If you're applying to live in an apartment, there's a good chance the landlord will ask you for a letter of employment. This is a common form of third-party verification often required by landlords as part of the rental application process.
A letter of employment is signed by an authorized representative of a prospective tenant's employer, stating that the tenant is currently employed there and providing basic information about the employment arrangement, such as salary and title.
Why Landlords Require a Letter of Employment
Don't take it personally if a landlord asks you for a letter of employment and doesn't just take your word for what you do and how much you make. This is because many prospective tenants lie about the company they work for, embellish their title, or exaggerate their compensation in the hope it will improve their chances of qualifying for an apartment.
More landlords are getting smart about cracking down on this type of fraud by taking the simple step of asking tenants to verify the employment information they include in their rental application.
Tips for Providing a Landlord With a Letter of Employment
If you work for a large company, it probably honors requests for letters of employment all the time. Smaller employers, however, might not be as familiar with this request and therefore could take longer than you would like to handle yours.
Here's what you should do if a landlord asks you for a letter of employment:
- Talk to your employer. Contact someone in the human resources (HR) department where you work and explain that you need a letter of employment in connection with an apartment you wish to rent. If your company is small and doesn't have an HR department, ask your office manager for help.
- Offer a sample letter to your employer. If your employer's representative tells you he knows what to do and will be happy to take care of your request promptly, great. If not, offer him a sample letter of employment to adapt and use for your purposes. This will save time and help ensure that the landlord gets the proper verification promptly.
- Touch base on the delivery method. Ask your employer's representative if she will fax or mail the letter directly to your landlord or give it to you to send. If the representative will contact the landlord directly, provide her with the correct address and whether it should be sent to a particular person's attention. If you will deliver it to the landlord, it's a good idea to include a cover letter.
- Make sure the landlord is satisfied. After the letter is sent, call your landlord to confirm that the letter is satisfactory. If your landlord needs additional information, offer to follow up with your employer's representative or suggest that the landlord do so, if it's easier.
Don't be surprised if the landlord insists that the letter of employment come directly from your employer. Many landlords require this as a safeguard to prevent tampering or even fabrication by the employee.
Give a Sample Letter of Employment to Your Employer
If your employer isn't used to complying with this type of request, it can be helpful to give your employer sample language to adapt and use. Here's a sample letter of employment you can give to your employer:
Sample Letter of Employment
RE: Verification of employment for [employee name]
To whom it may concern:
Please accept this letter as confirmation that [employee name] has been employed with [employee name] since [employee start date]. Currently, [employee name]:
- Holds the title of [employee title]
- Earns a salary of [salary amount], payable [annually/monthly/weekly/daily/hourly], [and a bonus of (bonus amount)]
- Works on a [full-time/part-time] basis of [number of hours] per week
If you have any questions or require further information, please don't hesitate to contact me at [employer phone number].
[Employer representative name]
Use a Cover Letter for the Letter of Employment
An employer who complies with an apartment applicant's letter of employment request will probably send the letter directly to the applicant's employer.
But some employers may prefer to hand the letter to the applicant to deliver to the landlord.
If you find yourself in this situation, don't just hand the letter of employment to the landlord who requested it. Instead, craft a short cover letter that identifies the letter of employment and connects it to your application.
Taking this small step ensures that a landlord understands she now has the verification she requested from you, and it helps build your image of being a responsible tenant. Here's a sample cover letter you can adapt and use to forward your employer's signed verification letter to your landlord:
Sample Cover Letter
RE: Verification of employment for [your name]
To whom it may concern:
To complete my application for an apartment at [apartment address], you recently asked that I provide a letter verifying my employment. Please find a signed letter from [employer name] enclosed, as requested.
If you need anything further, kindly contact me at [your phone number].
What If Your Employer Won't Provide a Letter of Employment?
By providing the drafted sample letter to your employer, you will overcome most procrastination or reluctance to provide you a letter of employment. But at times you may get stuck in a corporate loop between your boss and HR, or the responsible person is on leave or can't be reached.
In these cases, ask your landlord if your pay stubs and W-2 are sufficient. You may also ask whether a verbal report is sufficient and provide the landlord with a contact number.