A rent receipt or rental receipt documents proof of payment between the payer (i.e., the renter) and the payee (i.e., the property owner or manager). Simply put, a rent receipt proves in writing that rent was paid. Here, we'll discuss how to write a rent receipt like an expert and learn about some best practices for property managers and tenants.
What Is a Rent Receipt?
A rent receipt is a written statement that indicates that rent was paid for a given period of time. A renter pays the agreed-upon amount to the property owner and the property owner documents the transaction in a rent receipt that is given to the renter.
As a property owner or property manager with tenants, you may be required by law to provide a rent receipt for anyone paying to use your property. At a minimum, it's good practice to provide receipts to tenants so you have them for your own records.
It may also be a good idea for property owners to include the mention of a rent receipt in the rental agreement (or lease agreement) as a sign of good faith that paid rent will be documented in writing for the renter's records.
Who Gets a Rent Receipt?
All tenants who pay rent — even in partial payments — should get a rent receipt. This serves as proof of rent for any given period of time and, as mentioned above, could be a part of a legal rental agreement. Tenants should keep a copy of all rent receipts.
Who Provides a Rent Receipt?
All property owners or managers should provide a rent receipt for all rent payments, whether they are made by cash payments, checks, money orders, or electronically, and save a copy for their records. The rent receipt can be hand-delivered, mailed, or sent via email. Always save your document as a PDF before sending it to ensure that all details in the rent receipt remain static (i.e., they cannot be changed electronically).
What's on a Rent Receipt?
A rent receipt form should include the following:
- Tenant's name or business name
- Property address
- From: Property owner's name or property management company name
- Contact information
- Receipt number
- Monthly rent
- Rent due date
- Rent payment date
- Payment amount
- Method of payment (cash, check, credit card, etc.)
- Any late fees assessed
- Any applicable balances (with partial payment rent receipts)
Though you can use Microsoft Word or Excel to build a rental receipt, it is preferable to use a free online rent receipt template because it will contain all the information you need to fill in with minimal effort on your part. Further, a template can be easily saved and stored in one place.
How to Create a Rent Receipt Template
There are many ways to create a rent receipt. They can range from handwritten details in a receipt book — tedious and inefficient for your records — to a rent receipt template system that automatically saves your receipts in one online storage place.
Excel or Word templates are also cumbersome, as they aren't automatically saved in an organized way. You'll also have to devise a filing and storage system. As a property owner, you know the value of saving time and our recommendation is to use a rent receipt template. Free templates are easily available online.
Why Use a Rent Receipt?
While there are many methods you can use to create a rent receipt — including handwritten — it's much simpler to use a free rent receipt template for the following reasons:
- Ease of use - All the info you will need to fill out is provided.
- Peace of mind - You'll have a copy of all of your rent receipts in one place for your own records.
- Protection - Should a rent payment ever be disputed, you'll have a copy of the rent receipt.
What Are the Dos and Don'ts of Rent Receipts?
We've discussed what a rent receipt is, what's on it, who sends and receives it, and why both parties should keep a copy for their records. Now, let's talk about how to execute a great rent receipt for both the property owner and the tenant.
Property Owner Rental Receipt Dos
- Do use a free rent receipt template for peace of mind and standardization purposes.
- Do provide a rental receipt for all paid rent.
- Do write a rent receipt for partial payment; be sure to prominently mark this receipt as a partial payment.
- Do keep all of your rental receipts for at least one year — whether it is required by law or not.
- Do write a rent receipt for late payments; make sure to document any applicable late fees, as well.
Property Owner Rental Receipt Don'ts
- Don't write a rent receipt before you've received payment. If a tenant makes a "promise to pay," assure them they will get a rent receipt as soon as the rent is paid in full.
- Don't provide a rental receipt without all of the pertinent information; this is why using a free rent receipt template tool is such a good idea.
- Don't forget to include the remaining balances on partial payment rent receipts.
Tenant Rental Receipt Dos
- Do request that rent receipts are included in the terms of your lease agreement.
- Do request and expect rental receipts for all paid rent.
- Do ask for a rent receipt if one is not offered once rent is paid.
- Do confirm that all information on the rent receipt is accurate.
- Do ask for a rent receipt for partial payments.
- Do keep all of your rental receipts.
Tenant Rental Receipt Don'ts
- Don't forget to ask that inaccurate rental receipts are corrected and replaced.
- Don't accept a rent receipt from anyone other than the property owner or the property management company.
- Don't throw away rental receipts during the entirety of your tenancy — even if it’s longer than a year.
Why You Should Keep Your Rent Receipts
As we've discussed, you may be legally obligated to keep rent receipts for up to one year from the date of issuance. It just makes good sense to keep all your rental documents in one place. Store copies in folders or electronic files where you can readily access them any time you need.
Rental Receipts for Property Owners
Property owners should keep copies of all rent receipts for rental properties. Here are some good reasons why:
- Tax purposes - Rent receipts will help your accountant at tax time.
- Proof of income - Your rent receipts will provide proof of income should you need credit for something in the future.
- In case of disputes - Should a rent dispute arise, good rental records will strengthen your case.
Rental Receipts for Tenants
Renters should keep copies of all their rental transactions and especially in the case of rent paid for the following reasons:
- Paper trail - Especially if you pay in cash, your rent receipt is the only proof of your paid rent.
- Rental history - You'll have your paid rent receipts when you move to a new place.
- Tax credit - You may get a renter's tax credit. It's worth keeping your rent receipts and discussing this with your accountant.
- In case of disputes - Should an issue arise surrounding unpaid rent, you'll have the paperwork to stand your ground.
Learn More About Skynova's Business Solutions
Skynova can help with many of your business needs, including rent receipts. Simply open a free printable rent receipt template, enter your information, and either save or print it. You can also download it as a PDF or send it electronically. Skynova automatically saves all of your saved templates and documents in one place for safekeeping. Visit Skynova's website to get a free rent receipt template.
Notice to the Reader
The content within this article is meant to be used as general guidelines and may not apply to your specific situation. Always consult with a professional renter's rights attorney to ensure that you're meeting legal standards.