Landlord Reference Letter: Reassurances for Renting

November 13, 2018

First impressions count, however rental applicants on their best behavior don’t necessarily reflect who they will really be as tenants. Selecting the wrong tenants for your rental can be a costly experience. It pays to be objective when making a decision on who to pick as a tenant. Verifiable facts such as an ability to pay rent and abiding tenancy rules should be decision making factors for selecting tenants.

To ascertain the likelihood of tenants being financially responsible and able to upkeep a property, you can request a landlord reference letter.

What is a landlord reference letter?

A letter of reference for landlords serves as a recommendation for the tenant applicant and their ability to carry out his or her rental obligations. To confirm that you are selecting a good tenant a previous landlord can confirm key facts:

  • Monthly rent the tenant paid
  • The term of the lease the tenant rented the property for
  • Late payment history
  • Violations of the lease

Additional information to ask for within the rental reference letter relates to character:

  • Was the tenant clean and tidy?
  • Did the tenant cause any damage to the property?
  • Did the tenant get along with neighbors?
  • How did the tenant communicate issues or disputes?
  • Would they enter into a tenancy agreement with this person again?

Who can provide a landlord reference letter

A landlord reference letter is usually provided by a previous landlord who has rented property to the tenant applicant. It is preferable to be a landlord with whom the tenant has had a long-term tenancy for an accurate picture. However, you may have tenants that do not have a rental history, such as students, recent graduates or professionals relocating for work. In this case, you can request a character reference from an educational institution or employer. With any reference, it is important to verify the source and documentation. A phone number or email should be included with any tenant reference letter or character reference.

Tenant screening

two men and two women sitting next to each other on blue stools

Screening a tenant in conjunction with a landlord reference letter is an essential process for evaluating tenant applicants. An effective tenant screening comprises of credit checks, verification of employment with pay stubs, and a criminal background check.

Example of a landlord reference letter

[Former landlord’s name, address, email, phone number]


To whom it may concern,

[Tenant in question] was my tenant at [address, unit] between [move-in date] and [move-out date]. [Tenant] paid their bills on time for this [type of property] and was cooperative for the length of the lease. She/he was respectful of her/his unit and the common spaces. [Mention of the handling of any particular landlord-tenant issues].

I would recommend [tenant] as a tenant and would sign them to another lease should they wish to rent with me in the future. Please feel free to contact me for any necessary elaborations.


Quality tenants

Ideally, prospective tenants will have the following qualities:

Tenants that take care of your property

Taking care of rental property not only ensures security deposits are returned but also results in a positive landlord recommendation. Equally, tenants that take ownership of taking care of their rental home will be more likely to spot and notify landlords with maintenance requests. Blueground makes maintenance issues easy for tenants report and resolve by online requests made through our guest services app. Processing through our app allows tenants to track and monitor requests on-the-go through their mobile devices.

A tenant that takes care of property maintenance responsibilities outlined in the tenancy agreement will take care of your rental. Normal wear and tear are to be expected, however, selecting the right tenant can prevent tenant-caused property damage. Make it clear in the tenancy agreement what the tenant can and can’t do regarding property maintenance, as there are some home repairs a tenant should never handle themselves.

Keeping a rental clean is also vital for taking care of a property. Tenants that keep the rental clean will be less likely to attract pests or cause property damage.

Reasonable tenant/landlord communication style

Ideally, a tenant will not require special attention resulting in high maintenance. Whereas a tenant that does not communicate at all can lead to a communication breakdown. In fact, landlords are far more likely to get sued than normal homeowners. If a tenant decides to sue you for damages make sure you are covered with landlord insurance.

Preferable are tenants that follow lease terms and think before contacting you with what is happening at your property. Equally, landlords have a responsibility to communicate clearly and honestly with tenants so they feel comfortable contacting you with maintenance issues. Being a landlord is a business and tenants are your customers. Being professional, but not distant with communications will prevent misunderstandings and over-friendly relationships resulting in relaxed attitudes to tenancy rules.

Stick to the terms of the lease

A good tenant will uphold the rules of a lease. Breaking any rules set out regarding pets, unpaid rent or allowing someone who isn’t on the lease to live in the property offer grounds for eviction. As a landlord, this can be an expensive and stressful situation to avoid by being selective who you rent to. Ideally, a good tenant will reduce tenant turnover by renewing a lease while displaying the rental behaviors that make a good tenant.

white couch with many cardboard boxes in front with books and a flower and a teacup

At Blueground we screen all tenants prior to leasing properties, however, we don’t require a landlord reference letter. We have near 100% occupancy rates due to our efficient tenant screening and leasing processes. This offers flexibility for tenants to move between our apartments and communicate through our guest services app. If you’re considering renting your apartment to Blueground we will handle the tenant screening process on your behalf.

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