Tips For Tenant References

By Rentwell

As a property manager or landlord, you'll likely be asked to give a reference for a previous client from time to time. If you had a positive experience with the client, this should be no problem.

However, telling the truth about a negative interaction, without badmouthing, can sometimes be tricky. It is your responsibility to be honest but you also want to avoid any potential legal problems with your previous tenant. This puts you in quite the predicament. Luckily, we have some tips to walk you through. Honesty is the best policy. 

Occasionally, you'll be making these references for a current tenant who is planning to move. If the tenant is loud or late on rent frequently, you might be tempted to give glowing recommendations in order to move the process along. However, the new landlord could sue for misrepresentation if you decide not to tell the truth.


Leave out emotions. 

The tenant's personality or demeanor is irrelevant. The future landlord doesn't need to know if you think your tenant was "awesome," also, don't vent your feelings. Instead, stick to facts about cleanliness, noise levels, and stability. All of this information is useful and will keep the conversation professional. 


Be prepared. 

You should have documentation or some type of proof for all of the information you're supplying to the new landlord. Additionally, you should only say things you would be comfortable with the tenant hearing. Quotes from a phone conversation may be repeated, or the tenant might have opportunity to read a letter of recommendation.


Stick to these tips and you should be able to navigate through the tenant reference process without any snags. For more information about written or verbal recommendations, read this article by Buildium.