Landlord & Tenant References

In this guide, you'll learn why acting as a Landlord reference isn't the smartest move (and what to do if you ignore this advice).

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Don't Act As a Reference
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What To Know If You Are a Reference


Smart Landlords screen Tenants.  Speaking with a Tenant's past Landlord is a good way to do this (just make sure you're not asking something illegal).  If you get hit up as a Landlord reference, think twice before offering your thoughts.

Why you should not be a Landlord reference

If someone asks about a former Tenant, you are not required to respond.  And any suggestion that there's an "unwritten rule" that Landlords work together to discuss Tenants is nonsense (and likely illegal).

Landlords and Tenants can sue you for sharing your thoughts, even if the comments were honest.  There's *almost* no upside to being a reference.  The law doesn't require it.  And you're giving someone a reason to sue.

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What to know if you want to be a Landlord reference

If you want to respond, keep these in mind:

  • Get written permission from the Tenant to speak with the Landlord
  • Stick to the facts (make sure you can prove it in court)
  • Limit the conversation to payment of rent and damage to the property 


I feel bad and want to help.  What can I respond with?  Try this: "I'm sorry, we do not disclose information on former Tenants.  Have a great day!"

Do I need permission to speak with the Landlord?  Yes, get written consent from the Tenant.

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This article is for general information purposes only and should not be considered legal advice or legal opinion on any specific case and/or circumstance.  This article does not create an attorney/client relationship.  No guarantee for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should be based solely on advertisements.