Problems asking former landlords for references

If a future place I rent wants to ask my former landlords for references, I will have a problem. I’ve had three landlords; the first landlord was fine, but the other two were real pieces of work. I imagine that if someone were to ask them their opinion of me, they would paint me as a horrible tenant, even though I had done nothing wrong. What should I do if a future place I rent wants past references? Provide only the first one, provide them with the later two and tell them up-front about the landlord-tenant friction, or provide them with all of the references and let things play out as they will?

What are the odds that two thirds of your landlords would be insane? Weird.

I know, right?

The first one blamed me for causing maintenance problems which were inherent in the structure of the place, and adamantly refused to give me the final inspections that I was due under the law, when I asked for them.

The second landlord was totally unreachable by phone or e-mail when I went away for three months, until near the end of my lease term. Then, because she hadn’t heard from me, she decided to put all of my things in boxes and rent the room out (this was before the end of the lease term, mind you). She also claimed that she hadn’t gotten the past two months’ rent checks, when I only owed her one.

How long has it been between the end of your tenancy with the first one (that will provide a positive reference) and now? You may just have to hope you get lucky.

Personally I wouldn’t rent to anyone who comes with a negative referral or a landlord tenant dispute on the books, so your only chance would be to try and trick me by hiding the two thirds that had a problem with you. There’s just no incentive to give people a chance.

It sounds like you’re just living under the table, as it were, and those kinds of landlords don’t ask for references anyway. I should know, I’ve been living like that for the last… 3 years now? Anyway, unless you rent from legitimate complexes with real property managers and all that shit, your renting history is not going to be recorded anywhere. So, if you *do *one day move up to renting from a larger outfit that asks for a reference, just say you don’t have any. You’ve been crashing for free in a friend’s house’s basement / living with your girlfriend with whom you just broke up / living with your parents / living out of your car. Be creative!

For what it’s worth, I don’t doubt your claim that the people you’ve lived with are stupid or moderately insane. People who rent their own homes out or sublet to a very small number of tenants are not generally hip to tenant’s rights, so some crazy shit can happen to you.

You’ve surely cracked the case! A sample size of 3 is definitely representative of landlords everywhere. Good catch!

Wait. I have it. Just give some friend’s phone numbers, or say you were house sitting, or living in a hotel or something. Say you were living with a former lover and give the number of a random friend. Who cares? Just some douche getting some random numbers from you.

Obviously these people trying to interview you don’t really want you as an employee that much – are they going to hire a private dick to track some random person’s rental records? If they did the latter move, why ask in the first place?


This is generally illegal. Did you give you a notice? Formal eviction proceedings? Were you served?

ianal. ymmv.

And whoosh.