Most landlords are happy to provide references on ex-tenants, and you’ll occasionally get a call or a letter from another landlord asking for a reference. I’ve you’ve not given or received a reference on tenants before, it can be tough to know what to say, so here’s our quick guide to giving references on your tenants.
You need to include information on whether your former tenants paid rent on time, kept the property in good condition and stuck with the contract. Whoever is asking for the reference probably isn’t too interested in whether they had nice taste in decor or were an interesting conversationalist; just keep things simple and to the point.
It’s hard, sometimes, to be honest about former tenants, but a new landlord should know about their faults if they exist. You don’t need to offer too much opinion on the matter, just let your requestor know the facts. If your tenants were habitual late payers of rent or left your property with serious damages then it needs to go in the reference. Personal disputes may not be relevant; professional ones are.
Keep Time in Mind
References are one of those things that it’s easy to put on the to-do list and not actually get round to finishing for some time. Remember that whoever has asked for the reference is quite probably waiting to sign a contract with their tenants and be sitting on an empty property and taking out unoccupied property insurance. Aim to get all reference requests back as soon as you possibly can – sometimes the easiest way to do this is to just pick up the phone!
References are one of those things that are intertwined with the etiquette of property letting and giving accurate references is important; it’s a valuable tool for all landlords and you’ll come to depend on it yourself at some point too! Be businesslike and efficient and, if a tenant really deserves a bad reference, don’t hold back: be honest!