Who to Choose as a Personal Reference for Rental Applications

Who to Choose as a Personal Reference for Rental Applications

Who to Choose as a Personal Reference for Rental Applications

Finding a rental property that suits your wants and needs can be a daunting task, but once you’ve found the perfect place, the next step is to secure the rental. One crucial aspect of this process is providing personal references that can vouch for your character and reliability.

Personal references can help show a landlord or property manager that you will be a responsible tenant, making them an essential part of the rental application process. But how do you choose the right personal references for your rental application? In this blog, we’ll explore some tips and guidelines to help you select the most effective personal references to improve your chances of landing your dream rental.

What is a Personal Reference for a Rental Application?

A personal reference for a rental application is a recommendation provided by someone who knows the applicant in a personal capacity. This reference is typically included as part of the rental application and serves to provide the landlord or property manager with additional information about the applicant’s character and behavior.

Personal references can come from a variety of sources, including family members, friends, and colleagues. They may be asked to comment on the applicant’s reliability, responsibility, and other essential traits for a prospective tenant. A solid personal reference can help bolster an applicant’s chances of being selected for a rental property, as it can assure the potential landlord or property manager that the applicant is trustworthy and responsible.

Who Should You Consider as Your Personal Reference for Your Rental Application?

Choosing the right personal reference for your home rental application is critical in securing your dream rental property. A good reference should be someone who can confidently attest to your character, reliability, and financial stability. Consider individuals who know you well in a professional or academic setting, such as former employers, co-workers, professors, or former landlords. It’s crucial to make sure that your potential reference is comfortable providing a recommendation for you.

Choosing the Ideal Personal Reference for Your Home Rental Application

When submitting a rental application, choosing references who can speak positively about your personal and professional qualities is essential.

Significant others, family members, or friends may not always be the best choices, as they may be perceived as biased. Instead, consider people who know you in a professional or academic setting, such as former employers, co-workers, or professors. Additionally, if you have previously rented, former landlords or property managers can provide valuable insight into your rental history. In this way, you can choose references that will help to assure the landlord or property manager that you are a responsible and trustworthy tenant.

Most importantly, seek out someone who can validate that you have the characteristics of a good tenant, including timeliness, financial stability, maturity, and accountability.

Former property managers

One of the most valuable rental references you can obtain is from a former property manager who can speak positively about your rental history. This person can provide important insights about your willingness and ability to pay rent promptly and follow the terms of your lease.

Moreover, they can give a prospective landlord a professional perspective on your maintenance of the rental property and level of cleanliness. With this type of reference, you can significantly increase the likelihood of a future landlord or property manager viewing you as a dependable and responsible tenant.

Current co-workers

Your current co-workers can also be valuable personal references. They can confirm your employment and stable income, which are crucial factors property managers consider when evaluating potential tenants.

Also, co-workers who know you well can vouch for personal qualities, such as responsibility and maturity, that make you a desirable renter.

Previous employers

A previous employer can verify your employment history and past income, reassuring landlords or property managers that you have a stable work history.

Additionally, if you had a good working relationship with your previous employer, they may be able to attest to qualities that would make you a good tenant, such as your reliability, punctuality, and courteousness towards others. These traits can translate to paying rent on time and being a respectful and responsible neighbor, both of which will help strengthen your rental application.


As a trusted guide in your academic or professional career, a mentor is usually an individual that is well-respected in a given industry. They can assess your strengths and weaknesses and help you become a better person.

Since they are familiar with your best qualities and skills, they can share this information with a property manager. This insight can be beneficial when trying to secure a rental property, as it provides a more comprehensive picture of you as a potential tenant.

The Importance of Personal References when Renting with a Low Credit Score

A reliable personal reference is essential to the rental application process, especially if you have a history of bad or low credit.

Landlords typically run a credit check to assess your financial responsibility and ensure that rent collection is possible. Having personal references can corroborate your spending habits and address any lingering concerns your landlord might have.

Personal Reference for Rental Applications

Preparing Your Personal Reference Letter for Your Rental Application

Ideally, your personal reference rental application letter will be written (in detail) by the individual acting as a reference. However, there are some situations in which you might not have enough time to request a complete letter. In those cases, an alternative option is to provide your reference’s contact information so that the property manager/landlord can reach out directly.

FAQs: Choosing a Personal Reference for Your Rental Application

How should you ask someone to be your personal reference?

Because you should know your personal reference relatively well, how you ask them to provide a recommendation will largely depend on your relationship with them, communication style, availability, and so on. You might choose to simply ask them in a face-to-face conversation or via phone or email.

Regardless of how you ask, make sure you communicate clearly with the person before sharing their contact information with a property manager/landlord.

What do my personal references need to submit?

The requirements for personal references can vary depending on the rental application. In some cases, a brief written reference (one page or less) may be sufficient. Personal references can either write a custom letter or use a rental reference letter template as a guide.

On the other hand, some property managers may prefer to contact personal references by phone and speak with them directly. It’s important to check with the landlord or property manager to understand their preferred method of receiving and evaluating personal references.

When should I provide my personal references?

Generally, you will want to include your personal references when submitting your rental application.

When you provide your personal references along with your application, the property manager can have a complete picture of your rental history and character. This can make it easier for the property manager to evaluate your application and make an informed decision about renting to you. Plus, having your references readily available can streamline the application process and ensure that all necessary information is provided upfront.

Will all rental applications require personal references?

It’s common for rental applications to require two personal references, but some may ask for a different number or not require any at all. Showing your commitment to the application process by providing all requested information can make a positive impression on the landlord or property manager and increase your chances of securing the property.

In what situations would I need to submit personal references?

In some situations, only first-time renters are asked to submit a personal reference list. However, many other prospective landlords and property managers have made quality references a standard part of the application process.

Who should I use as a reference if I do not have any previous rental history?

If you’re a first-time renter, some personal reference options include your current or past employers, colleagues, professors, and/or mentors/coaches.

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