Who Should Be Your Personal References on Your Rental Application?

April 25, 2022
references on a rental application

Finding a new rental can be stressful enough. Finding solid, reliable personal references on a rental application can make the process even more of a headache.

Luckily, there are ways to make this process less difficult than it has to be.   

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Importance of personal references on a rental application

Figuring out how to make your rental application different from the rest can be taxing if you do not know where to start. Well, let’s look at one of the places where you can show off your character: personal references. 

It is typical for landlords to allocate the job of managing tenants to professional property managers. The main goal of the tenant is to prove to both the property manager and landlord that they are a great choice for living in their building.

To do this, you must show them that you will take care of the property, consistently pay rent on time, and be a reliable tenant during your lease. Nobody wants to deal with untrustworthy, sporadic people especially when it comes to something as significant as a living situation. 

To make sure that you hold all the best qualities of a reliable tenant, property managers will typically require at least one rental reference to be included in the rental application process. 

The tricky part is, how do you know who to put as a reference on your rental application? How many referees or references need to be included? 

Figuring out the answers to these questions sooner rather than later can set you up for the utmost success with your rental application

How many referees are necessary?

According to experts in the field of property and rentals, having two personal references for your rental application is recommended. 

It is also recommended to receive these two personal references from the two most recent property managers that you have lived under. This is widely known as the best way to go about references.  

The would-be property manager is also responsible for attaining a copy of your rental ledgers from those properties. Rental ledgers are essentially an official record of every payment that a tenant has made to their property owner. 

Whether the rental ledger comes in the form of a physical document or an electronic record, your past rental history will be on full display. This is why having a strong reference can make all the difference. 

If you have someone in mind who has gone through this process before, you can consult that person about strategies to improve your application. Although you will not be personally responsible for writing it, knowing the best structure and points to make is a definite advantage. 

Do personal references work? 

Personal references definitely work on a rental application, but it is not the preferred route to take. This is because they do not hold as much weight as a rental reference from a previous landlord or property manager.

A tenant reference letter from someone close to you, such as a family or friend, can be effective since you have more power over what is mentioned in the letter. On the other hand, their opinions may hold less power to your prospective property manager.

This is why experts recommend steering towards a more professional direction. If you are a renter who is getting into the market for the first time, though, this may be a roadblock for you. 

In that case, personal references may be your only choice. The property manager has no choice but to regard it as an official reference, so you do not need to worry about its validity.

As long as you have a good grasp on how to write a rental reference, putting together a personal reference letter is acceptable.  

references on a rental application

Who would make a good referee?

Depending on what kind of reference you are searching for, it is important to prioritise who you believe would write your rental history in the best light possible.

The best referees for a potential tenant to put on their rental application are the most recent property managers because they will be able to provide a current scope of your rental history. 

Opinions coming from former property managers matter a lot more than any other references. These people have experienced having you as a tenant and are well versed, which is why your soon-to-be property manager will most likely consider their opinion above all else.    

Property managers look to see if you will pay rent on time, take care of the property, and are generally a pleasant human being. This is why being as amicable as possible with your property manager is helpful in the long run.  

What to do if you don’t have any possible referees?

If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know who to turn to for a rental reference or personal reference, you can apply for a rental without any referees.

The only problem with taking this route is that the property manager will have no way to verify the information you have provided. Being proven as reliable is one of the most important factors in being considered as a potential tenant. 

In some circumstances, people ask to put their parents’ names on the lease, but this is only considered when it comes to certain cases or situations.  

references on a rental application

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