how to get a landlord reference letter

How Should I Ask a Landlord for a Reference Letter?

When you move to a new rented home, your potential landlord may ask you to provide a landlord reference letter. This letter is a recommendation document written by a former landlord for your potential landlord to assess as part of a rental application. But how do you ask your landlord for a reference letter in the first place?

In this article, we’ll go over our best tips and tricks for asking your landlord for a reference letter, what to do if they don’t give you a recommendation letter, and why you need one in the first place. Keep reading to find out more.

What is a Landlord Recommendation Letter?

Landlord recommendation letters are documents written by your former landlord that discuss what kind of tenant you were. Most people opt for landlords with whom they have had good experiences to ask for a recommendation letter. Still, some potential landlords may stipulate that the recommendation comes from the landlord from the property you last lived in.

In an extremely competitive rental market, having a good reference letter could be the difference between getting a new home and not. A landlord reference letter will let your potential landlord know that you are responsible, do not cause damage, pay your rent on time, have a stable income, etc., making you a good choice for a new landlord.

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Why Might You Need a Landlord Reference Letter?

Many scenarios might force you to get a landlord reference letter. These could include:

  • Your potential landlord has asked for it – Many landlords ask for reference letters. They make this request because they want to ensure that you’re a suitable tenant for their property and that you’re not going to cause them many problems! Landlords want an easy life, and a reference letter will prove that you will give it to them.
  • To boost your application and stand out – If a landlord doesn’t ask for a recommendation letter, you can still add one to your application to help make your application stand out. The rental market is fiercely competitive, so doing anything that can boost your application is a good idea.
  • To make up for shortcomings – Unfortunately, things like bad credit can make it more difficult to find a new home. A good recommendation letter can help reassure your landlord that you are a stable tenant and could help to compensate for these shortcomings.

How Do You Ask Your Landlord For a Reference Letter?

The first thing we would recommend when asking your landlord for a reference letter is to do so before you begin your new home search. We recommend you take this step because the rental market is fast-paced. If you have to wait for your landlord to write a letter, you may miss out on a property you love.

Getting your letter written before you even begin searching means you’ve got something to boost every application you already make.

When approaching your landlord for a reference letter, we recommend speaking with them in person about writing a reference for you. You can follow this up with an email to ensure you get it promptly.

Some potential landlords may contact your current landlord directly rather than accepting a pre-written letter. In these cases, it is polite to warn your landlord that they will be in contact so they know to expect a call.

What Are Your Choices if Your Landlord Won’t Give You a Reference?

Unfortunately, some landlords refuse to give a reference. In some cases, they may feel you have been a bad tenant, but there could be other explanations. In these cases, there are solutions.

You could first try speaking with the letting agent or potential landlord, making the situation clear, and asking about other ways you can prove yourself a stable tenant. You could also seek a recommendation letter from a previous landlord. You should speak with your potential landlord to ensure that this is okay before doing so.

Other options include a character reference which can help to reassure your new landlord that you are a worthy candidate, or collating other proof, like past rent payments, to prove you are a stable tenant.

how to get a landlord reference letter

What Action Should You Take if You Get a Bad Reference?

A bad reference can sometimes feel worse than if you get no reference at all and can have an impact on your applications. If you receive a bad or negative reference, you can try mitigating the damage by offering a reference from a previous landlord or simply explaining the situation.

If the recommendation letter refers to missed payments, explaining the situation with these payments could help a reasonable potential landlord to understand the situation. This step can reassure them it will not happen again.

You could also sign the rental lease with a guarantor or a co-signer to give the landlord peace of mind or acquire multiple landlord reference letters from previous landlords to show that the current letter is just an anomaly.

You should never fake a landlord reference letter. Your new landlord may perform a background check, so they may notice and decline your application if you lie.

Landlord Reference Letters: the Facts to Remember

Getting a landlord recommendation letter can be daunting as it can mean the difference between getting a new home and not. However, if you follow these few steps, you should be able to get a good reference and secure the home of your dreams easily. Remember, you have other options if you cannot obtain a letter from your current landlord, such as character references and past rent payments. Still, it’s always well worth seeking one as proof of your excellent history as a tenant to find your perfect home.

Salman Zafar

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