What is a rent receipt? [+ Template]

To better track their rental property finances, landlords should get in the habit of providing tenants with a rent receipt. In this article, we'll dig into the benefits of a rent receipt, what should be included, and provide landlords a rent receipt template to get started.

March 28, 2024

7 min read


Managing rental properties requires more than just signing lease applications and handing over a set of keys. It demands meticulous attention to detail, a commitment to transparency, and precise record-keeping. 

One of the most important documents landlords should prioritize are rent receipts. They serve as a vital tool for maintaining accurate financial records, tracking rental income, and providing a record of monthly rent transactions. 

Here’s everything you need to know about rent receipts, including a free template you can use for your rental properties.

Rent receipt template

Free rent receipt template

Copy and customize RentSpree's rent receipt template

What is a rent receipt?

A rent receipt is a formal document provided by landlords digitally or physically to tenants as proof of payment for rent. Sometimes referred to as a rent proof of payment slip, rental receipt, or remittance slip, a rent receipt is similar to receipts received for other financial transactions. It includes details like:

  • Amount paid
  • Payment method
  • Date of payment
  • Payment period
  • Names of both the tenant and landlord
  • Property address

This receipt serves as a tangible record of financial transactions related to the rented property, helping landlords simplify their record keeping and minimize any potential disputes.

Are landlords required to provide a rent receipt?

The legal requirement for landlords to provide a rent receipt varies depending on location. In many states, there is no universal legal obligation for landlords to issue rent receipts. For example, some states like California, New York, Texas, Maryland, and Washington have specific regulations outlining when and how landlords should provide receipts. 

To make matters more confusing, the delivery of payment methods—be it cash, bank transfer, credit card, check, or online platform—also influences whether or not a landlord must issue a rent receipt. While some states mandate receipts for only cash payments, others require it for all payment types. 

And some states, namely Alabama, do not require a rent receipt at all leaving the decision to the discretion of the landlord. Complicating things further,, even if the state doesn’t require a rent receipt, certain cities within those states still do. 

Even when it is not legally required, a landlord must give a tenant a signed and dated receipt if they request it or under specific circumstances such as when there are concerns or disputes regarding the payment. 

Regardless of state or city statutes  providing receipts is  good practice that contributes to transparency and accountability in the landlord-tenant relationship. It helps create a documented trail of financial transactions, reducing potential disputes and promoting a professional and organized rental environment. If you’re not sure how to navigate all these legal requirements, be sure to always check with your local housing board so you remain in compliance. 

Why landlords should use rent receipts

Here’s a few compelling reasons why landlords and property managers should use rent receipts. 

It's professional

Offering a rent receipt adds a professional touch to the landlord-tenant relationship. Rent receipts give tenants peace of mind and lets them know that their payments are documented and verifiable.

Mitigates risk

For landlords, maintaining a clear record of rent payments helps mitigate the risk of disputes or misunderstandings. In case of any discrepancies, a well-documented rent receipt creates a paper trail and can serve as evidence of payment for legal proceedings or negotiations. 

Note: If a tenant makes payment by check, landlords and property managers should wait until the check clears before issuing a rent receipt. In the event that the check doesn't clear, the landlord can make a notation on the rent receipt and get in touch with the tenant regarding the matter.

Makes tax season easier

Rent receipts enable landlords to keep a precise record of when the rent was paid and the corresponding amount, which gets reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Schedule E at the end of every year. During tax preparation, rent receipts serve as essential documentation for landlords, substantiating the rental income earned throughout the year. This clear record not only enables landlords to more accurately track and deduct eligible expenses, including maintenance, repairs, and property management fees, but also provides tangible proof during tax audits or in case of discrepancies in reported income.

Benefits tenants

Rent receipts also helps tenants beyond confirming they’ve paid rent. These receipts can help tenants track their budget and financial commitments more effectively while providing a clear overview of past payments. Rent receipts also serve as clear and reliable reference points when renters are applying for future rentals, seeking loans, or undergoing credit assessments. 

In addition, some credit bureaus and reporting services now allow tenants to report their rent payments. With a comprehensive record of rent receipts, tenants can showcase their consistent on-time payments to build a positive credit history. Rent receipts may also come in handy for tenants who work from home, since they can use it to claim a home-office tax deduction. For example, if 10% of a tenant’s home is used for a business, 10% of their annual rent payments likely qualify for a deduction.

How to fill out a rent receipt

Here are the steps to filling out a rent receipt correctly to help you reduce the risk of disputes:

Date: For tracking purposes, enter the date of payment at the top of the receipt. 

Paid by: In this field, specify the name and contact details of the tenant who is making the payment. 

Received by: Include the landlord's name, property manager’s name, or business name and contact information.

Rent amount: Record the full amount of rent that was received and the period the payment covers (e.g., month and year). In this field you may also include other charges such as late fees. 

Property details: Clearly state the address of the rented property.

Payment method: Indicate how the payment was made, whether by cash, check, bank transfer, money order, or any other method.

Signatures: Both the landlord and tenant should sign the receipt, acknowledging the payment.

Note: Be sure to give the original receipt to the tenant and keep a copy of it for your own records. 

By following these guidelines, landlords can create a standardized and professional rent receipt that benefits both parties in the landlord-tenant relationship. When it’s time to send the receipt, landlords and property managers can either email it to the tenant, print and mail it, or print it and personally deliver it. 

Free rent receipt template

RentSpree has put together a free rent receipt template which can be customized specifically for your tenant and rental. Here’s an example of what it looks like:

Preview image of a rent receipt template

Simplify rent payment and generate online rent receipts with RentSpree

RentSpree offers landlords and tenants a secure and convenient online platform for streamlined rent collection. With automated reminders, RentSpree helps tenants stay on track, reducing the risk of late payments. 

Funds are delivered directly to landlords’ bank accounts in just a matter of days for an easy transaction process. Additionally, landlords meeting the required income threshold benefit from automatic 1099s from Stripe, simplifying tax preparation and ensuring readiness for the upcoming tax season.

Simplify the rent collection process today. 

Rent Receipt FAQ’s

When managing a rental property business, compliance is of utmost importance. To make sure you comply with the laws, it’s important to know all the ins and outs of rent receipts. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:

What happens with a rent receipt when a tenant writes a bad check?

If a tenant writes a bad check, the rent receipt can still serve as proof that the tenant intended to make the payment while confirming the funds were not successfully transferred. In such cases, landlords may need to follow up with the tenant to resolve the payment issue and may choose to issue a new receipt once the payment is successfully completed.

Can rent receipts be automated?

Yes, rent receipts can be automated through various online platforms and software solutions and sent directly to tenants upon payment completion.This not only saves time but also ensures consistency and accuracy in record-keeping. 

Is it helpful to have a rent receipt book?

Yes. For landlords who prefer a manual record-keeping system, a rent receipt book  contains pre-printed receipt forms with essential fields such as the date of payment, amount paid, tenant's name, and property address. Landlords can tear off a receipt and provide it to the tenant, while keeping a copy for their records. This manual method is straightforward, requires no technical expertise, and provides a physical backup not subject to computer or software issues. 

Can landlords use a rent receipt for other payments including security deposits, pet fees, late fees, or roommate rent?

Yes. In fact, rent receipts should be used for any payment a tenant makes, even for one-off payments like security deposits and other fees.


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