As a landlord, you’re likely busy enough with everything that goes into managing your own properties.

So, when a previous tenant requests a reference letter, it’s easy to overlook.

But you, and every landlord, depend on reference letters from other landlords.

Not only to determine whether a tenant is responsible and will pay on time, but that they will honor your lease agreement and care for the property.

If you’ve received a request from a tenant for a reference letter, you might be at a loss on what to include and how to write it.

That’s what this guide is for.

Below, we’ll take you through what to include or keep in mind when writing a landlord reference letter.

Plus, we’ll give you a sample letter template you can use as a starting point to simplify the process of writing your own.

So, let’s get to it.

Download the landlord reference letter template

Download our reference letter template, complete with a full reference letter example and plug-in guideline for quickly and easily writing your own reference letter:

CTA Landlord Reference Letter

What is a landlord reference letter?

If you’ve never written a landlord reference letter before, it’s pretty straightforward:

A landlord reference letter is a document written from one landlord to another meant to endorse a tenant. 

The letter typically expresses in a few short sentences what kind of tenant the person was. 

It’s one of several additional ways you can screen tenants beyond just getting a criminal background and credit check.

It’s especially useful because you get a more directly relevant and “human” perspective.

What to include in your reference letter

Before we get into writing your reference letter, let’s cover the basic information that should be included within your reference letter.

A reference letter is pretty straightforward. You’ll want to include:

  • Basic information such as name, property address, email, and phone
  • Date of the letter
  • And the date of the tenant’s lease
  • Letter content describing the tenant                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  • Closing statement
  • Signature

How to write a reference letter as a landlord

Now that you know basically what to include in your reference letter, let’s talk about how to actually write it. 

Below are several tips for writing a reference letter as a landlord.

The basic idea is to describe the tenant and what it was like working with them and having them in your property.

However, to that end, there are a few tips that will help you write a good tenant letter quickly. Not to mention, identify a quality one you can trust if you’re the one receiving the reference letter.

1. Keep it simple 

A few short sentences explaining what kind of tenant the person was, that’s all that is necessary.

Don’t try and list out all the reasons the person was a good or not so good tenant, pros and cons, or write out multiple paragraphs.

Instead, get to the point and just list in a few sentences the important highlights:

  • Did they pay their rent on time?
  • Did they take care of your property?
  • Did they communicate effectively?
  • Did they leave on good terms? 

For example:

While working with the tenant, they paid their monthly rent promptly and were never late. They also took care of all tenant responsibilities including pet rent and parking each month on time. They maintained the property as expected and communicated promptly regarding maintenance and repair issues. 

Think about the things you care about as a landlord– they’re the same things the landlord you’re writing to is going to care about. 

2. Focus on items relevant to the person as a tenant

Moving on from the last point, remember the point of the letter: to communicate to another landlord what kind of tenant the person is.

Leave out whether the person is a friend or any personal details that aren’t relevant to the point of the letter.

Also, make sure to be careful about what you say in general, as any statement not related specifically to the person as a tenant could violate fair housing laws. 

3. Include a closing statement for clarity

Beyond a few short sentences, including a closing statement can help summarize your point.

For example:

I had a wonderful experience with [tenant’s name] in my property and would gladly accept them as a tenant again. 

This isn’t necessary, but it’s helpful as it gives the other landlord a way of glancing at the letter to get the gist of it and sums up your overall verdict if your sentences were at all unclear. 

This is more a quality of life thing than anything, but it’s best to err on the side of clarity to make sure you’re communicating your point. 

4. Use a template 

Keeping your letter simple makes things easier, but beyond that, because every reference letter to another landlord is essentially the same structure, you can use a template to work off of.

This will make the process far easier and save you a ton of time the next time a tenant asks you for a reference letter. 

To further that process, we put together a simple template you can use, so you don’t even have to make the template yourself.

Landlord reference letter example

Now that we’ve covered tips for crafting a quick and simple landlord reference letter, let’s go over an example.

Then, we’ll give you a template you can take with you anytime you need to send a letter out yourself. 

Let’s start by putting together our example pieces from earlier into a full letter:

To Whom It May Concern,

I, Mark Ramos, fully recommend Rebecca Statham as a tenant. As my tenant from March 15, 2018 to March 15, 2020 rent was late a total of 0 time(s). During that time, their monthly rent 

amount was $1200.

While working with the tenant, they paid their monthly rent promptly and were never late. They also took care of all tenant responsibilities including pet rent and parking each month on time. They maintained the property as expected and communicated promptly regarding maintenance and repair issues. 

I had a wonderful experience with Rebecca in my property and would gladly accept them as a tenant again.

- Mark 

Pretty simple, right?

You could make it even shorter than this by only including 2 short sentences instead of the 3 in this example + closing statement.

The basic idea is pretty simple: 

First, you start by directly endorsing the tenant with both of your names for clarity.

Then, you cover basic rent information such as whether they paid on time (the template assumes this given you’re writing a reference letter on their behalf). 

Next, your short description of the person as a tenant including things like their responsibility with rent, other responsibilities, keeping up the property, and communication. 

Finally, you finish with a closing statement to summarize your endorsement and end with your name and contact information. 

Download the landlord reference letter template

Now that we’ve covered what the average reference letter looks like, let’s look at a template.

The template below breaks down each of those areas in 3 different formats: 

  • The reference letter template with blank spaces, so you can easily fill in your information
  • The template with red guidelines to show you what information goes where
  • And a full reference letter example 

Here’s what the reference letter template looks like:

Landlord Reference Letter Template

Pretty straightforward, right?

And the best part is, you can download the template to use the next time you need to write a reference letter. 

Click below to download the landlord reference letter template and example:

CTA 2 Landlord Reference Letter

Make your next reference letter quick and easy 

When it comes to being a landlord, there are some things that you just need to handle which don’t help your bottom line. 

Putting together a reference letter as a landlord might seem like a waste of time, but when you get one from another landlord, it’s incredibly helpful. 

What better way to know an applicant will be a great tenant than hear from another landlord whose property they recently occupied?

So, pay it forward and use the template download below to make the process of writing your next landlord reference letter quick and easy.

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!