Providing a Rental Reference for Tenants

Monday, February 20, 2023

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When student tenants graduate and move, often times, they’ll need to provide a new landlord with their rental history and references, as part of the screening process. By providing rental references for student tenants, landlords will be helping students to secure a place to start their new life.


There are a few things landlords should know before providing references for student tenants.


1. Discuss Rental References Before the Tenant Moves Out

Since rental histories contain personal tenant information, it is recommended that a landlord request written permission from the tenant to give a rental reference, before the move-out day. The document should state that if the landlord receives a reference request about the tenancy, the landlord is allowed to disclose some of the tenant’s personal information, such as full name, address of the rental property, dates of occupancy and the lease requirements being met.


2. How to Answer Reference Questions

Some landlords and property management companies will call to ask questions about a prospective tenant over the phone. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:


  • Did the prospective tenant pay rent on time and in full?
  • Was the property taken care of or was there any damage done?
  • Did the prospective tenant have a disruptive behaviour while renting?
  • Would you rent to this individual again?


Be objective, neutral and honest when answering these questions. Try not to involve personal feelings; refer only to the facts related to the rental.


3. How to Write a Reference Letter

A rental reference letter should be brief and to the point. There are lots of free templates that can be downloaded online. A complete landlord reference letter should include the following:


  • Confirm the tenant’s name, address of the rental property and the dates of occupancy.
  • Clearly state if the tenant paid rent on time and in full.
  • State whether there were any complaints against this tenant.
  • Describe the condition of the property after the tenancy.
  • Describe the tenant’s behaviours and the landlord-tenant relationship.
  • State willingness to rent to the tenant again, in the future.
  • Provide contact method for further inquiries.


Again, provide only the necessary information, honestly and objectively. It’s not necessary to share every detail known about the tenant.


Writing a rental reference does not take long and the gesture may have an unexpected impact on your rental business in the future. Student tenants will refer friends to a property, if the rental experience has been positive for them. So it can be very beneficial to help them find a new place to call home by providing a simple, informational, rental reference letter.


SEE ALSO:  Keep up-to-date on Rental Legislation

The Team