Rental Reference Letters (Landlord, Tenant) – Free Templates

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 it is, who should be selected to provide a reference, and how to write one.

Templates and Sample Letters

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 01

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 02

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 03

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 04

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 05

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 06

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 07

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 08

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 09

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 10

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 11

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 12

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 13

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 14

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 15

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 16

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 17

Free Rental Reference Letter Example 18

    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 to provide 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 it that serve as a reference for your good behavior as a tenant. 

    Suitable references

    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 have 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 it. 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.

    Unsuitable references

    You should not ask for it 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 it 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, promptly. 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 a Letter of 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 it 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 it. 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 

    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 cannot 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. This information will be used by the potential landlord to determine whether the individual is suitable as a tenant. 

    It 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 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 should then sign the letter. If it 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. 


    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 it is 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 it before sending it as an extra precaution.

    Rental Reference Letter


    [Your Full Name]

    [Your Address]

    [City, State, Zip Code]

    [Email Address]

    [Phone Number]


    [Landlord’s/Property Manager’s Name or “To Whom It May Concern,”]

    [Property Management Company/Individual Landlord’s Name, if applicable]

    [Their Address]

    [City, State, Zip Code]

    Subject: Rental Reference for [Tenant’s Full Name]

    Dear [Landlord’s/Property Manager’s Name or “To Whom It May Concern,”],

    I am writing to provide a rental reference for [Tenant’s Full Name], who has been a tenant at [Property Address] from [Start Date] to [End Date]. During this period, I have known [Tenant’s Name] as [his/her/their] [your relationship to the tenant, e.g., landlord, property manager].

    Throughout the tenancy, [Tenant’s Name] consistently demonstrated responsibility and reliability in fulfilling the rental agreement’s terms. Below are key aspects of [Tenant’s Name]’s tenancy:

    • Timeliness in Rent Payments: [Tenant’s Name] consistently paid rent on time without any instances of delay, reflecting [his/her/their] financial responsibility and reliability.
    • Property Maintenance: [Tenant’s Name] maintained the property in excellent condition, regularly performing cleaning and upkeep tasks. Any maintenance issues were promptly reported, allowing for swift resolution.
    • Compliance with Lease Terms: Throughout the lease term, [Tenant’s Name] adhered to all conditions stipulated in the rental agreement, including [any specific terms they excelled in, e.g., noise policies, pet policies].
    • Interactions with Neighbors and Staff: [Tenant’s Name] was respectful and courteous to neighbors and property staff, contributing positively to the community environment.

    Based on my experience, I highly recommend [Tenant’s Name] as a tenant. [He/She/They] have proven to be a dependable and respectful individual(s), and I am confident that [Tenant’s Name] will be an asset to any rental property.

    Should you require further information or wish to discuss this reference in more detail, please feel free to contact me at [Your Phone Number] or [Your Email Address].


    [Your Full Name]

    [Your Signature, if sending a hard copy]

    Sample 01

    To Whom It May Concern,

    Subject: Rental Reference for Emily Johnson

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am writing to provide a rental reference for Emily Johnson, who has been a tenant at 456 Oak Avenue, Anytown, from January 1, 20XX, to December 31, 20XX. During this period, I have known Emily as her landlord.

    Throughout her tenancy, Emily consistently demonstrated responsibility and reliability in fulfilling the terms of our rental agreement. Below are key aspects of Emily’s tenancy:

    • Timeliness in Rent Payments: Emily consistently paid rent on time each month, reflecting her financial responsibility and reliability.
    • Property Maintenance: Emily maintained the apartment in excellent condition, showing care and diligence in her living space. She reported maintenance issues in a timely manner, which allowed for quick and efficient resolutions.
    • Compliance with Lease Terms: Emily adhered strictly to all conditions of the rental agreement, including our no-pets policy and noise level guidelines.

    Interactions with Neighbors and Staff: Emily was always respectful and courteous to her neighbors and our maintenance staff, contributing to a positive and friendly community environment.

    Based on my experience, I highly recommend Emily Johnson as a tenant. She has proven to be a dependable and respectful individual, and I am confident that Emily will be an asset to any rental property.

    Should you require further information or wish to discuss this reference in more detail, please feel free to contact me at 555-678-9100 or


    John Doe

    Sample 02

    To Whom It May Concern,

    Reference for Mia Thompson

    I am writing this letter to wholeheartedly recommend Mia Thompson as a prospective tenant. My name is Elizabeth Johnson, and I had the pleasure of being Mia’s landlord from July 1, 20XX, to June 30, 20XX, at the residence located at 789 Oceanview Drive, Seaside Town, CA.

    Throughout her tenancy, Mia demonstrated exceptional financial responsibility. She consistently paid her rent in full, on or before the due date, without a single instance of delay throughout the two years of her lease.

    Mia treated the apartment with the utmost respect and care. She maintained the property in pristine condition, adhering to all maintenance guidelines provided at the start of her lease. Regular inspections revealed that Mia took proactive steps to ensure the apartment remained in excellent condition, including timely reporting of any maintenance issues, which were few and far between.

    Mia’s conduct as a tenant was exemplary. She was respectful and courteous to her neighbors and played an active role in fostering a friendly community atmosphere. Throughout her stay, there were no complaints from other residents; instead, many appreciated her positive demeanor and considerate nature.

    Mia complied fully with the terms of her lease agreement. She followed all property rules and regulations without exception, from noise guidelines to the proper use of community amenities. Her adherence to the lease terms contributed to a seamless and positive relationship between us.

    Based on my direct experience with Mia as a tenant, I can confidently say she is trustworthy, reliable, and a model tenant. I have no reservations about recommending her to any future landlord or property manager, as I am certain she will be an asset as a tenant in any residence.

    Should you require any additional information or wish to discuss Mia’s tenancy in further detail, please do not hesitate to contact me at (555) 987-6543 or via email at

    Warm regards,

    Elizabeth Johnson

    Former Landlord

    March 4, 20XX

    789 Oceanview Drive, Seaside Town, CA

    Key Takeaways

    These sample rental reference letters are effective and useful for several reasons:

    Clear Structure: Both letters follow a clear and organized structure, beginning with an introduction, followed by detailed information about the tenant’s behavior and characteristics, and concluding with a recommendation.

    Specific Details: Each letter provides specific examples and details about the tenant’s conduct, including rent payment history, property maintenance, compliance with lease terms, and interactions with neighbors and staff. These specifics enhance credibility and provide a comprehensive picture of the tenant’s behavior.

    Positive Tone: The tone of both letters is positive and supportive, highlighting the tenant’s strengths and positive attributes. This tone helps to create a favorable impression of the tenant and instills confidence in their suitability as a tenant.

    Personalized Touch: Each letter is personalized to reflect the individual experiences of the landlord with the tenant. This personalization adds authenticity and credibility to the recommendation.

    Contact Information: Both letters include contact information for the landlord, allowing the recipient to follow up for further information or clarification if needed. This demonstrates transparency and accessibility.

    Overall, these letters effectively convey the tenant’s suitability and reliability, making them valuable samples for landlords or property managers seeking to provide rental references.

    Some Tips to Follow

    Be brief and focused

    Ensure that your 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 them can enhance their 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 its content. Factually present the details to ensure a professional approach.

    Follow a structured format

    Adhere to an appropriate formal structure while writing it. 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 it 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.


    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 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 reference letter for rental provides a landlord with a third-party perspective on whether an individual would make a good tenant. The tenant can request that individuals like the previous landlord, a supervisor, or a colleague write it. It 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 letter should consider using the template given above to help ease the writing process.

    About This Article

    Terry M. Keller
    Authored by:
    Legal Contract Writing for Real Estate, Real Estate Law Specialist
    Terry M. Keller, Principal and Managing Attorney at Keller Law Offices, is a distinguished expert in real estate law. With foundational experience at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tennessee, he founded his firm in Nashville and Chicago, rapidly carving a niche in legal contract writing and real estate legalities. Terry excels in drafting comprehensive real estate contracts and guiding clients through intricate transactions and disputes. His analytical skills, combined with adept negotiation tactics, make him a trusted advisor for a spectrum of real estate stakeholders. Recognized in renowned legal circles, Terry's dedication to client success and legal precision solidifies his reputation as a leading real estate law authority.

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