More and more rental applications are asking for a landlord reference letter, in addition to the typical documentation collected. A reference letter from a former landlord can give a prospective landlord a little more insight into how an applicant treats rental properties from a firsthand source, in addition to the information determined from auto-tenant screening and tenant prequalification.

So, if a former tenant reaches out to you and asks for a recommendation or reference letter, it’s important to consider how landlords are using the reference letter to determine whether your former renter will be a quality tenant for them. 

Even though writing a reference letter for a former tenant seems deceptively simple, it can be daunting to know where to start. To help cover the basics of a tenant recommendation letter, we’ve provided a handy template below that features a checklist of typical tenant behaviors prospective landlords might be looking for in their prospective tenants. 

Simply copy and paste the reference letter template into a doc or email and edit to suit your needs!

Reference Letter Template

DATE:

TENANT NAME:

To Whom It May Concern:

[TENANT NAME] was my tenant from [DATE] to [DATE] and rented my property at [RENTAL UNIT ADDRESS]. While they lived in my rental, they:

(check all that apply)

  • Consistently paid rent on time
  • Took good care of the property
  • Responded promptly to any communication I sent
  • Were cordial and polite
  • Had no issues with neighbors
  • Cleaned up after their pet
  • Alerted me immediately of any maintenance issues

Overall, [TENANT NAME] was a clean and respectful tenant, and I would rent to them again. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me using the contact info below.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

[YOUR EMAIL]

[YOUR PHONE NUMBER]

Importantly, remember to be simple, straightforward, and honest in your reference letter. Put yourself in this landlord’s shoes: Would you want a long reference letter to read or an untruthful recommendation? Of course not. 

How to write a reference letter gif: woman shaking her head no and wagging her finger

Additionally, be sure to keep it professional and do not disclose any information outside of the tenant’s rental history with your property because revealing personal information could land you in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Finally, if you’re a landlord who is checking a landlord reference letter, be sure to cross-reference all the information provided in the letter. If you choose to follow up with the landlord, prepare your questions in advance. You can also Google the landlord’s name and double-check contact info to verify the authenticity of the landlord as well!