Getting Letters of Recommendation from Previous Landlords

If you want to rent a new apartment, a recommendation from a landlord can be a very important tool for you because it lets the new landlord to know that you are a responsible tenant. Before you move out, you should ask the letter from your landlord to show proof of good tenancy. When the landlord is writing the reference, he will likely focus on those aspects which make you a trustworthy candidate, such as good property maintenance and timely rent payments.

[ Related: How to Get the Best Rate for Renters’ Insurance ]

How the Landlord Gains Information

There are many ways through which the landlord gains information about the type of tenant you are. One of them is by checking your previous rental references. When filling a rental application form, references from previous landlords will be required from you. A bad relationship with a previous landlord is likely to let you lose the chances of renting the new apartment.

Getting Good Recommendation

There are certain things you need to do to get good recommendations from your previous landlords. One of them is to be a tenant who pays the rent on time. You should be aware that the landlord needs to pay certain fees every month or yearly depending on the policy of the local authorities managing electricity, water, phone bills and other utilities. Late payment is likely to earn you a bad image, and would be reflected in the latter of reference for the new apartment.

[ Search: Find Apartments for Rent in Northeast ]

Being a good neighbor is another way of getting good recommendations from previous landlords. It takes months or even years to do this, but at the end, when you are moving, it really pays off. If you are the type other neighbors always get along with, your landlord would see you to be a peaceful tenant, and would always be glad to accept any tenant you recommend to take over the renting of your apartment.

Getting Letters of Recommendation from Previous Landlords

by Loren Kerns on flickr

It is good to get letters of reference from your last two landlords, or landlords of the past 5 years, whoever comes first. This is a good thing, so that if a landlord doesn’t give you a glowing recommendation, the comments made by the others would still count.

What if any of the previous landlords is no longer the owner, or the apartment is now being managed by a real estate company or the landlord has died? The first thing you should be aware of is that such letters should be obtained immediately you are vacating an apartment, even if you don’t need them at the moment. If you failed to get them when vacating, you could still approach the new managers of the apartment. In most cases, records of past tenants are kept.

[ Related: Get to Know Your Rights as a Renter in D.C. ]

How to Handle Negative Comments

If the previous landlords made negative comments about you in the reference letters, for example, that you were not paying on time, you were always fighting with neighbors, you did not keep a clean environment, you destroyed the apartment, etc., there is still a solution.

Don’t use that reference letter! It is better to have no reference letter at all than to have a bad one. Find a past roommate or someone else who can vouch for you instead.


It is necessary that a tenant abides by the terms in the contract when renting an apartment, as recommendation letters are now becoming some of the most important things considered before the new contract is signed. As landlords ensure that the tenant has a good credit score, they are as well ensuring that they were a good tenant in the places they lived previously.

Find your next apartment in the area with Apartment Showcase.

You may also like...