Who Can Be A Personal Reference On Your Rental Application?

Your rental application is the ticket to your ideal home. One of the most important stages of the application process happens during your reference checks. For this reason, it’s important to select those references carefully. Read our guide to find out who can be a personal reference on your rental application.


Personal references can be hard to come by, especially when you’re already overwhelmed putting the rest of a rental application together. When you’re in a competitive rental market, it’s important to provide the most impressive references possible. Professionalism is key when choosing who will write your references and how many references you include with your application.


Understanding the landlord screening process

One thing to keep in mind when trying to choose your references is the screening process that landlords will go through. A property manager typically does background checks on your income and rental history. This is done to ensure that landlords can trust you, so they can be confident that you’ll be the right tenant for their property!


To learn more about what information a landlord can request as part of your rental application, check out this handy guide from Threshold.


They’re looking for certain things during this evaluation like credit history, criminal record, reports of bad behaviour etc. If they can, they will likely contact your references and ask them how they know you, what you’re like, and how reliable you are. As such it’s important to put careful thought into choosing your personal references for your rental application.

How to source your references

You should look to find people who know you well enough to speak to your character. Think of the people in your life who could vouch for your personal, financial, and professional reputation.


At this point, you may already have a few people in mind, but be wary of what kind of answers you might get from them. Reflect on your relationship with these people and consider how they would speak about you in terms of your professionalism, your timeliness, and behaviour.


Choose your references wisely

It’s common for a landlord/agent to ask for a minimum of two rental references, but don’t let that put you off. The reason they do this is so they can verify from an independent third party that you’re genuine and trustworthy.  The ideal references will be able to express your characteristics and qualities in a positive way so that the landlord has faith in you.


Before you go putting everyone you know on your Tenant CV, you first need to work out if they will actually provide you with a reference, and secondly, that what they have to say actually helps your situation.


You don’t want to select someone who might have something negative to say. Bear in mind they may not want to be contacted by anyone. Best practice is to reach out and discuss their feelings on the matter first! Written references are widely accepted, but it helps to have a few contact details available just in case.


Who Can Be A Personal Reference On Your Rental Application?


Previous landlord– This is probably the best reference to have (if you’ve had a good experience with them of course!) Having a former landlord’s reference on your Tenant CV will immediately catch a property manager’s eye.


An employer –  that knows you well and can speak highly of your work ethic, accountability, and attitude is an excellent reference. In most cases, your employer is someone who has worked with you for a long time. What they have to say about you professionally is valuable!


Co-workers/ career mentors– also considered great references. Again, someone who knows you professionally who speaks positively about your attitudes and behaviour.


Volunteer Supervisor – A volunteer supervisor who has worked with you can provide you with a vote of confidence in terms of your hard work and diligence.


Friends/Family– it can sometimes be thought that a family member or friends aren’t useful references but this isn’t always the case.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a tenancy history. You can compensate by adding a few people you know who can provide a positive character reference. Someone who speaks highly of you can be more valuable than just saying ‘they can pay rent on time’.


Honesty is the best policy

If you haven’t got the best credit history or if there’s another peculiarity that you think will be revealed during the screening process, the best thing to do is be upfront and honest. Everyone has a different story! A Tenant CV is a great way to explain how great of a tenant you are.


However, if you’re worried about anything (i.e., rental arrears, damages) be prepared to discuss these with the property manager. Put your best foot forward and let them know the steps you’re taking to improve upon your history.


The addition of personal references instantly elevates your rental application, but always go with your gut. When considering your options reflect carefully about who can be the best personal reference on your rental application. Choose people who you can trust!


HomeHak Tenant CV

HomeHak provides the tools to easily include references on a beautiful Tenant CV. A Tenant CV is a document that showcases your attributes and interests when looking for a home. The idea is to build a Tenant CV once and use it as often as you need! The step-by-step process couldn’t be simpler, and it has a lot of benefits!


Check out how you can start building a Tenant CV here.

Shopping Essentials for Students in your New Accommodation in Ireland

student food shop

The novelty of walking into your kitchen at home and everything you ever need is always there has come to an end. It is now time to arm your own kitchen with all the basic essentials. Read more to find your shopping essentials for your new accommodation in Ireland.


Packing your life away can be stressful enough without having to think of all the basics you need to have in your kitchen to make a decent meal. Bringing along a grocery list or a weekly menu is a good idea if you get easily side-tracked in the store or don’t know where to begin.


When creating a shopping list you should consider creating a healthy and well-rounded diet . This should primarily comprise of whole, nutrient-dense foods. Include for example,veggies, fruits, protein sources like fish and eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds. 


HomeHak has put together a go to list of essentials to get your cooking journey started. It’s time to stock up the refrigerator and cabinets – let’s get started! 


Let’s start with groceries.


Student doing their grocery shopping


Let’s start with the essentials!


  • Protein – chicken, beef, fish.
  • Grains – rice, pasta.
  • Milk 
  • Cereal
  • Bread
  • Oats
  • Coffee
  • Tea

Fresh fruit and vegetables:

  • Potatoes
  • Berries – strawberries, blueberries.
  • Bananas 
  • Apples
  • Onions 
  • Peppers

Spices and herbs:

  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Dry basil


  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise 
  • Olive oil
  • Soy sauce 

Frozen food:

These are truly a gift in university. They take away the pain of chopping up vegetables and there is no worry of your fruit and veg going out of date. 

  • Fruit 
  • Vegetables
  • Meat- chicken, beef, fish

Home essentials

It is easy to forget about everything we take for granted at home but do not forget these basics to get your kitchen in proper running order.

  • Washing up liquid
  • Hand soap 
  • Laundry supplies (if needed) – detergent.
  • Toiletries – razor, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel
  • Toilet paper
  • Cleaning supplies


Best supermarkets to do your food shop in? Check out these:

Aldi is your best bet when it comes to buying only essentials. This store focuses on the staple items. They offer some of the cheapest products and weekly sales that really help when you are on a budget. 


Lidl is the cheapest of them all when it comes to buying your shopping essentials. It focuses on essentials. Lidl has weekly specials where they offer amazing discounts not only on food items but also on electronics and more expensive products in general. 


SuperValu is Ireland’s largest grocery and food distributor serving local communities throughout Ireland This reputation has been earned through their fresh food quality, strong value offering, consistent support of local producers and the expertise and customer service across their stores.


Dunnes is a high-end supermarket which makes it a bit more expensive than Tesco. The stores usually sell clothing, homewares and groceries. You can find reasonable and trustworthy products of their own brands. They have a grocery delivery system and a click and collect from their nearest stores. 


Tesco is a UK based retail store and probably the largest supermarket chain in Ireland. They have the widest range of products including well-known brands and a variety of their own brands. You can also find some of the cheapest prices for your groceries here. 

student doing their food shop

To summarise

When creating your shopping essentials list try and break it into sections. For example non starchy / starchy vegetables, fruits, beans and grains, nuts and seeds, proteins, frozen foods, dairy and nondairy substitutes, drinks, condiments, and miscellaneous items.


Want to learn more? Read the definitive guide to healthy grocery shopping here. 

If you are an international student, check out our article “Where to shop for international students”. We share the best places for you to do your shopping and get all your necessities!

Importance Of a Reference for Irish University Student Accommodation


As a renter, moving from one home to another is inevitable. However, you may come across new landlords who want to know about your renting history. Before approving your application, they may ask for a landlord recommendation letter provided by your previous landlord. HomeHak will share our tops tips for the importance of a reference.


A landlord recommendation letter, also called a rental reference, is an important component of your rental application. In a competitive rental market, a good reference can make a huge difference. 


Photo by Maria Ziegler on Unsplash


What is a landlord recommendation letter?

A landlord recommendation letter is a letter written to a potential landlord by your current landlord. A property manager or a supervisor can also write you a rental reference. Your new landlord will likely ask for this reference in order to complete your background check.

Landlord recommendation letters tell your landlord that you are a responsible and financially stable tenant and that you adhere to the terms of a lease. A rental reference letter can help boost your application and make up for any shortcomings, such as a low credit score. This is one of the main reasons behind the importance of a reference. It assures the landlord that you’ll pay your rent on time, respect deadlines, and not incur defaults.


What references should you include in a rental application?

Submitting a great rental application is key to getting the rental property you want. Once your personal information, proof of income and background checks are complete, the references you include with your application can make or break the deal.

A rental reference (or referral) is a vote of confidence from someone who knows you in a personal, financial, educational, professional, or prior rental experience capacity. Ideally, your rental reference will know you well enough to speak to your character and express it to a property manager/owner. Who you choose as your reference and what they say about you can make all the difference to your application. Here are a few things HomeHak recommends to consider when you get to this stage.


Importance of a reference – what relevance does your rental reference have to you?

When a property manager starts screening applicants and calling references, they will ask each person how they know you. If you include your Dad and college friend, their opinion may look a little biased. Where possible, choose people who can talk about how you’ve performed at your current job (your employer, for example). Look for a reference who can say you’ve demonstrated great personal responsibility through other means. If possible, add a previous landlord to your reference list who can vouch for your ability to look after a property.


How to approach your rental references

If you have a few people in mind but want to select the most appropriate person for your application, think about some open-ended questions for them. Things like, ‘If I were to list you as a reference, what would you say you’ve noticed about me and responsibility?’ The answers you get will give you some idea of who to include. Try to select people who know you well. You don’t want to pick casual friends or a tutor who took you for one class back in the day. Avoid including your boyfriend or family members unless you plan to include personal references. Here is an article on choosing a personal reference for a rental application.


Choose your rental references wisely.

Once you’ve thought of a few people who know you well, work out whether they’d provide a positive reference for you. Remember, some people find it hard to say no to others, or they might not tell you that the reference they provide could be less than glowing. A better move here is to offer your potential reference a way out. Let them know you won’t be offended should they prefer not to be contacted. Gauge their reaction and decide whether you still want to use them on your rental application.


Who makes the perfect rental reference? 

A former landlord/property manager: If you had a good experience with your former property manager and know they would speak highly of you as a tenant, they’re probably the perfect choice.

A career mentor: Career mentors could make an excellent reference for your rental application. Their experience with you will most likely be a professional one, and they’ll be able to speak highly of your good qualities and ability to perform under pressure.

An employer: Employers have probably worked with you for a long time and would also make an excellent reference. Top tip: Ensure they’re happy with your work ethic and attitude first!

Volunteer supervisor: Have you done volunteer work in the past? If you worked under one supervisor, they would also make a great choice.

Think about the people in your life who think best of you in terms of what is needed to be a good tenant, such as: personal and financial responsibility, professionalism and accountability.


To summarise

No rental reference? Don’t stress. Even if you’ve never rented before, you can still find people who make perfect rental application references. Choose co-workers, employers, coaches or mentors. These are the ideal people to tell your potential landlord or property manager what you’d be like as a tenant. They will base their experience on what it was like to work with, coach or mentor you. Their opinion will also help demonstrate the character of someone who would make a great tenant.


Choosing your Housemates at Irish University – Best Tips


Moving out of home and taking your first step towards independence can be exciting but also a bit of a minefield. It is important to thread carefully if you want to make accommodation sharing work. Here are HomeHaks top tips to help you in choosing your housemates at Irish University.


Make poor choices and you could find yourself falling out over dirty bins and dishes. Pick well and you will have so much fun and make lifelong friends. Don’t know how to go about picking housemates? 


Photo by Wasa Crispbread on Unsplash

Know the sort of people you think you will get on with

Looking for housemates is a bit like online dating. You need to go into it knowing what you’re looking for and make that clear from the get-go. If you think you’ve found a potential match, ask your prospective house-sharer some questions. This is to see just how compatible you might be. Don’t make them feel it’s an interrogation. You just need to get a feel for what they’re going to be like once you’ve moved in together.


People can be very different once the front door is shut. Get to know them better before you agree to go house-hunting. This could spare you a lot of grief further down the line. Here are 30 questions to ask a roommate before moving in together. 


Get ahead of the competition

Don’t put off until tomorrow something you could do today. There’s always fierce competition for the best houses and apartments in university cities. If you want to stand a chance of finding nice housemates and a nice place to live, then it’s never too early to start.


You’d be amazed how many people leave it until the very last minute to decide on who they’re sharing with and where they’re going to look for houses. If you want to end up living in housemate heaven rather than housemate hell, you need to start broaching the subject with people as early in the spring term. This is so you can start arranging to view a few properties together. This article gives some more tips on starting your search early.


Choosing your housemates – Same course or different?

Sometimes living with the people you ‘work’ with isn’t always the best move.  You’re probably most familiar and friendly with the people doing the same course or modules as you but remember that everyone needs some space now and then. If you’re living with the same people you’re in seminars with day in, day out, you might get sick of each other’s company very quickly.


Try to have a mix in your house if you can – not only does it widen your social circle but it can broaden your mind. If people are studying different courses to you, you’ll each learn something about the other’s subjects. You’ll also be forced to find other things you can bond over, such as societies, hobbies or even your shared love of obscure foreign language films…


Set house rules from the start

Almost all household disagreements are avoidable in some way. You need to set out a few ground rules right at the beginning.  Before you agree to move in with other people, you need to make sure they’re the sort of housemates you can trust.


Chat with them and decide how to carve out who will organise things like paying the bills and how the rent will be managed. Pencilling a schedule for cleaning and cooking before you move in together will give you a good idea of whether or not they’re likely to pull their weight. If they look like they’re shirking responsibility, then maybe you need to look for someone else.

The following article is designed to help you and your roommate(s) establish guidelines for while you are living together.


To summarise

If a house share is going to be a success you need to know you’ll all get along and it’s not going to descend into chaos. Try to spend as much time as possible getting to know each other before you commit to moving in together. House sharing is a nightmare when it doesn’t work out but choose your housemates carefully and you could have a fantastic couple of years.