Writing a good character reference letter should not be a difficult task, although the mere suggestion of having to write one seems to strike fear into the heart of many. You may be asked to write one for someone if they are in the process of finding a new apartment to rent and the landlord requires one.
In the movies, landlords are sometimes portrayed as evil, greedy people with black hats and curly mustaches. This is not the case at all these days, as landlords must have the best interests of their tenants at heart in order to remain in business and out of the government’s watchful eye.
Landlords have a financial interest in their property and seeing to it that their apartments or homes remain fully occupied and the tenants are happy to live there. In order to do so, landlords try to screen their potential tenants in order to keep out the bad or troublesome renters. Rental applications ask a lot of questions that are constructed in order to gather enough information in order to decide if you, the potential renter, will be a good renter or a bad renter. In other words, the landlord is trying to reduce the risk of losing income by renting to the good renters more often than bad renters. In some cases, the landlord may request a character reference letter in order to further reduce the risk by gathering the independent opinion of a third party.
Character reference letters are usually written in support of an employment application or an apartment rental agreement, or lease. In any case, employer or landlord, the letter is intended to attest to the veracity of the person for whom the letter is written. In short, this means that the letter backs up the information provided on the applicant’s application form.
A good character reference letter is written around those areas that the landlord will consider important in making a decision about the applicant’s character. As a friend, you probably know that he or she always pays the rent on time, always cleans up after themselves, never disturbs the neighbors, and hasn’t ever had the utilities cut off for non-payment. It should be easy to write a number of short paragraphs about you friend’s social history to support their application. Be truthful and be honest when writing the letter. Never lie for a friend, no matter what! It will make your friend look bad and reflect directly back on you if your friend doesn’t live up to the rosy picture you have painted of them.
If you need some ideas of what you should write about it should be a simple matter to pick up a copy of the rental application. Look it over, picking out three or four areas that you know the most about and feel the most comfortable writing about. Begin with a short introductory paragraph describing how you know the person and for how long you have known them. Then delve into your knowledge about your friends past and hopefully good behaviors as it relates to the three or four areas you’ve selected. End your letter casually and with an invitation, or permission to contact you for further information if needed. Don’t forget to include your contact information.
With these guidelines in hand, you should be able to write a good character reference letter for a landlord or an employer. You may want to write a few drafts before keyboarding the final letter, which will be sure to help your friend obtain that much sought after apartment or job. When writing, always remember that the key to success when writing a good character reference letter is honesty.