How To Write A Tenant Reference Letter (Sample Letter)

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landlord tenant reference

Renters Need A Tenant Reference Letter When They Move

Growing up I was always surrounded by my parents having to deal with tenants who lived in their rental properties.

It wasn’t uncommon for the phone to ring in the middle of the night because of a tenant emergency that had to be tended to.

The tough part about becoming a landlord is not so much keeping the rental in great shape it’s dealing with the tenants.

You can have the greatest tenants one year and the worst the next where you just want them to move on.

I think that is why Mrs. CBB and I have been reserved when it comes to purchasing a rental home as a property investment.

Having both of our parents dabble in the rental industry witnessing just about everything it’s easy to forget about this type of income stream.

Home Buying With Income Potential

When we bought our home in 2009 we talked about finding a house with a basement apartment and income potential.

That’s when all of the flashbacks of our parents jumping into tenant survival mode kicked in.

It’s not all green and living on the upper level of a home with someone underneath us just didn’t sit right on many levels.

Our biggest fears were the house burning down, hoarders, property theft and damage with not knowing who was visiting.

On a slightly less bothered note would be loud children, crying babies, animals and arguing.

If you think about it there are so many pros and cons to becoming a landlord sometimes not living on the property is the best option.

Renting Rooms For Extra Income

room rental

Since we couldn’t afford a rental property we decided that if we were going to have a renter it would be a room rental.

Renting a room is far easier although you have the renter in your space and we’d only do it again if we needed the money.

Not everyone is good with loss of privacy but it turned out that we got used to it especially since we didn’t have children.

We spent years renting rooms to international students through the Red Leaf Canada program which was tax-free income.

That was great and the students were amazing to be around and have joined our family for a month at a time.

Paying Our Mortgage Faster

Once that ended we dabbled in renting one or both of our spare bedrooms on the upper level of our home.

The extra $500 a month or $6000 a year for each room would go towards paying down our mortgage.

Sometimes the dollar signs far outweigh the cons in any situation especially when you have goals in mind.

The room rental came with a private full bathroom, kitchen use, laundry, unlimited wi-fi, cable, and parking.

Out of the four tenants that we had only 2 of them turned out to be what we would have expected from someone renting a room in our home.

The other two, well let’s just say we couldn’t wait to get rid of them.

We never did rent both rooms at the same time apart from one overlap which proved frustrating for bathroom use.

Renting Without Tenant References

Oddly enough the two that were the worst tenants we met both sets of parents and relied heavily on their feedback.

Of course, their children were ideal tenants and would treat our home like it was their own.


When you are dealing with students like we did who have never rented their parents may be your only reference source.

After the fourth room rental, we decided to focus on finding other ways to pay off our mortgage faster.

Another consideration is potential tenants without Canadian rental references.

Before I moved to Canada I made sure to collect any and all reference letters just to have them on hand.

One important one was an insurance reference letter which is a whole other story, but it came in handy.

Thankfully, we thrived financially with working overtime, focus groups, couponing and rewards programs paired with thrifty living.

Tenant Reference Letter Request

About a year later we received a phone call from one of the young men who rented a room from us.

He worked for a local government agency at the time in our area and had moved to a new facility which is why he left us.

The young man didn’t want to rent an apartment at the time because he wasn’t sure where his new career was going to take him.

It was nice to hear from him and to know he was doing well but the reason for his call was that he asked if we could provide him with a tenant reference letter.

This was the first time we had ever encountered such a request and happy to help him out.

The potential landlord that he was working with asked for a tenant reference letter to protect themselves.

To be honest I don’t think this is uncommon and comparable to providing reference phone numbers on a rental application.

What is a tenant reference letter?

A tenant reference letter is also known as a tenant recommendation letter or rental reference letter is a way to help your current tenant find a new place to live.

Tenant Reference Letter Questions

You may be writing a tenant reference letter for a friend or perhaps you are the landlord being asked like we were.

Many landlords before they approve a rental application they request a tenant reference letter and want specific questions answered.

Overall, the new landlord is looking for a character reference letter to make sure you are ;

  • an excellent tenant
  • pay your rent on time
  • quiet
  • clean
  • honest
  1. Did the tenant always pay his/her rent on time each month? How much was his/her monthly rent?
  2. Would you rent to this tenant again?
  3. Did the tenant pay their utilities in full and on time each month?
  4. Were inspections of the property to your satisfaction while the tenant lived with you or at a property you own?
  5. Did you have any complaints?
  6. What was the address of the property?
  7. How long was the tenancy?
  8. Past landlord contact information

There are other questions a landlord can and cannot ask in regards to your rental application but a tenant reference letter just needs to be honest.

Sample Tenant Reference Letter For Landlord

tenant reference letter sample

You can also visit my Free Downloads Page and download the Word document template for free.

Landlord Tenant Reference Letter

Landlord |


To Whom It May Concern:

This landlord tenant reference letter is to confirm tenancy of (John Doe) at 123 Canadian Budget Binder Avenue, in Toronto, Ontario from _________ to _________, 20__.

While renting from me the tenant paid $_____ due at the beginning of each month and was always on time.

The utility bills were also paid in full and there were never any concerns.

During tenancy, there were no complaints by other tenants or neighbours.

Upon inspection of the property inside and out I was always satisfied with how neat and tidy the tenant treated my home.

I have never had to take any legal action towards (John Doe) and have never executed an eviction notice.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend (John Doe) as a tenant and would rent to him again if needed.

If you have additional questions you can contact me by phone at (519) 333-4444 or by email at  at any time.



Landlords and Tenants Do Your Homework

Just as a landlord may request a tenant reference letter a tenant may request a landlord reference letter.

This is the exact same thing but a reference from a past or current tenant that describes the landlord.

I guess it goes both ways but if you really need a place to live sometimes you just take what you can get.

The only problem with this is that you must deal with the consequences if they don’t turn out in your favour.

My advice is to be a good tenant and landlords look after your tenants and renting will be a positive experience for everyone.

Discussion: Have you ever asked a previous landlord for a tenant reference letter or have been asked to provide one?

Share your experiences below for other readers looking for more information.


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