Does your landlord have an obligation to give a reference?

I’m trying to get into a new apartment building, and I’m having trouble because of the reference. My old landlord, who I was with for years, is refusing to give the new place any reference for me—good or bad! I don’t get why, especially since we never had any issues. Is your landlord obligated to give a reference?

Patrick Price · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
No, actually—your old landlord is not obligated to give you any reference at all. In fact, a lot of landlords choose not to comment one way or the other—if there’s an issue later, they could face legal consequences.
If your landlord gives you a bad reference, and you don’t get the apartment, then you could potentially sue them for damages—assuming that what they said is untrue or cannot be proved.
On the flip side, if they give you a glowing recommendation, and you go on to cause serious damages or financial losses for the new landlord, then the new landlord could sue the old landlord for damages.
Basically, there are a number of potential risks and nothing to gain for your old landlord by giving a reference. And, as was mentioned, they’re under no official obligation to do so. You could try getting a reference from a different previous landlord. You can also see about getting recommendations from either past or present employers—that might be enough to satisfy your new landlord.
Once you get a new place, don’t forget to use the
fully-licensed insurance broker
app called
to quickly find all the best discounts and deals on coverage—it’s a great way to reduce
the cost of renters insurance
and your
car insurance rates
View full answer 
Jerry partners with more than 50 insurance companies, but our content is independently researched, written, and fact-checked by our team of editors and agents. We aren’t paid for reviews or other content.

Join 4M+ members in lowering their car insurance

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings