The Importance of Obtaining a Previous Landlord Reference

The Importance of Obtaining a Previous Landlord Reference

Whether you’re a landlord, tenant or letting agent, you will have dealt with tenant referencing checks. It’s a crucial and unavoidable part of the rental process and is a vital step for those letting a property to ensure that they have selected the best, most reliable tenant who will pay rent on time and take good care of their property. Tenant reference checks are a broad and overarching set of processes that can involve anything from credit checks, ID verification, affordability calculations and so on. One of the most integral parts of a reference check is a previous landlord reference, an incredibly important aspect for all parties involved.

What is a previous landlord reference?

A previous landlord reference is a stage of the referencing process that will involve contacting a tenants previous landlord and asking them to verify the tenants details and provide a summary of how the tenant behaved in the property. It is a process designed to give frank and honest feedback about the nature of the individual as a tenant so that a landlord can decide if they are suitable for their property. If a potential tenant has lived in rented accommodation previously this is especially important as contacting their previous landlord could help determine if they reliability pay their rent on time and if they maintained the property sufficiently.


As a landlord, it is entirely at your discretion who you choose to enter your property and it is hugely advantageous to vet the way the tenant has behaved previously with other landlords before you move forward with a tenancy agreement. Conducting a previous tenant referencing is an extremely important stage of the referencing process as it can reveal to a landlord a whole host of problems which landlords would be pleased to be aware of before committing to a tenancy.

Landlord With Hammer

Tenant Screening Tips…

Here are some things to looking out for when conducting a previous landlord reference…

  • Late payments/failure to pay rent
  • Damage to the property beyond the normal expected levels of wear and tear
  • Disruptive behaviours that caused upset to neighbours
  • Subletting without agreement
  • If the landlord says that they wouldn’t rent to the tenant again

The warning lights should start to flash if any of the above crop up. It is highly unlikely that a previous landlord would give a poor reference out of spite so take this information as highly valuable.


If you’re applying to move into a new rented home, most responsible letting agents will order a reference check on you. This is a basic requirement of all letting agent’s and ensures that you’re not using a fraudulent identity and you’re in a secure financial situation in order to pay rent on time.

Is a poor previous landlord reference a deal breaker?

Finding a new home can be disheartening and time-consuming but once you have finally found somewhere suitable for you, you could be anxious about passing referencing. Are you feeling concerned about your previous landlord giving you a poor reference? It can be a natural concern of tenants so here are some helpful tips to help you through the process:

Easy tips to pass previous landlord referencing

  • Let your referees know! – make sure your referee is aware that your tenant referencing company will be contacting them so they understand the urgency of their compliance and are not taken by surprise when contacted.
  • Get a guarantor! – If you are apprehensive about passing a referencing check and feel your previous landlord will not give you a sufficient reference, counteract this with getting a friend or relative to act as your guarantor. A guarantor must earn at least three times the annual rent so if you are able to get someone to assist you with this it could save you a lot of time and aggravation with your application.
  • Be honest! –  Everyone makes mistakes! Don’t panic if you have a bad credit history or has suffered blights of unemployment, just be honest and upfront to your landlord and letting agent about these things rather than hiding them and it coming out later down the line and making you appear tSpiral road leftrustworthy.
  • You could also prove your reliability through a credit report, criminal background checks and an employee reference.


Having a smooth and uncomplicated referencing process will save both landlords and potential tenants a great deal of time, so be sure to use a reliable referencing company and if you are a tenant only apply for properties that you are certain you can secure. If you are a tenant or landlord and require potential help with a previous landlord reference the Van Mildert team would be more than happy to assist you. Contact us today on 0191 256 0920 or email one of the sales team on