Renters have faced increasing difficulties when securing property during 2021. The change in competition has occurred as the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold of the UK, its economy and societal changes. For many renters, their attitudes have shifted regarding where they want to live. This adjustment has reduced the availability of rental properties across the UK and enhanced the competitiveness of tenant assessments and selection. To get your foot in the door, a tenant reference letter can be invaluable.  

Currently, landlords and letting agents are facing an influx of rental applications. Processing these applications can be challenging with every candidate providing similar information. Being able to afford the property no longer has an impactful influence over success in selection. Many tenant applicants are now searching for tenant letter templates to give them the winning edge over their rivals. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the competition that tenants currently face for rental properties, how a rental reference letter can benefit you, as well as an example tenant letter template

The Current Rental Situation

The rental market has faced a significant change over the past few years. Rental properties have become harder to find. This is partially due to an increase in demand and a decrease in the supply of rental properties. This rise in competition means that landlords and letting agents must use every resource available when selecting tenants.

Previously tenants could present their application with a guarantor and an up-front deposit and be the ideal choice for letting agents. However, with so many similar candidates, landlords and letting agents want to ensure they are making the most beneficial choice. This means an individual that pays rent on time, is unlikely to create damage or cause too many problems is much more favourable. Tenant Reference Letters disclose the majority of this information, from the perspective of your previous landlord. 

This document can provide valuable information about your suitability as a tenant. For example, it reveals your overall financial stability and whether you’re likely to be an ideal tenant or not. As you’ll see in the next section, a tenant reference letter can increase your chances of being selected by letting agents and landlords. This is because they provide information that potential tenants might not otherwise include on their rental application.

Tenant Reference Letters

A Tenant Reference Letter could be the ultimate solution for rental success in today’s competitive market. The document will offer the letting agents a first-hand account of your suitability as a tenant. The rental reference letter can create a comprehensive account of your personality and behaviour. If this testimony is positive, you can portray yourself as the ideal candidate and rank yourself highly amongst the selection criteria. 

The important thing to consider is that your tenant reference letter is written by your previous landlord or letting agent. It is their account of you as a tenant. This means if you failed to make payments on time or caused malicious damage to the property, they’ll be less likely to write you a glowing review. Consider your experience with your previous rental arrangement before requesting a rental reference letter. You want to demonstrate the most positive version of yourself as a tenant.

How Do I Get a Tenant Reference Letter?

An important factor to consider is that landlords are not obligated to provide any form of reference. If you’ve had a negative experience through interaction or made complaints in the past, they may be less inclined to help you in your next rental. However, a recent reference is also far more valuable than a letter from a landlord several years or decades ago. The credibility of a tenant reference letter dated ten years prior may indicate that your behaviour has changed, or there is a reason you don’t have a more recent testimony.

If you were fortunate to have a positive relationship with your landlord, it should be fairly simple to acquire a useful rental reference letter. Simply sending them a polite email, requesting the reference letter should be adequate. It is important that you make this request in good time before the document is actually needed. As previously mentioned, landlords are not obligated to write this letter and they likely have more important tasks to complete than doing you a favour. In this case, provide 1-2 weeks before expecting your tenant reference letter. Hassling your previous landlord will only make them more motivated to write a negative review of your tenancy. 

The Benefits of a Rental Reference Letter

The information included by your prior landlord should include their experience with you as their tenant. The information should indicate whether you were pleasant to rent to, or caused hassle and concern. As a tenant, you can choose to reject the truthfulness of this letter before providing it to your potential landlord. However, if this document is compulsory, you might be obligated to share the information.

The most important aspect of a rental reference letter is that it provides insight into your character as a tenant. If this is a positive review, there are several benefits that you and the potential landlord can enjoy.

  • Trustworthiness

When letting a home, landlords are allowing strangers to live in their property in exchange for a rental payment. Whilst there are insurances and legal processes to protect their property, they want to ensure that a tenant will cause minimal bother. If the tenancy states no pets or no smoking, you want to ensure that your tenant abides by these rules. Overall, it is the wish of many landlords, that their tenants won’t cause malicious damage to the property.  

If your previous landlord is able to demonstrate that you kept the property in good repair, quickly amended any accidental damages and left the property in a good state, this will all positively impact your applications to future landlords.

  • Low Maintenance

. A good landlord reference letter should indicate that you are the type of tenant that is responsible  and looks after the property. This indicates that you are a low maintenance tenant and are far more desirable over other candidates.

  • Financial Security

For many landlords and letting agents, the highest factor on their priority list is that a tenant will pay the rent on time,. Tenants who miss rent payments and run up the costs for damage or legal fees are a landlord’s worst nightmare. Future landlords will want to avoid these types of tenants at all costs. This can be one of the particularly pertinent reasons that they may request a rental reference letter. If a recent landlord can account for your timely payments and minimal costs, you will be a far more desirable candidate than tenants with credit histories of rental arrears. 

How To Acquire a Successful Tenant Reference Letter

Whilst it is up to your previous landlord to produce the rental reference letter, it is important to know what to look for in an exemplary tenant reference letter. Your landlord will decide on the content of your letter based on your past conduct as a tenant. This is worth considering when making the request from your landlord. If you know that you were an poor tenant a useful reference may not be availaible. Otherwise, many landlords should provide a positive reference letter.

Included within your letter should be the following information.

  • The Landlord’s details and contact information

This information is often necessary for credibility. Certain tenants might consider falsifying a tenant reference letter by asking a friend to write it for them. However, if your future landlord doesn’t agree with the reliability of the letter, they might wish to contact the individual to check the validity of their reference. 

  • The Landlord’s or Letting Agents official stationery

Along the same lines as the previous point, presenting a reference that is written on official stationery indicates professionalism and credibility. The presentation of information in this way is far less likely to be made up and will allow the future landlord to check the status of the individual providing the reference.

  • The prior address and date of the tenancy. 

It may be vital to provide an up-to-date reference of your most recent tenancy period. Future landlords will likely want the most recent account of your behaviour as a tenant. This means it is important that the start and end date of your tenancy is included within the reference. 

  • Rental payments

The first piece of information your landlord will want to know is whether you are capable of making rental payments. Additionally, this information should include whether there were ever any delays in payments and what the reason provided was.

  • Contract Agreements

Within a tenant reference letter, you may also see a landlords review of whether you kept to the agreements made within the tenancy contract. This includes the use of the property, whether pets were allowed or agreements for the state of the property upon conclusion of the tenancy. 

Tenant Letter Template

The Letter Template below is anexample of a tenant reference letter:


[New Landlord’s name]

[Business name]

[Street name]


To whom it may concern,

Re: [Tenants name and address of previous rental property]

The purpose of this reference letter is to confirm that [tenants name] have let the named property since [start of tenancy date]. The rental property is a [2-bedroom detached property].

Their last rent payment was £[rent amount], which was paid on time within the terms of the tenancy agreement [payment date]. During their tenancy, they have been responsible for all rental payments. Each payment has been made in a timely manner which was due [weekly/fortnightly/monthly].

No complaints have been received from neighbours. The property and its surrounding areas were also kept neat and tidy. The full amount of rental deposit was refunded within 14-days of the tenancy end date. 

I can personally confirm that the tenant[s] were polite and friendly. No unreasonable requests or demands were made throughout the tenancy. 

[A pet dog was permitted within the tenancy agreement and was quiet and well-behaved and has caused no complaints 

Throughout the tenancy, we have not served [tenant name/s] a notice to remedy or any other legal notice. They informed us of their reason and intent to move within the agreed notice period. However, if they chose to stay at the property, we would be more than happy to continue to let to them.

You are welcome to contact me on [phone number] for any further information.

Yours Sincerely,

Final Thoughts 

Tenant reference letters are an important tool for landlords to use when considering whether or not to let their property to a certain applicant.