Companies use reference forms to verify a job applicant’s employment history and obtain information on how a candidate might perform in a job or fit into company culture. The references a candidate provides can be invaluable for fact-checking resume claims, making informed hiring decisions, and choosing among multiple qualified candidates. Whether you collect references by phone or request them in writing, using a form can help standardize the process so that businesses get uniform information for each candidate. Forms also provide valuable documentation that can be added to an employment application.
Below you’ll find several free, downloadable templates in PDF and Microsoft Word and Excel formats, including printable reference checklist forms for phone interviews and a tenant reference form for rental properties. For business credit applicants, there are trade reference forms and bank credit references forms.
References from Former Employers
When you’re in the home stretch of applying for a job, potential employers will often ask for references to get additional background on your job history and performance. For job applicants, it’s important to choose references who are willing to provide a recommendation — some businesses will only verify employment dates, but ideally a reference will provide some information on why the applicant would be a good fit for a new role. Some job seekers use a professional reference checking service to find out what information a particular reference might offer, and to help them choose which references to list on a resume.
Companies that are in the process of hiring employees can get permission from applicants to check their references during the interview stage. When contacting references by phone, it’s important to be prepared with specific questions or a script to follow to save time and ensure consistency, and to check with the referee first to see if they have time to talk. While there may be a standard company procedure for checking employment references, it can help to customize the questions on your reference template to match the requirements of each specific job. Here are some basic items commonly included in an employee reference check form:
- Job title for the current position
- Former employer contact information
- The referee’s relationship to the applicant
- Verification of employment dates
- Salary earned in previous position
- Specific questions about job performance, skills, and social aptitude
- Applicant strengths and weaknesses
- Eligibility to be rehired by former employer
- Reason for leaving previous job
- Any concerns or previous record of disciplinary actions
Once you collect information from the references and candidates complete interviews and other application procedures, hiring managers can make an informed decision about who to hire. Checking references may be time consuming, but it can save time, money, and hassles in the long run.
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Before you can rent a property you’II need to provide information and documents to show you’II be a good tenant.
You will also have to show you and any other adults that will be living with you have the ‘right to rent’ in the UK.
Having your documents ready can help you rent more quickly.
Get your landlord’s or letting agent’s name and contact details before you give them your documents.
Proving you have the right to rent
Your landlord or letting agent will ask to see your immigration documents or passport when you start or renew your tenancy. They will also ask to see the documents of any other adults living with you. They do this to check you have the right to live in the UK and to rent – this is called the ‘right to rent check’.
If you’ve applied for settled or pre-settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme
The Home Office will send you a ‘share code’ or a ‘certificate of application’. Send them to the landlord or letting agent – they’ll check you have the right to rent. You don’t need to show them any other documents.
If you don’t have any documents
If you don’t have any documents because you’re waiting for an immigration decision from the Home Office, ask the landlord to request a ‘right to rent’ check from the Home Office. They should reply within 2 working days.
If you’ve lived in the UK since before 1988, for example if you’re part of the Windrush generation, and you don’t have any documents, you’ll need to tell the landlord how long you’ve lived in the UK. The landlord should contact the Landlord Checking Service, who’ll let them know if you have the ‘right to rent’ and give you the right documents.
If the landlord doesn’t contact the Landlord Checking Service, you can get advice from the Home Office’s Commonwealth Taskforce.
Home Office – Commonwealth Taskforce
Telephone: 0800 678 1925
Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm
Sunday, 10am to 4pm
Email: [email protected]
If you want more information about your immigration status
If you’re not sure about your immigration status get immigration advice before you contact the Commonwealth Taskforce.
If you think you’ve been discriminated against
If you have the right to rent in the UK your landlord can’t refuse to rent to you because of your race or nationality for example. This is called discrimination.
You’II be asked to give references to show you can afford the property, and will be a good tenant.
You’ll usually have to give a reference from:
- your current landlord and previous landlords if you’re renting from a letting agent
- your employer – to show you have a job and it will continue
If you’re asked to give your recent bank statements to show your income, make sure you cover over your account numbers for security.
If you’re self-employed, you might need to give copies of your trading accounts and an accountant’s reference.
Getting a guarantor
You might be asked to provide a guarantor, for example if you haven’t rented before. A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay the rent if you don’t – you could ask your parents or someone else in your family to do this.
If you can’t give a reference
You might still be able to rent, even if you can’t get a reference.
Explain to your landlord or letting agent why you’re not able to get a reference. If you paid rent on time in the past, show them your tenancy agreement and rent book or bank statements to prove this.
You could also ask for a ‘character reference’ – a letter from an employer or someone who knows you well, to show that you’re reliable.
Your letting agent and some landlords will do a credit check to see if you’ve had problems paying bills in the past. They must get your permission first.
It’s less common for private landlords to do credit checks because they can make it take longer to rent out a property.
If you’ve got a bad credit history, it’s best to be honest and explain the situation. If you’re renting through a letting agent, do this before you give them any money – if you fail a credit check, you might not get your money back.
Your landlord or letting agent shouldn’t force you to pay a fee for a credit check. If they do you can report them to Trading Standards.
If you fail a credit check, explain why you think this might have happened. If you know you can pay the rent, tell your landlord or letting agent. They might still rent to you if you offer to pay a larger deposit, more rent in advance or if you can get a guarantor.
It’s free to sign up and you can find answers to questions such as:
- Will this tenant pay rent on time?
- Is this renter a risk to my other tenants?
- Do I need to worry about safety?
- Is this the right tenant for me?
These are questions almost all landlords and property owners ask when screening a tenant. But they can’t be answered with just reference checks (of people you’ve never met) or your gut decision. The most critical step that you can take to protect your rental property is to use a reputable tenant screening service and review tenant credit, criminal, and eviction history, and obtain an estimate of their income.
To find out what you don’t know about rental applicants, you need to understand a tenant’s credit, criminal, Income Insights and eviction history. And you need it from a source you can trust.
With TransUnion SmartMove, a landlord can run a tenant credit check and a criminal background check online, in minutes. By getting better information about potential renters, you’ll make better decisions and find Great Tenants.
Credit, criminal, Income Insights and eviction reports from TransUnion, so you have comprehensive and trustworthy tenant screening information
Sign-up is all online and you can start screening tenants within minutes.
Receive a credit-based renter recommendation. Combined with your reports and your instincts, SmartMove will help you pick the right tenant for your rental property.
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Who Pays for SmartMove?
As a landlord, you choose to pay for the service or have the applicant pay. Either way, there’s no charge until you use it.
As a landlord, you know how important a positive reference is for vetting potential tenants. An honest assessment from fellow landlords who have rented to your prospect is the best way to assess potential risks.
How to write a character reference for your tenant
Here are the five essential elements of a great Character Reference Letter:
1. Write formally – Keep your letter professional by including:
- a. A courteous introduction (e.g. “Dear ______” or “To whom it may concern”)
- b. A statement of intent (e.g. “I am writing this letter to recommend _____ as a tenant”)
- c. A closing sentiment (e.g. “Kind Regards” or “Sincerely”)
2. Disclose relevant details – Payment history is among the most important information landlords want about potential tenants. How often they paid, how much they paid, and whether or not they paid in a timely fashion are all important details to include. You might also want to consider:
- a. Tidiness/maintenance of the property under their watch.
- b. Neighbours’ disposition to your tenants.
- c. Any legal notices you’ve had cause to serve your tenants.
3. Describe your relationship – Include any relevant information such as how long your tenants have rented from you and any personal connection you may have to them. Other landlords want to be assured that you’ve known your tenants for a sufficiently long period of time.
4. Assuage potential risks – You can disclose other relevant information that will help address other concerns a landlord might have. This information could include the qualities of your tenants (e.g. reliable, hardworking, friendly, honest, etc.), their job stability, or even the nature of any pets they own.
5. Keep it brief – Your letter should be less than a page long.
If you’ve been asked to write a reference letter for one of your tenants, we’ve included a character reference template below for your use. Simply fill in the bold fields with your relevant information and you’ll have a perfect character reference letter ready to go.
When a potential tenant doesn't provide a reference letter
If you’re considering a potential tenant and they haven’t provided you with a reference letter along with their rental application, you may want to think about writing a Tenant Reference Request to their landlord.
This letter should request all of the information that you would include in a reference letter and whatever you consider necessary for risk assessment. For example:
- How long have they been in tenancy?
- Do they pay their rent on time?
- Have they ever been behind on their payments?
- How often is their rent due?
- What form does their payment usually take?
- Have they ever damaged or mistreated your property?
- Have they ever been the cause of any noise complaints or other disturbances?
- Have you ever had cause to serve a legal notice (including an eviction notice) to them?
Character reference template for rental
To whom it may concern,
I am writing this letter to confirm that [Tenants’ Names] have been exemplary tenants since they moved into the rental property at [Rental Address] on [Starting Date of Tenancy].
Over the last [Rental Period], they have paid their rent in a timely fashion on a [weekly/fortnightly/monthly] basis. Their last rent payment of [Rent Charge] was delivered promptly and without incident via [Type of Payment] on [Payment Date].
I can also confirm that as tenants, they have never made any unreasonable requests, and they have always been friendly and respectful during my visits.
Furthermore, they have proven themselves to be model neighbours. They have kept their property consistently neat and tidy, and they have never received any complaints.
[Rest assured, their pet [type of pet] is well-behaved. It has never caused damage to the property, nor has it ever evoked complaints from neighbours.]
I am pleased to recommend [Tenants’ Names] to you, and I am confident that you will find them to be responsible tenants. Should they ever wish to return, I would gladly rent my property to them again.
If you have any concerns, you are welcome to contact me at [phone number/email address] , and I will gladly answer any other questions you may have.
A business reference is a recommendation provided on behalf of a client, vendor, or other business associate or contact. You may be called upon to provide a business reference letter to verify the quality of a contract company’s work to a new client.
The reference you write may recommend the business to other clients or, in general, provide an endorsement of a contact for business purposes. It’s important to be honest in your assessment of the company’s offerings: Don’t agree to write one if you haven’t had a good experience with the company. Instead, gracefully decline to provide a reference if you don’t feel that you can provide a strong recommendation.
What to Include in a Business Reference Letter
A reference letter can be sent via post or email and should maintain a professional appearance, tone, and formatting. Use standard business letter format when you’re writing a reference.
It’s important for your recommendation to be professionally written and formatted, so it will make the best impression.
A business reference letter should begin with an appropriate salutation, end with a professional close, and include the following:
- The date
- The writer’s contact information (name, title, company, address, phone, email)
- The recipient’s contact information (name, title, company, address) (in a printed letteronly)
- Professional salutation
- The body of the letter (a few paragraphs highlighting why you are providing a recommendation)
- Professional closing
In a printed letter, the writer’s contact information is at the top of the page. In an email, the contact information is at the bottom. The recipient's contact information can be omitted from an emailed letter.
How to Start Your Letter
- A traditional, “snail mail” business letter should begin with your contact information and the contact information of the person to whom the recommendation is being sent.
- When sending an email, include “Reference” or “Recommendation” in the subject line in addition to the company’s or person’s name. This will help ensure that the recipient instantly understandswhat the content of your message is and opens the letter for review.
The Body of the Letter
Start your letter by explaining how you know the individual or company that you’re recommending. If you’ve used them repeatedly or have an ongoing relationship, mention that as well.
The body of your letter should provide information and detailed examples of the high quality of the product or service you have been provided.
Be specific so you can show the reader why you are recommending the product or service.
You should also mention how pleased you were with the work and offer to elaborate on or clarify any points in the letter.
Include your contact information in the final paragraph of a letter or in your email signature, so it’s easy for the recipient to follow up if they need more information.
- For a printed letter, leave a space for your written signature then type your name.
- For an email, add a closing then type your name.
Examples of Business Reference Letters
The following are examples of business reference letters recommending the services provided by a company or individual. They can be used to help you create your own letters, but be sure to tailor them to your specific situation.
Business Reference Letter Template
Download the letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online), or read the text version below.
Business Reference Letter Example (Text Version)
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321
Sparkleshine Cleaning Service
321 Business Ave.
Business City, NY 54321
It is with much enthusiasm that I am writing to recommend the services of the Sparkleshine Cleaning Service.
I have been using Sparkleshine to clean my offices for the past five years and have always been completely satisfied with their performance. They do an excellent job, are always punctual, and offer the most competitive rates in town.
We have also hired them on occasion for extra jobs, such as cleaning after a move, cleaning the Venetian blinds, deep cleaning the kitchenette, etc. They have been very reasonably priced, and always do exactly what we ask of them.
I'm happy to recommend the services of Sparkleshine. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Signature (printed letter)
Business Reference Letter Example
Email Business Reference Example #1
Subject: Stephen Davison Reference
Dear Ms. O’Malley,
I have been acquainted with Stephen Davison for three years, in his capacity as a web designer for my small business. He completely overhauled my website and has been responsible for its ongoing maintenance and search engine optimization as well.
Stephen’s design and optimization, I believe, are largely responsible for the dramatic increase in traffic to my site, and for the resulting increase in profits for the business. He is easy to work with, thinks creatively, and effectively communicates his ideas. He has been a true game-changer in identifying and enhancing the areas of my website that weren’t performing as well as they could have, and thus he has my highest endorsement.
If you have any additional questions or need clarification, please feel free to contact me.
Business Reference Email Examples
The following are examples of business references sent via email.
Email Business Reference Example #2
Subject: Reference for Kip’s Kennels
As a dedicated pet owner, I searched long and hard for a kennel where I felt comfortable leaving my precious companions. After doing plenty of research, and visiting several other kennels in the area, I found Kip’s Kennels about two years ago. My pets haven’t been boarded anywhere else since.
The staff at Kip’s is knowledgeable, courteous, and friendly. They truly care about every pet as they do their own, and the facility is always spotless. Unlike most of the kennels in our area, they also offer daily updates via email or text to reassure you while you are separated from your pet.
I highly recommend Kip’s Kennels to care for your pets while you are out of town. If you have any further questions or would like to speak with me about my experience, please feel free to contact me.
We offer the most comprehensive and competitive priced credit checking and tenant referencing solution on the market with a mobile-friendly and modern system.
We provide a thorough mechanism of validating your prospective tenants by running background and credit checks to determine whether they are potential risks, giving you confidence you are renting to the right people.
Visit our products page to see our solutions.
If you are a Letting Agent or Landlord you may want to use our services for screening your potential tenants.
When you use Lets Safe you don’t have to worry about wasting your time to gather facts about your prospective applicant. We will conduct fast, comprehensive referencing and credit checks, and provide you with a risk report detailing a number of aspects.
You may also want to use our services if you’re a tenant and you want an approved document to present directly to the landlord of your prospective accommodation. Our final report enables you to self-certify to keep one step ahead of other tenants who are looking at the property of your dreams.
Our unique ‘Enhanced’ product range enables Landlords and Letting Agents to securely and quickly validate tenants’ bank accounts, income payments and affordability.
We provide income source as well as recurring payments analysis.
For more information, please see our Products page,
We offer a user-friendly solution to allow you to effortlessly create, track and manage your reference applications, and our fantastic Customer Services team will be here to help you at every step of the way.
Our modern system is accessible anywhere, anytime, and on any device. We love technology too – and for the techies out there, you can subscribe to Slack webhooks to receive notifications about your references.
By definition, we don’t believe in risky business. Neither do we believe in long-term contracts.
A background check authorization form is a release given to allow someone else to perform credit and criminal background checks. A person that is agreeing to have their information looked-up must provide consent to the requesting party. This release is completed by filling-in the releasor’s information including their full name (including aliases or maiden names), current address, Social Security Number (SSN), date of birth (DOB), and providing their signature. The requestor, at their option, may ask for additional information.
Employer’s (Criminal) Background Check – Authorization granted by a releasor that is willing to undergo a criminal background check in an effort to be employed. The releasor is entitled to a copy of this report in the States of California, Minnesota and Oklahoma.
FBI Background Check (Application) – Submit your information in order to get an official FBI Criminal History Check. This will detail any and all criminal activity on your record. The cost is $18 plus $20 in order to get fingerprinted.
Tenant Background Check – Used by landlords for housing purposes. To verify the potential tenant’s criminal history and credit status. The landlord will commonly administer a small fee for performing the verification.
Step 1 – Select the Type of Background Check
You will need to obtain written authorization before performing the query:
– Typically just a criminal history check is performed. – For an individual applying for something else and this is needed for certification. – This is a form the landlord or manager will use to perform a credit and criminal report.
All forms require the releasor to enter their personal information and sign when submitting to the requesting party.
Step 2 – Perform the Background Check
In order to conduct the search the requestor will have to do one (1) of the following:
- For Employment – An employer can make an account with their State’s Department of Law Enforcement or use a 3rd party service like HireRight.com.
- For the FBI – Fill-in Form I-783 and make 2 copies of FD-258. The applicant will need to bring the forms either to a LiveScan Location (sends to the FBI electronically) or at a Standard Fingerprinting Location (sends to the FBI by mail). $38 total fee.
- For Housing – The landlord will need to use a 3rd party service like RentPrep.com ($18.95) or MySmartMove.com ($35).
There is no such thing as getting a free background check. Unfortunately, no matter which route is chosen there will be a fee involved.
Step 3 – View the Background Check Report
When conducting any type of criminal or credit report you will able to view the results immediately online. For the FBI results, it will be 4-6 days before the documents arrive in the mail.
At this time the requestor can make their final evaluation before deciding to approve the individual’s credentials.
Step 1 – Download the Background Check Authorization Form in Adobe PDF.
Step 2 – On the first page of the form, the Company’s name (performing the background check) must be entered in the first available field. Next, the Background Check Company’s name, address, phone number, and website must be provided in the empty spaces in the second paragraph of the form. The Company’s phone number can be entered in the last space provided near the middle of the first page.
Step 3 – Page 2 asks for your full name and the number of years you have used this name. You can also check the box below that for a copy of your background check report (if you live in CA, MN, or OK). At the bottom of the page, include your signature and the current date.
Step 4 – In order to conduct a thorough background check, the Company requires the following personal information:
Dealing with a maintenance issue at your home or apartment can be frustrating, especially if it’s a problem that impacts your ability to live comfortably. When you need a repair handled, it’s always smart to submit the request in writing. Follow this handy guide and sample to put together your own request letter for repairs or maintenance.
Why put a maintenance request in writing?
Landlords and property managers may be juggling requests from multiple renters or even running between several properties that they own or manage. Simply asking your landlord to handle maintenance or repair tasks might seem like the easiest way to do it, but it’s also the easiest way to forget about your request when they’re handling other tasks. Many landlords and property managers even require requests to be submitted in writing so the written request can be filed or reported through the system they use to handle requests.
Submitting a request letter for repair and maintenance services ensures that it goes to the right person and that your request is documented. If the problem isn’t addressed in a timely fashion, your letter is proof of when you made the landlord or property manager aware of the issue. Should you need to track the problem for legal purposes, your dated letter is an important piece of evidence in the process.
How To Write a Maintenance Request Letter
When writing a maintenance request letter, include as much detail as possible. Describe what’s happening and how the problem occurs so that the person performing the repair can recreate it if needed. This information can also help them better diagnose the issue or prepare to fix it before even coming to the unit. Examples of issues you might need to be resolved include:
- A leaky faucet
- A broken washing machine
- A sliding door that’s come off of its track
- Kitchen appliance not working
Maintain a professional and polite tone when writing a request. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may have to wait several days for the repair to occur, so be patient. If the need is urgent or threatens your safety, request immediate service. Examples of urgent repair needs include:
- Broken pipes or plumbing problems that cause flooding
- A security threat, such as a door that won’t lock
- The presence of harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide
Where To Submit Your Request
Your lease agreement for the unit should outline who to contact for maintenance and repair requests. If you’re renting directly from an owner, they may handle the requests themselves and ask you to send them an email. When you rent an apartment in a complex or community, the process may be automated through an online portal. If you do submit your letter through an automated system, be sure to save any auto-response you may receive and a copy of the submission form for your records.
If you’re dealing with a major issue that impacts your safety, such as a gas or water leak or non-functional HVAC system, reach out to your point of contact via phone to let them know the urgency of the situation. Check your lease agreement for contact information for an emergency situation, and save that information where it’s easily accessible. Then, follow up any verbal communication with a written request eihte rsent into the mail or emailed.
Sample Repair Request Letter to Landlord
You can use this sample letter to a landlord for repairs, filling in your own information and any details about the problem you are experiencing in your unit.
123 Main Street #17
New York, New York 01100
September 9, 2020
345 State Street
New York, New York 01100
Dear Mr. Peterson,
I am writing this letter to request a repair within my apartment. The lock on the window facing east in the bedroom is broken, so I am no longer able to lock it when I go to bed at night or leave the apartment, creating a security concern for myself and my possessions.
On September 1, 2020, I spoke with Rhonda in the apartment office about this issue and am following up on this request with a formal letter.
Please arrange for this repair to be made as soon as possible. I am available at 505-789-0123 or [email protected] if you need to contact me with questions or to make arrangements for someone to come into the apartment and perform the repair. Please keep me updated as to the timeline for this repair request.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Using sample letters to landlords for repairs helps ensure that your request gets taken care of in a timely and professional manner. Looking for a new place? Be sure to check out thousands of apartments for rent on Zumper.
Do employers always check references? Essentially, yes. While it’s true that not 100% of Human Resources (HR) departments will call your references during pre-employment screening, many do.
If you’re about to begin a job search, you should expect to have your references checked. The references you provide to employers may be contacted about your employment history, qualifications, and the skills that qualify you for the job.
In addition, many organizations check with previous employers to get information on your work history and ability to perform on the job.
When Employers Check References
The days when employers ignored references or did not think they were important are long gone. According to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey, 92% of employers conduct background checks, usually during pre-employment screening (87%). Some even repeat checks on an annual basis (15%) or when an employee is promoted (10%).
Information routinely provided to reference checkers by surveyed employers included dates of employment, eligibility for rehire, salary history, and employability.
Who Employers Check With
On average, employers check three references for each candidate. It's important to be prepared to provide these well before you need to present them to a prospective employer.
It’s essential to select the right people and to talk to them in advance about using them as a reference. You need responsive people who can confirm that you worked there, your job title, your reason for leaving, and other details.
The people you list should be able to attest to your performance and your responsibilities, so keep your references as current as possible. The easiest way to provide them to employers is to put together a list of references you can share with hiring managers.
In addition to a list of references, you may be asked for contact information for your current supervisor. However, prospective employers should get your permission before contacting your supervisor so as not to jeopardize your current position. You can ask that your supervisor not be contacted until you're further along in the hiring process.
It’s perfectly acceptable to use references other than your employer. Business acquaintances, customers, vendors, and even friends can all make good references. If you volunteer, consider using leaders or other members of the organization as references.
What Your References Will Be Asked
What do prospective employers want to know about you? They’ll be seeking to learn about everything from how you would fit the position you're interviewing for to whether you were a dependable employee for your previous employer.
Tell your references what type of job you are applying for and what you think the employer might want to know, and then ask them what responses they would give.
It is better to get an unpleasant surprise in advance. If the reference isn’t going to be positive, you can always ask a different person for the reference. If you’re concerned about an employer giving you a bad reference, it’s even more important to know what your other references are going to say.
It's Important to Stick to the Facts
If you're tempted to stretch the truth about your work history, don't do it. The risks of being discovered are high. A CareerBuilder survey reports that 75% of Human Resources (HR) managers have caught a lie on a resume. You don't want to be one of the candidates whose resume wasn't accurate.
Concerned About What They Are Going to Say About You?
You may be concerned about your work history or about what former employers will say about your background. There are companies that will check your references and provide a report. If the information is incorrect, you can take steps to get it updated. Before you select a company, comparison shop to determine the best service and fee structure for your needs.
If you do find out that your previous employers will give you less-than-stellar reports, you can still get ahead of the problem. You may be able to negotiate a better reference from a former manager, or persuade HR to inform the manager of any company policies prohibiting specific references. (Many organizations have a policy of only providing job titles and dates of employment, for example.)
Most HR Departments Check References During Employment Screening: According to a SHRM survey, 87% of employers do reference checks as part of the hiring process.
Expect to Have Your References Checked: Potential employers will likely learn about your employment history, eligibility for rehire, and job performance.
Good References Are Responsive, as Well as Positive: When you’re screening potential references, ask them about their availability to speak with HR representatives, as well as what they’re likely to say about your performance.
Get Ahead of a Bad Reference: Find out what your former employers and colleagues would say about you if asked, so that you can mitigate the damage.
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Filling out a rental application can feel daunting. Gathering personal information and proof of income is a time-consuming part of it, but then you also have to choose your rental reference. Rental references, or referrals, are votes of confidence from people who know you in a personal, financial, educational, professional, or prior rental experience setting. Having a few qualified people who can vouch for you is one of the things that could help ensure a landlord chooses you.
These people can include current co-workers, past professors, previous employers, family friends, mentors, or former landlords. Your ideal rental reference will know you well enough that they can speak to your character and express to your potential landlord that you’ll be a great tenant. It’s best to choose someone who can confirm you have the qualities of a good renter: timeliness, cleanliness, financial stability, maturity, and responsibility.
The ideal rental reference
Usually, a property manager or landlord will require two rental references. In a perfect world, you would want to include a past landlord who can talk positively about you as a tenant, confirm your ability to pay rent on time, and offer up some kind words about your tenancy. Past landlords are the most reputable among anyone.
For your other personal reference, make sure to choose people who know you well. Try to avoid family members, close friends, or anyone who might appear to be writing a skewed reference because of their close relationship with you. Significant others or good friends are not the best to use as rental references, as they may have some personal interest in the matter and won’t be seen as objective.
No rental history? No problem
If you’ve never rented before, don’t stress! You can still find people who are great renting references. You can choose:
- Former employers
These people can inform your landlord what you might be like as a tenant, based on their experience working, coaching, or managing you. References like these will speak to more than just, “she always paid rent on time,” and will demonstrate your character.
For example, a coach can speak to your positive attitude and willingness to follow team rules. A former employer can vouch for your shining attendance and timeliness, as well as how long you’ve been employed and any positive information regarding your performance. These personal references will give the landlord a better idea of who you are as a person and help convince them you’re the right person to take over the lease.
Don’t let bad credit hold you back
Having a quality personal reference is a valuable part of the rental process, and it’s even more so if you have bad credit. Landlords usually run a credit check to see how you’ve handled your money in the past, and how it might affect their rent collection. References can help vouch for your spending habits or clear up any additional questions your landlord might have in terms of your financial responsibility. Make sure you have strong personal references if renting with bad credit; they could make all the difference!
Prepare, prepare, prepare
Sometimes people simply don’t have the time to write a letter of referral for you, especially on short notice. In this situation, be prepared and suggest an alternative: collect the preferred contact information from each of your rental references, and pass it along to the prospective landlord. If the landlord chooses to reach out, your referral will be able to respond at their convenience. If that doesn’t work, consider using a rental reference template and write the letter yourself. Your referral can read it over and sign off without having to do any of the work.
Make sure to have a backup referral or two just in case. Personal references are one of the most important aspects of standing out in the rental application process , so make sure you choose wisely and prepare so you can move into that dream apartment.
Looking for a new place to live? Search thousands of apartments on Zumper and get your references in order. Moving day will be here before you know it.
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A little introduction.
I initially started this blog because I wanted to document my every step to becoming a BTL landlord, in hope that others’ (with more experience) would discover my dronings and have the heart to help me – a beetle on its back – along the way. I literally didn’t have a clue about being a landlord when I started this website.
Having expanded my property portfolio over the years, I now occassionally blog about my bitter life as a Landlord, so fellow Landlords (prospective, new, and seasoned) can learn from my few successes and frequent failures.
This project started 5523 bloody days ago.
Important / How this website works.
It’s critical you understand that this is only a personal blog, and while the aim is to provide the best resources, guides, tips, tools and techniques for the letting industry, primarily for landlords and tenants, the information should not be relied upon to make any decisions.
Everything I share is based on my own personal experiences as a landlord and independent research, the information is NOT guaranteed to be perfect or accurate, which means you should always seek advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters.
Yes, I do my utmost to ensure the information I share is accurate at the date of publication and thereafter with ongoing maintenance, however, unfortunately, it’s not always possible as prices and terms and conditions of products and services frequently change by the provider, so you should always do your own due diligence and double-check first. Any information you choose to use, you do so at your own risk.
If you’ve managed people for some time, chances are you’ve been asked to provide a rental reference letter for one of your subordinates. When you write a recommendation letter for an employee you act as a representative of the company your work for, which is why it’s so important to know how to structure the rental reference letter from an employer and what to include.
What is a rental reference letter from an employer
A rental reference letter from an employer or supervisor is a document written to a future landlord about an employee or former employee. It’s designed is to confirm that a prospective tenant has a stable job and income, is trustworthy and is responsible. Additionally, it should confirm that the employee can adhere to rules and meet deadlines. Rental recommendation letters are usually included with rental applications. Usually, such letters are written by supervisors or representatives of human resources departments.
How to write a rental reference letter for an employee
- Know what you can or cannot say. You may not disclose any personal information such as your employee’s salary. You can mention that their employment and income are stable and sufficient to support their needs. Make sure to check company rules before writing this letter.
- Keep it short and relevant. Include basic information about their employment with your company or organization, such as dates of employment and title. Additionally, speak to their positive qualities that could also make them a good tenant, such as responsibility, trustworthiness, ability to follow rules.
- Keep it structured. To avoid writing too little or too much, follow this simple structure: your name, company name and contact information, addressee’s name and contact information, or “to whom it may concern”; greeting, introduction, body of the letter, conclusion, sign off, signature.
- Avoid being overly emotional. To make your letter impactful, you should sound professional and unbiased. Stick to facts. Instead of saying that they are the best employee in the whole world, list qualities that make them great at what they do. Be sure to mention if they handle any financial manners.
- Always be honest. No matter how much you want to help out your subordinate, never lie in a rental reference letter. Therefore, be prepared to support your claims with appropriate evidence.
- Be responsive. A landlord might want to call to verify your statement. If you provide your phone number as the main way to reach you, make sure to respond to all incoming calls.
- Use a template. To make it easier for yourself, use a reference letter template we created specifically for employers and supervisors.
Rental reference letter sample from an employer or supervisor
Apple Hill Apartments
1 Apple Hill
San Francisco, CA 94104
Re: Rental reference letter for Anne Williams,
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to you with regards to Anne Williams and her credibility as a potential tenant at your rental property. I am Creative Producer at Apartment List where Anne is currently employed, and act as her direct supervisor.
Anne Williams has been employed with Apartment List for the past three years and I have known her for two and a half years. I am writing to confirm that Anne is in good standing with Apartment List, and has a stable job and income. Anne’s income is sufficient to provide for her needs.
It is without hesitation that I write this recommendation letter for Anne. She continuously demonstrates accountability and responsibility, and performs required tasks on time. Anne is honest and trustworthy. In addition to that, she handles contractor budgets on our teams, and always pays their commissions on time. Additionally, Anne hasn’t been involved in any conflicts to my knowledge, is a team player and demonstrates a high level of emotional intelligence.
To sum up, I believe that the aforementioned qualities will make Anne a good, responsible tenant.
If you have any questions regarding Anne’s employment or my recommendation, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email.
This is a critical point in the process of finding the right tenant.
Earlier in the tenant screening checklist, we discussed how increasing the number of applicants will increase your chances of finding “the one.”
Let’s take a minute to pull yourself out of your landlord shoes and into the parental shoes in the video below.
When trying to find the right tenant, you can save yourself a lot of time by knowing what questions to ask potential tenants.
Marketing a vacant rental property means you will be getting email and phone calls from interested prospective tenants with all kinds of questions.
Save time for both you and the interested caller by conducting a pre-showing interview (over the phone) that reveals whether you are right for each other.
You can also introduce a “Pre-screening survey” via Google forms into your process to automatically weed out some applicants (see video at the bottom on this page for details).
In this comic “Trimming the Fat” Laura explains to her son why she conducts these “Pre-Screening” interviews over the phone.
After answering the caller’s questions about the rental property, mention that you have a few questions of your own that will help them determine whether the rental property is a good fit for them.
It also gives you a chance to see whether the caller meets your initial criteria for screening.
20 Questions To Ask Potential Tenants:
- Do you currently rent, and if so, where?
- How long have you lived in your current home?
- Why are you looking for a new place to live?
- What date would you want to move in?
- What kind of work do you do?
- What is a rough estimate of your income?
- How many people would be living with you?
- How many people living with you smoke?
- How many parking spaces would you require if you rent here?
- How many pets do you have?
- Do you think your current landlord will give you a favorable reference?
- Does your current landlord know you are thinking of moving?
- Have you ever had an eviction?
- Are you familiar with our rental application process?
- Are there any issues I should know about before I run a background screening for all the adults in the household?
- Have you filed for bankruptcy recently?
- Will you be fine to pay our lease application fee of ($ amount) if you fill out the application?
- Would you be able to pay the security deposit of ($ amount) at the lease signing?
- Are you willing to sign a 1-year lease agreement?
- Do you have any questions for me about the process?
Based on what kind of answers the caller provides, you may be able to save both of you a lot of time and energy.
Trim the fat before you cook the steak, not after.
For example, after you ask about the caller’s pets and you explain about your pet policy, you both may come to the understanding that their application would be denied based on pet ownership.
They may also learn something about the rental that doesn’t suit them and declines to pursue the property any further.
Either way, you have conducted an efficient pre-showing interview that gives you time to work with truly qualified applicants.
How to create a pre-screening survey using Google Forms
A Google Form can be a handy tool in your landlord toolbelt.
In the video below we show you how to create a Google Form to automatically weed out bad applicants from your rental listings.
How To Screen Applicants After Initial Questions
The purpose of the pre-screening questions is to limit the number of bad applicants you show your rental unit to.
If the applicant sounds good over the phone and passes your initial criteria, you will want to show them the rental.
In the next chapter, we will share tips for showing your rental property.
Your priority as a landlord might be to undertake reference checks, have the tenancy agreement signed and the new tenants settled into their new home. However, it’s also important to keep up maintenance on the property, which is why periodic inspections are vital.
When to perform periodic inspections
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 allows landlords to enter the premises to view its ‘condition and state of repair’. However, you must provide the tenant with at least 24 hours’ written notice. Also, you can only perform an inspection at ‘reasonable times of the day’.
Regular checks throughout the year are vital to ensure maintenance issues are caught as soon as possible. Avoiding unnecessary costs and complaints from the tenants is key. However, you won’t want to undertake checks too often, as it could be seen as harassment.
It’s at least worth performing periodic inspections seasonally, as the change in weather conditions can cause or unveil issues.
What to look out for
Periodic inspections are handy for three reasons:
- Highlighting any repairs that are needed
- Checking up on general wear and tear
- Ensuring that the tenants are also looking after the property
We’ve suggested the following tips to help with your inspection:
How clean is your house?
How tenants use the space they’re paying for is up to them, so there’s no need to point out clutter. However, any food waste left out could attract unwanted pests, which can be an expensive problem to sort out.
Similarly, if they aren’t cleaning the property properly, this could result in stubborn and hard to remove stains forming.
Landlord periodic inspections: A checklist for your property
Look for leaks
Have a look at the ceilings for any brown or damp-looking patches. If you see signs of water damage, there may be a leak. Also, check taps and any accessible pipes for leakages. Outside of the property, take a look at drains for signs of blockages.
Such issues can be costly to fix and have negative effects on the health of those living in the property, as they could lead to mould growing in damp areas.
Service the appliances
Any appliances included as part of the tenancy should be inspected, to make sure they are still in good working order.
Landlords are legally required to have all gas equipment maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer. A gas safety check must be done annually. The latest record must be given to the tenant within 28 days of the check.
All electrical systems, such as sockets and light fittings, should also be safe.
A smoke alarm is legally required on each floor and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel-burning appliance. Test them to ensure they are all still working.
Your local fire and rescue services might be able to offer a Safe and Well visit. This is a free check to identify potential fire risks and provide occupants with a fire escape plan. They can also test your smoke alarms for you.
Look out for any suspicious behaviour, in case of illegal activity. There’s no need to assume the worst, but if anything doesn’t seem right it might become a bigger problem if you ignore it.
For example, tenants who are reluctant to allow you to inspect the property could be using it for illegal activity such as cannabis farming.
Remember attics/lofts and basements
If the property has an attic and/or a basement, remember to also check for signs of leaks or pests. You may feel it’s an extra hassle, but you may regret not being thorough with your periodic inspections if any problems are left unnoticed.
Check the condition of any windows and interior beams in these areas.
Landlord periodic inspections: A checklist for your property
You may include a clause in your tenancy agreements stating that tenants must also look after the garden. If you do, then you will want to make sure that they are doing as expected.
The outside area should be kept clear of debris and rubbish, as this could lead to pest problems and unwanted wildlife. Check that the lawn and flowerbeds are neat and not overgrown.
The guttering can also benefit from a check to make sure there are no blockages or broken pipes and brackets.
Record the results
It can beneficial to write up a result of all findings. If there is anything wrong with the property, be sure to take photographs to add to the report. Consider doing this on a room by room basis, in order to make sure that nowhere is missed.
If you are using a letting agent, their report will confirm whether a thorough inspection has been undertaken.
Other landlord tips to consider
Relationships need maintenance too!
Get off to a good start by swapping contact details and making sure your tenants know the best method of contact for yourself or any letting agent involved.
Maintaining this relationship throughout the tenancy will make it easier when you need to get in touch to arrange periodic inspections. Most tenants will be understanding and willing to let you look around, but it’s always best to be polite and respectful with your request and during the visit.
It is also worth reminding them during check-in that you will be in touch at certain points in the year to arrange future periodic inspections.
What to do if you are refused entry
There are two reasons why a tenant may refuse to allow you into the property. One is simply if they don’t know you very well they may feel reluctant to let a stranger into their home (all the more reason to get the relationship off to a positive start). Others might refuse entry because they are trying to hide something they don’t want you to see.
If you feel you have done all you can to arrange a reasonable date and time to visit, and they still won’t give you permission, you might have to apply for a court order. To enter otherwise could be considered trespassing or harassment.
A Section 21 or Section 8 notice may be used if you need to evict them from the property. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the Government is currently considering scrapping Section 21 from The Housing Act 1988.
Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed in the above article are those of the author only and are for guidance purposes only. The author disclaims any liability for reliance upon those opinions and would encourage readers to rely upon more than one source before making a decision based on the information.