Landlords get plenty of requests from their tenants that can be fulfilled in a reasonable amount of time to the satisfaction of all parties involved. But if you have ever been asked to write a reference letter, you know the great reluctance that can overwhelm you due to not knowing everything that your letter should contain.

Before you allow thoughts of that letter to consume your day, there are tips you should keep in mind. These tips will guide you through the entire letter from beginning to end, from how to respond to how to write the best letter that includes all the requirements.


Before responding to letter of reference requests, remember that it is a request. You are not required, by law or otherwise, to write one. In fact, if you don’t feel you are qualified to or can’t write a decent letter, you probably should decline. Give yourself enough time to make that decision. Inform tenants that you require five to seven days to make a decision. Even if you decide that you will not write the letter, you need time to construct a response as to why. Determine what you can all address.

– Have you spoken with this tenant enough to know what their personality is like and can speak with confidence about it? Rental places make a point to cater to a certain personality and group. For instance, apartments around a college might advertise to college students.

– Are you aware of how involved is the tenant in family, career, hobbies, and volunteerism? Landlords like to know what will be going on in their rental places.

– Can you address the tenant’s habits? Do they work a steady job? Are they late-night workers?

Add facts, but be sure to stay away from identifiers like race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexual preferences. These aren’t included on tenant screenings and you could face legal troubles by commenting on them.

Letter Contents

Although your letter can include any details you think are pertinent, it will help you write the letter if you know what information the potential landlord would like to address. Ask the tenant if they can supply you with a list of items you need to address. After addressing them, be ready to add extra information. You might wish to think about everything you can comment on again, even if it is already on the list.

– Is the tenant responsible? Does he need to rely on his parents to pay it or is he a working professional who pays his own bills? You aren’t revealing his age, but you are telling the potential landlord that he is able to be an adult while residing in your rental.

– Is the tenant clean? It’s not unusual for landlords to see the inside of a rental while it’s being rented. Address this cleanliness.

– Have neighbors complained about this tenant? Has the tenant complained much?

– Has the tenant offered to repair or replace items in the apartment?

– Does the tenant pay rent in advance or on time?

– Does the tenant involve himself in events around town?

– Does the tenant attend tenant meetings?

– Does the tenant abide by rules and apartment or house policies?

Finally, when you have written your letter of reference, read it over and think in terms of a landlord. That is, what would you like to know about a potential tenant before renting your place to him? Make sure that this is included in your letter. Talk landlord to landlord. State that you would rent to the tenant again. Finish with your contact information and availability.