As a renter, moving from one home to another is inevitable. However, you may come across new landlords who want to know about your renting history. Before approving your application, they may ask for a landlord recommendation letter provided by your previous landlord.

A landlord recommendation letter, also called a rental reference, is an important component of your rental application. In a competitive rental market, a good reference can make a huge difference. Let’s discuss everything you need to know about getting a good landlord recommendation letter to make your rental process smoother!

What is a landlord recommendation letter?

A landlord recommendation letter is a letter written to a potential landlord by your current landlord. A property manager or a supervisor can also write you a rental reference. Your new landlord will likely ask for this reference in order to complete your background check.

Landlord recommendation letters tell your landlord that you are a responsible and financially stable tenant and that you adhere to the terms of a lease. A rental reference letter can help boost your application and make up for any shortcomings, such as a low credit score. It assures the landlord that you’ll pay your rent on time, respect deadlines, and not incur defaults.

What are the components of a landlord recommendation letter?

While the styles of landlord reference letters may vary from one landlord to another, they must include some basic elements. A good landlord recommendation letter must have information on the tenant’s rental history, their rent payment timelines, and any disputes.

The shorter and more concise the letter is, the better. It should be honest and hold the tenant responsible for any dispute that may have happened. It should also sound professional and unbiased, without emotional embellishments.

A landlord reference letter should include the following elements in the order below:

  • Your present landlord’s name, address, and contact details

  • Recipient landlord’s name and address or “To Whom It May Concern”

  • Greetings

  • Address of the property that was leased

  • Dates of the lease

  • Details on tenant’s reliability and accountability, includes late payments, lease violations, pet violations, and maintenance of the property

  • Closing remarks

  • Your landlord’s signature

Have a look at a the sample letter we’ve created for you below:

Related: How to Write a Rental Reference Letter (Templates and Samples)

What to avoid in a landlord reference letter?

Every renter is protected by law under the Fair Housing Act. Your landlord reference letter should never discriminate against any renter of their race, color, religion, sex, nationality, disability, etc. Doing so violates fair housing laws.

If you are able to, you could also have an attorney review your landlord recommendation letter before you send it out to a new potential landlord.

When should you get a landlord recommendation letter?

Ask your landlord for the reference letter before you begin your search for a new home. In a highly competitive market, landlords will rent out their properties to the first most eligible candidate. You must be proactive in securing a letter and having your paperwork ready in advance.

Any tips if I get a bad reference letter?

Life happens, and sometimes you may miss a rental payment. The unfortunate consequence of this is, you may get a less than stellar reference letter from your landlord. Finding a new home is not impossible even if you have unfavorable references. Try these tips to help secure a new home:

  • Be honest with your new landlord from the start. Explain what happened and how you managed the situation.

  • Never lie or fake a landlord reference letter

    . Your new landlord will perform comprehensive background checks. It’ll only make it harder for you to secure an apartment in the future if you are dishonest.

  • Consider co-signing your lease with family or a friend. If you don’t have someone to co-sign, you can get a guarantor to co-sign your lease.

  • Get multiple landlord reference letters from your past landlords.

Related: Can a previous landlord give a bad reference?

Rest assured, having a good landlord recommendation letter can make it easy for you to secure a home and make you a strong competitor in the rental market.