Have you ever received a request from a former tenant asking for a reference to their future landlord? You should look at this as an opportunity to help the future landlord. After all, landlords must stick together. Just be honest in describing your experiences with a previous tenant – good or bad without embellishment.
Use the following in providing tenant references:
Be honest - above all, tell the truth. If you lie about a tenant, it could come back to haunt you. Sometimes, if you have a bad tenant, you might be tempted to say anything to a future landlord to help your tenant leave your property. If you provide false information, the future landlord can sue you for misrepresentation.
Be specific not emotional – there is no reason to have one blanket description, that is not useful. Make it personalized, with a detailed description of your experience with the tenant and leave emotions out of it. Stick to the facts.
Discuss stability - mention the length of time they lived in your apartment and if they paid rent on time every month. If there were any issues with the rent or utility payments, the new landlord needs to know.
Discuss cleanliness - describe the tenant’s level of cleanliness. Did you have pest problems caused by the tenant? Did they trash the carpets or stain the floors?
Be accountable - assume the future tenant will read your letter or listen to your phone conversation. Do not say anything that you would not want published on the front page of the paper. Be able to support any claim that you make with proper documentation or evidence.
If the request was in writing, answer back in writing.