7 Tips for Writing a Rental Reference Letter

A tenant may ask you to write a rental reference letter in order to help him rent another place down the road. Writing a rental reference letter doesn’t take much time, but some landlords may get confused about what to say.
As a landlord, you appreciate an honest and thorough rental reference on prospective tenants, but are you extending the same professional courtesy to your former tenant’s new landlord? When a tenant requests a rental reference letter, deliver the information honestly and succinctly.
Writing a rental reference letter doesn’t have to take a long time, especially if you have your tenant’s file in front of you for reference.

7 steps to writing a landlord reference letter:

#1 Put the date at the top of the letter:

Address the letter “To whom it may concern.”

#2 Provide the tenancy information:

Include the tenant’s full name, the address of the rental property and the dates of occupancy.

#3 Share whether or not the tenant paid rent on time:

Also share if there were any instances of late rent, you can note how the issue was resolved.

#4 Reveal the care and condition of the property :

Were there any damages that occured during the tenants tenure or did they leave the property in great shape?

#5 Give information about the tenant’s behavior:

Did they give the landlord or any other tenants/neighbors a difficult time. Were the cops called to the rental for any reason?

#6 Summarize the landlord/tenant relationship:

Simply state if you would rent to the tenant again or not. You can provide further context but keeping this brief is best.

#7 Provide your contact information

Invited the reader to reach out to you if they need any clarification.
A landlord reference letter should only relate the facts as they relate to the tenancy—never about personal feelings.
You should never go overboard in revealing any personal information about the tenant either, such as gossip or stereotypes. The reference letter should be factual and end with a simple endorsement. When the future landlord has the chance to evaluate all the facts, he or she can make the call on whether to rent to the tenant or not.

Landlord Reference Letter Sample

Sometimes it’s easiest to see what a rental reference letter should include by an example.
July 15, 2011
To whom it may concern,
I’ve been asked to write a rental reference letter on behalf of James Kitts, who rented an apartment from me at 2202 Elm Street from June 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011.
During the 1-year lease, James always paid the rent on time except for once, when he contacted me in advance about a family emergency and made arrangements to pay in full by the 15th of the month plus late fees. He fulfilled that agreement.
James kept the apartment in good condition and always alerted me to any maintenance issues in a timely manner. At the move-out inspection, there were only 2 very minor charges for damages. I have no complaints about him on file from other residents and found him to be a quiet and respectful tenant.
If given the opportunity, I would definitely rent to James again. Please contact me with any questions about his tenancy at 555-5555.
Sincerely,
Ms. Landlord
Remember that it is not your responsibility to share every detail of your tenant’s file with the world. Instead, let the facts speak for themselves and do your duty as a landlord in creating a simple, informational letter for your tenant to use.
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