It can be hard to find good renters to fill your vacancies. Of all the screening methods available—prequalifications, applications, and background checks—there’s another option potentially available to landlords: landlord reference letters.

When it comes to finding the perfect renter for your property, you want to take all the steps and precautions necessary. And recommendation letters from a tenant’s previous landlords can provide genuine and holistic insight into what type of renter your applicant is. 

But, you might also have questions about the best way to go about getting or asking for a landlord reference letter. Below, we’ve answered commonly asked questions to help make the process a little easier for landlords & tenants!

What is a landlord reference letter?

A landlord reference letter is from a previous landlord to another landlord with information about a particular tenant. This recommendation letter provides information about the renter’s previous tenancy and usually includes information

How to get a landlord reference letter?

The only way to get a landlord reference letter is to ask your previous landlord! Reach out to them via the contact information they provided you with during your tenancy and politely request a recommendation letter. 

If you let your residency on good terms, asking your landlord for a reference letter could be a good way to show your potential landlord that you are a reliable and responsible tenant.

Additionally, if your potential landlord requests a reference letter, make sure to let your previous landlord any necessary contact information so they are able to pass along your recommendation.

What does a landlord reference letter look like?

Ask your potential new landlord what format they want the landlord reference letter to come in:

  • Physical paper
  • Electronically signed document
  • Email
  • PDF
  • Phone call

This will determine what a landlord reference letter looks like for you. Traditionally, landlord recommendations come in paper form with a signature from your previous landlord, but with today’s technology, many other forms (such as email or electronically signed documents) are becoming more common.

How to write a landlord reference letter?

Writing a landlord reference letter is no easy undertaking. It can be daunting to know where to start, what to include about your previous renter, and how to format the overall information.

However, we’ve got a solution for you!

Landlord Reference Letter Template

For an example of what to include a tenant recommendation letter, check out this landlord reference letter template here. 

Importantly, ensure you’re keeping in mind the Fair Housing Act and do not enclose personal information that would violate the HUD’s discriminatory act. Stick to providing information that strictly involves your previous renter’s tenancy.

Conclusion

For previous landlords, helping previous tenants find new housing with a landlord reference letter can be a nice gesture—especially if your former renter followed your lease specifications, paid rent on time, and took good care of your property. It’s even more so of a nice gesture on behalf of the potential landlord, especially if you yourself consider how beneficial you find a landlord reference letter.

For potential landlords, prescreening, getting applications, and requesting tenant screenings can do a lot to narrow down which renter you’ll choose for your unit. However, tenant recommendation letters can be a beneficial way to get further insight into how a tenancy will be with a certain applicant. Additionally, be sure to check landlord references as well.

For tenants, securing a reference letter from a previous landlord (even proactively) can help set you apart from other applicants and show your potential landlord how serious you are about obtaining the residence & how good of a renter you are!