Who Should Be Your Personal References on Your Rental Application?

June 10, 2024
references on a rental application

Key takeaways:

  • Choose references who can vouch for your rental history, reliability, and character, like recent property managers or employers.
  • Personal references are crucial for first-time renters or those without a rental history.
  • Aim for at least two personal references to strengthen your rental application.
  • If you lack rental history, consider alternative references and provide financial proof to support your application.

Finding a new rental can be stressful enough. Securing reliable personal references for your rental application can make the process even more daunting, especially if it’s your first time renting. But don’t worry—we’re here to make it easier.

There’s a lot to prepare for in your rental application, from gathering documents like your passport number to crafting the perfect cover letter. To help you stand out, we’ve compiled essential tips and renter hacks on deciding who should be your personal references that can simplify this process.

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Why Personal References Matter

Your rental application needs to showcase your reliability and trustworthiness. One way to do this is through strong personal references. Property managers and landlords look for tenants who will take care of the property, pay rent on time, and be dependable throughout the lease.

Personal references are crucial if you don’t have a job or rental history. They provide a way for landlords to gauge your character and reliability. If a real estate agent takes the time to call your references, it’s a good sign—they’re seriously considering your application.

Choosing the Right Personal References

It’s important to select references who will present your rental history in the best light. Ideally, the best referees are your most recent property managers. They can provide a detailed and current scope of your rental history.

How Many References Do You Need?

Experts recommend having at least two personal references on your rental application. The most effective references come from your two most recent property managers.

They will also likely provide rental ledgers, which are records of all your payments. These documents, whether physical or electronic, are crucial for verifying your rental history.

Who Should Be Your Personal References on Your Rental Application?

Depending on the type of reference you need, prioritize those who will highlight your rental history positively. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Recent Property Managers: Their opinions hold the most weight as they’ve experienced having you as a tenant.
  • Employers or Colleagues: If you lack rental history, a current employer or a trusted colleague can vouch for your responsibility and reliability.
  • Friends or Family: As a last resort, personal references from friends or family can be used, but they typically hold less weight.

Choosing the right personal references for your rental application is crucial. Depending on your rental history, you’ll want to prioritize those who can provide the most relevant and positive feedback.

Recent Property Managers

The best references are your most recent property managers. They can offer a current and comprehensive view of your rental history. Opinions from former property managers carry significant weight because they’ve directly experienced having you as a tenant.

Employers or Colleagues

If you don’t have a recent rental history or if you’re renting for the first time, consider asking your employer or a colleague. They can vouch for your reliability and responsibility, which are key traits landlords look for in tenants.

Friends or Family

When professional references are not an option, personal references from friends or family can be used. However, these are generally considered less reliable because of the personal connection. It’s best to use them only when necessary and to ensure they highlight your positive qualities effectively.

How Many References Are Necessary?

Two personal references are generally recommended for your rental application. Ensure these references come from your two most recent property managers to provide a clear and comprehensive view of your rental history.

Do Personal References Work?

Yes, personal references can be effective, especially if you lack rental history. However, they are not as strong as rental references from previous landlords or property managers.

If you live with your parents, for example, you might not have a choice but to use personal references. Ensure they are well-written and highlight your best qualities as a potential tenant.

What If You Don’t Have Any Referees?

If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know who to turn to for a rental reference, there are still ways to proceed with your rental application.

Explain Your Situation

Be upfront with the property manager about your lack of rental history or referees. Providing a clear and honest explanation can sometimes work in your favor.

Alternative References

If you don’t have previous landlords to vouch for you, consider using character references from people who know you well, such as teachers, mentors, or community leaders. These references can attest to your character and responsibility.

Financial Proof

Provide proof of your financial stability, such as bank statements or pay stubs. Demonstrating that you have the financial means to consistently pay rent can help mitigate concerns about your lack of rental references.

Personal Guarantee

In some cases, you might consider offering a personal guarantee. This involves having someone with a strong financial background, like a parent or close relative, co-sign your lease. This can provide an added layer of assurance to the landlord.

What to Do If There’s a Problem?

references on a rental application

If you find yourself without possible referees, consider these options:

  • Use Personal References: Although less effective, they can still help.
  • Provide Additional Documentation: Include extra information like pay stubs, bank statements, or a letter from your employer to strengthen your application.

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Securing the right personal references can make a significant difference in your rental application. By choosing references who can speak positively and relevantly about your rental history and character, you can boost your chances of securing your desired rental property. Remember, honesty and thoroughness in your application process will always pay off.

FAQs on Who Should Be Your Personal References on Your Rental Application?

Who to put as a personal reference?

Personal references are typically individuals who can provide insights into your character and reliability outside of a professional setting. Suitable personal references include teachers, lecturers, group or club leaders, neighbors, friends, and family members. The selected individuals should know you well enough to provide specific examples supporting statements about your character.

Can a friend do a personal reference?

Yes, friends can serve as personal references. Typically, non-family members such as friends, neighbors, or acquaintances are used to provide insights into your personal character and behavior. It’s essential that the reference can provide specific examples and has been in regular contact with you.

Who can you not use as a personal reference?

It’s best to avoid using family members as personal references for professional or rental applications. Instead, opt for previous teachers, lecturers, or other individuals who can offer an unbiased view of your character, work, and general attitude. Employers and landlords often prefer references from individuals who are not related to you.

Can a boyfriend be a personal reference?

It’s generally not advisable to use a boyfriend, spouse, parent, or sibling as a personal reference. These relationships can create bias in the reference provided. Instead, focus on choosing individuals who can offer a fair and balanced view of your character, such as long-standing friends, colleagues, or mentors.

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