As a landlord, you probably get occasional requests from former tenants for rental reference letters. If they were good tenants, you’re most likely happy to help them in this way. But it’s important to think of these reference letters as a way of helping out another landlord as well. Whether the tenant was good, bad, or so-so, it’s worthwhile to write one of these letters to help a fellow landlord decide if they want to rent to your former tenant. Here are nine keys to writing a rental reference letter.
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to writing a rental reference letter. It can be tempting to give a good reference to a bad tenant just to get them out of your property, and make them someone else’s problem. It’s very important you do not give in to this temptation. For one thing, you could potentially face legal action for misrepresentation, and nobody wants that. Secondly, it’s just not a nice thing to do; put yourself in the other landlord’s position. Tell the truth.
“One of the most important things a landlord needs to know about is a tenant’s stability. Tell them how long the tenants rented from you. Did they pay their rent on time consistently, or did they have trouble making rent on time? Discuss their track record with making utility payments and any other bills,” advises Joseph Grey, writer at TopCanadianWriters. Your fellow landlord will appreciate your accuracy, especially when it comes to paying the rent on time, which is a common headache for landlords.
You will be much more helpful in your reference if you are specific. Talk about specific incidents and characteristics of the tenants. Give the other landlord some useful information to base his or her decision on. Avoid generalities such as “they were nice” or “they were good,” as these are not helpful. They more specific you are, the more helpful your reference letter will be. Keep any emotions out of your description and stick to the facts.
Cleanliness and Treatment of Property
The tenant’s level of cleanliness is very important, as it can have a direct impact on your property. Related to cleanliness is their respect for your property. “Did they stain your carpets, scratch your hardwood floors, or cause a mold problem in your bathroom? Your tenant’s history of cleanliness and their treatment of your property are important factors for a landlord to consider,” writes Kelly Bowman, copywriter at StudentWritingServices.
A Well Written Letter
A lot of people don’t have much experience writing reference letters, or writing in general. Even if you consider yourself a pretty good writer, you can always improve. Resources such as MyWritingWay, UK Writings, and AcademAdvisor can help you improve your writing skills and write better letters. The other landlord will appreciate you taking the time to craft a well-written response to their request.
Don’t write anything in your letter that you wouldn’t want to be made public knowledge. Write as if your former tenant were going to read the letter or hear about what was written in it. It’s important you are able to back up any statements you make with proper documentation.
Make Yourself Available
Its courteous to let the future landlord know they may contact you further for more information or clarification. Include your name and phone number in your letter. You are unlikely to hear from them again, but your consideration will be appreciated.
Your Rental Reference Letter
Start by putting the date at the top of your letter, then address your reader “To whom it may concern.” Next, supply the landlord with basic information about your former tenant, such as their full name, the address of your rental property, and the time period during which they occupied your property. Then you can discuss whether your renters were reliable and responsible (as discussed above.) Summarize by stating if you would rent to the tenant again in the future. Don’t forget to provide your contact information and let the landlord know they may contact your again for further questions, should they arise.
Edit and Proofread
Before you send out that reference letter, be sure to edit and proofread it for errors. Resources like WritingPopulist and UKServicesReviews can help you proofread and polish your letter. It’s important your letter is proofread, both to enable easy communication of your points, but also so that it is taken seriously by the landlord requesting it.
Reference Letter Sample
Here is a reference letter template you may find useful:
May 16, 2018
To whom it may concern,
I’ve been asked to write a rental reference letter on behalf of Brent Forrester, who rented an apartment from me at 1525 Birch Crescent from April 1, 2017 through April 30, 2018.
During the one year lease, Brett always paid the rent on time except for once, when he let me know in advance that he would be unable to pay on the first. We made arrangements for him to pay on the 15th, with late fees included. He met this agreement.
Brent kept the apartment in good condition and always alerted me to any maintenance issues in a timely manner. At the move-out inspection, there was only one minor charge for damage.
If given the opportunity, I absolutely would rent to Brent again. Please contact me with any questions about his tenancy at 444-4444.
A rental reference letter can be a huge help to a prospective landlord. If you’ve ever had a bad tenant, you probably wish you had been informed beforehand by such a letter. So help a fellow landlord out and write a proper rental reference letter. When writing your letter it’s important that you are honest, describe the tenant’s stability, and their degree of respect shown for your property. It’s good to be specific and avoid blanket statements. If you need it, get some help writing and proofreading your letter, and don’t forget to include your contact information. Follow these nine keys to write an honest and effective rental reference letter.
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