A rent receipt is a document prepared by a landlord or property manager verifying that a particular tenant paid rent for a specified time period, usually monthly. To fill out a rent receipt, include your name, the tenant's name, the property location and unit, the amount of rent received and the period being paid for, then sign and date the receipt.
What Is a Rent Receipt?
In the days when people paid cash for everyday expenses, business people, like landlords, kept receipt books. When someone paid a bill, the landlord would fill out a receipt. Each page in the receipt book would have a place to write the name of the person paying the money, the name of the person receiving the money, the date and the item paid for. Sometimes the receipt books had carbon paper to create duplicate copies so the business person would retain a copy.
In modern times, more people pay for items like rent with checks or credit cards. Since these types of transactions provide their own evidence of payment, such as canceled checks or credit card statements, receipts for rent are no longer considered essential by every tenant. In any case, if a tenant requests a rent receipt, it is in your interest to provide one.
What Purposes Do Rent Receipts Serve?
Some states require landlords to give their tenants a receipt for rent payments. Obviously, this is evidence of payment for those who use cash. But even those tenants who pay with checks may want evidence of payment. For example, if the landlord loses the check, but claims the tenant didn't pay the rent, the tenant will not have a cancelled check to prove he did pay.
Some states give tenants a renter's tax credit. Tenants claim this credit when they file their income taxes and they may need rent receipts to prove their status as renters. Rent receipts can also be useful to the landlord. When landlords prepares their taxes, receipts can prove to the IRS the total amount of rental income. If the IRS doubts the landlord's business accounting, rent receipts can help establish the cash flow.
How to Fill Out a Rent Receipt?
The critical elements you need to enter on a rent receipt are:
- your name
- tenant's name
- property address
- tenant's unit
- amount of rent paid
- month or period rent paid for
- your signature
- date of payment
If you're simply writing out the receipt on a blank piece of paper, it doesn't really matter in what order you enter this information. But it is much easier to purchase a book of printed rent receipts and fill out a receipt for each tenant's payment – simply fill in the blanks with the information above. Be sure you keep a legible copy for yourself.
- Rent receipts should be kept by renters for the term of renting the property and/or for four years for tax purposes.
- Property owners should keep rent receipts for the term of renter renting the property and/or four years for tax purposes.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.