What Can A Landlord Say When Giving A Reference?

As a landlord, providing references for your tenants is important for their future tenancy opportunities. However, there are legal limitations on what you can say to avoid potential issues. Understanding what to include and what to avoid in a tenant reference is crucial to maintain legal compliance and fairness.

Key Points to Include in a Tenant Reference:

When giving a reference for a former tenant, it is important to focus on specific details that are related to their tenancy and behavior as a renter.

Here are key points to include:

  • Rental Payment History: Mention if the tenant paid rent on time, missed any payments, or caused any financial issues.
  • Property Maintenance: Highlight how well the tenant maintained the property during their tenancy.
  • Communication and Behavior: Comment on the tenant’s communication skills, behavior towards neighbors, and adherence to property rules.
  • Length of Tenancy: Specify the duration of the tenant’s stay in the rental property.

What Landlords Should Avoid Saying in a Reference:

When providing a reference, landlords should refrain from including certain information that could lead to legal consequences.

Here are some things to avoid:

  • Discriminatory Remarks: Never include discriminatory remarks based on race, gender, religion, or any other protected characteristic.
  • False Statements: Avoid providing false information about the tenant’s behavior or rental history.
  • Personal Opinions: Do not include personal opinions that are not related to the tenant’s tenancy.
  • Confidential Information: Refrain from sharing any confidential information about the tenant without their consent.

Legal Considerations When Giving a Reference:

It’s essential for landlords to be aware of the legal implications of providing references.

Here are some key legal considerations:

  1. Truthfulness: Ensure that the information provided in the reference is truthful and accurate.
  2. Consistency: Be consistent in the information you provide to avoid potential discrepancies.
  3. Privacy Laws: Adhere to privacy laws and regulations when sharing tenant information.
  4. Permission: Obtain the tenant’s permission before sharing any personal or sensitive information.

Sample Phrases for Tenant References:

AspectSample Phrase
Rental Payment History“The tenant consistently paid rent on time without any delays.”
Property Maintenance“The tenant kept the property clean and reported any maintenance issues promptly.”
Communication and Behavior“The tenant was respectful towards neighbors and followed all property rules.”
Length of Tenancy“The tenant resided in the property for two years and fulfilled the lease agreement.”

By following these guidelines and being mindful of legal considerations, landlords can provide valuable references for their tenants while avoiding legal pitfalls.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Information Should A Landlord Include In A Reference?

A landlord should include details like tenant’s rental history, payment reliability, and behavior towards the property.

How Important Is A Landlord Reference For Tenants?

A landlord reference is crucial for tenants as it verifies their reliability, responsibility, and helps in securing future rental opportunities.

Can A Landlord Give A Negative Reference?

Yes, a landlord can provide a negative reference if the tenant has demonstrated irresponsible behavior or had significant issues during their tenancy.

How Does A Positive Landlord Reference Benefit Tenants?

A positive landlord reference showcases the tenant’s reliability, trustworthiness, and responsibility, increasing their chances of securing future rental properties.


Giving a tenant reference as a landlord requires careful consideration to ensure legal compliance and fairness. By focusing on specific details related to the tenant’s tenancy, avoiding discriminatory remarks or false statements, and adhering to legal considerations, landlords can provide valuable references while protecting themselves from legal risks. Additionally, understanding the importance of tenant references and providing positive feedback can benefit tenants in securing future rental opportunities.

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