can also request their colleagues write the rental reference letter. They can testify to an individual’s professionalism and accountability in a way that adds a personal touch to the reference letter.
Individuals should avoid asking their best friends as they may only be able to attest to a few essential elements like time management. Next, family members should be avoided as they are biased. The tenant should also avoid asking for reference letters from people whose opinions about them are difficult to determine.
Such individuals may be hard to read as they often act friendly and polite but will never disclose how they feel about the tenant. However, if the tenants have no choice, they should opt to send the letter themselves instead of having such individuals send it directly to the landlord. This will enable the tenant to go over the letter before it reaches the landlord.
There are also additional pre-considerations that the tenant should carefully think about. These pre-considerations are vital in facilitating an easy and quick writing process. They include the following:
Secure references earlier
Landlords or property owners often seek to fill vacant property or apartments fast. Therefore, all the tenant’s paperwork and references should be secured early. Making such preparations helps the tenant keep up with the fast pace of the landlord’s selection process, especially when it is peak season.
In case of short time, opt for contact information
If the individual selected to write the rental reference letter is short on time, the tenant may request their contact information. This information can be passed on to the landlord, who will quickly chat with the referee. It is faster and still enables the tenant to achieve the initial objective of obtaining a reference.
Secure good reference
Tenants with a bad credit score should work particularly hard to secure a good reference. The referee should be able to explain the tenant’s financial situation. The referee should highlight the tenant’s ability to be financially responsible and accountable, which will be enough to secure the property.
Note: If you are a writer:
The writer of the rental reference letter is responsible for drafting a compelling document. For this to be achieved, consideration of the components of the letter should be made.
Writing a Rental Reference Letter
The landlord should clearly understand what to say in the rental reference letter. It will help ensure that information about the tenant is appropriately conveyed. It will also ensure that the reference letter effectively meets the objective.
The following information should be included:
The header of the rental reference letter provides contextual information. It should only contain the information that the letter’s recipient needs to know from the onset. The following details should be outlined in the header:
The date when the letter was written should be indicated entirely. In addition, it should clearly outline the day, month, and year.
Name and address of the recipient
The header should indicate the recipient’s full name and address. The name helps identify who is meant to receive the letter. The address should contain the street name, city, state, and zip code.
The subject of the letter
The letter’s subject outlines the main focus of the letter. It should be concise and specific. The letter writer should use key phrases to write the subject of the rental reference letter.
The writer should indicate a formal greeting that addresses the landlord directly. The landlord’s name can be obtained from the tenant. If the name could not be found, generic greetings such as ‘To Whom it may concern’ can be used.
Next, a clear introduction should be written. It should include an introductory statement. The introductory statement should outline basic information regarding the previous rental agreement that the previous landlord had with the tenant. The details should include the name of the previous landlord and the tenant to help establish how the two are acquainted. The length of the lease and monthly rent paid should also be indicated to provide more context into the terms of the agreement.
The body of the rental reference letter should then go into further detail. The details provided will be used by the new landlord to determine if the individual recommended has the qualities of a good tenant.
The following information should be outlined in the body of the rental reference letter:
Tenant’s character explanation
The writer can use examples or anecdotes to explain the tenant’s character. The explanation should relate to an individual’s ability to be a good tenant. The writer can use one or two paragraphs to explain.
How did the tenant live?
The writer should also explain how the tenant lived by outlining whether the individual was a responsible tenant. Other details include if timely payments were made and whether or not the tenant adhered to the terms of the agreement should also be provided. These details help the potential new landlord decide whether the tenant is suitable.
Concluding the statement
Finally, the writer should indicate a brief concluding statement citing a clear recommendation for the tenant. The statement may be indicated in one or two lines. The writer should also ensure that the recommendation is straight to the point.
The conclusion of the letter indicates that it has come to an end. It contains basic information about the writer of the letter. The information contained in conclusion includes:
A formal sign-off phrase should be used to end the letter. For example, phrases such as ‘Sincerely’ or ‘Kind Regards’ can be used. A comma should be indicated at the end of the sign-off phrase.
The landlord/writer’s name should be indicated below the sign-off phrase. The name should be indicated in its entirety. The writer can have the name printed on the letter.
The writer’s signature should then be indicated. In a physical letter, a handwritten signature should be provided. It adds a personal touch to a typed letter.
The writer’s contact details should be the last to be indicated. The writer’s phone number and email must be mentioned. They enable the new landlord to contact the previous landlord for any questions or concerns.
Tip: When writing the rental reference letter, the writer should ensure that the letter’s 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 when references to these classes are made to complement the tenant. The writer should also consider checking local laws to avoid discriminating against additional protected classes listed by local authorities. A local lawyer can review the letter before sending it for extra precaution.
Rental Reference Letter
Here we have template and samples you can modify and use to write your rental reference letter:
[City, State, Zip code]
Subject: Rental 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 to be your tenant potentially. My name is [current landlord’s name], and I am [tenant’s name] current landlord.
[Tenant’s name] has been a tenant at my property for at least [ time frame]. The tenancy is due to end on [the end date of tenancy]. [Tenant’s name] is responsible and has taken good care of the property. Payments have been made on time which has made the interactions pleasant.
I highly recommend [name of the tenant]. [Tenant’s name] is reliable, honest, and would be a great fit as your new tenant. For any questions, feel free to contact me.
12 March, 20xx
678 Adams Street
New York, NY51626
Subject: Rental reference letter for Mathew White
Dear Mr. Green
I am writing on behalf of Mathew White to vouch for his credibility to be your tenant potentially. 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. The tenancy is due to end on April 3rd. Mathew is responsible and has taken good care of the property. Payments have been made on time which has made the interactions pleasant.
I highly recommend Mathew as he is reliable honest and would be a great fit as your new tenant. For any questions or clarifications, please feel free to contact me.
To whom it may concern,
I recommend John Mwangi who has been my tenant of property 2000 Kanu street as from 05/03/20xx upto date.
He has been paying rent on time and in case of any delays he would inform me in advance. He took good care of the property and he left it in good condition. He is a good person, with good behaviour. He relates well with other people. Although he had this problem of playing loud music. We talked about it and he rectified it.
I would rent him my property again and again if he would choose to stay. You can reach me through this number 0703999225 for any clarification.
Here we have collection of free rental reference sample letters, you can easily download and use from our site:
Some Tips for Formal Letter Writing
The writer of the rental reference letter should also consider other tips when drafting it. The tips will help increase the effectiveness of the letter. The following tips should be considered:
Brief and relevant
The letter should be concise. It should also contain information that is relevant to the landlord. A brief and relevant reference letter helps focus the letter on crucial details.
The writer of the reference letter must provide an honest view of the tenant while avoiding inaccurate statements that can present the individual in a negative light. The landlord can use proof to back up the statements indicated by using rent receipts or late rent notices attached to the reference letter. It helps make the letter reliable.
Must be professional
The letter’s tone should be professional and objective. The writer’s emotions about the tenant should not spill over to the page. Details should be expressed factually to maintain professionalism.
Must be structured
The rental reference letter should adhere to an appropriate formal structure. The structure helps ease the recipient’s ability to read the information highlighted in the letter. It will also help in communicating the information effectively.
Clear from errors
The reference letter should be clear of any typographical or grammatical errors. A third party may review the letter to help identify any errors the writer may have made. Once the letter has been reviewed, it can be sent to the new landlord.
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.