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Rent Receipt

This Agreement is entered by and between Jonas Adam, individually or collectively as the "Signee" and Jane Smith, as the "Signer", together referred to as the "Parties".
The Contract is dated [the date both parties sign].

1. Agreement terms

The Parties agree that the following agreement is dependent on the terms presented as follow:

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Do you pay rent for your home or business? Are you a landlord overseeing rental properties? If you can answer yes to either question then you should be using rent receipts. Rent payment is no different from any other significant financial transaction when it comes to the importance of documentation. Because renting involves at least two parties and relies upon the relationship between them, there is always the potential for dispute or misunderstanding. 

At a minimum, a valid rent receipt can provide evidence of activity in the rental relationship that may not be captured by a lease agreement. The receipt gives a tenant a way to prove that she paid rent in the event of a dispute. Tenants can also use the receipts as proof of payment when claiming the renter’s tax credit offered by some states. 


What Is a Rent Receipt?

A rent receipt is a very simple document showing proof of rent payment from the tenant to the landlord. 


How Does It Work? 

Landlords should provide their tenants with monthly rental invoices. Upon receiving payment from the tenant, the landlord should then offer a rental receipt. The receipt will indicate how much was paid, date of payment, and purpose of payment. They can be formal or informal, printed or electronic; use whatever setup works best for you. 

 

Do You Need a Rent Receipt?

Anyone on either end of a rental agreement should be using rent receipts. In some states, it is legally required to do so. 

According to many sources, up to 50% of renters pay their rent in person, usually through cash or check. Still, others are able to pay online or utilize a combination of methods from month-to-month. In these scenarios, it is crucial to create a verifiable paper trail. Otherwise there may be no record of a tenant having paid rent on time. 

For many of us, rent is by far the most significant expense we have. Why would you spend 30-50% of your income on rent each month and not receive a receipt? It can be very easy for a predatory landlord to take advantage of an informal arrangement to unjustly claim that a tenant is in violation of the lease unless there is documented proof of payment. 

 

Why Should You Use a Rent Receipt?

If protecting yourself against false accusations isn’t reason enough, here are a few more benefits of using a rent receipt for your rental transactions:


Optimize your taxes

Renting has a few different tax implications. Some states provide a tax credit for renters, and if you are in one of those states then you definitely want to keep your receipts. If you rent your home and operate a business from it, you are likely able to file for a home-office deduction. This can allow you to deduct a significant amount of your expenses, including a portion of your rent. It is always best to consult a qualified tax preparer, but keep your receipts just in case. 

Avoid late fees

When paying cash, dropping a check in a mailbox, or mailing a money order, it can be easy to lose track of time. If your lease includes a fee for late payment, you will want to make sure your rent is on time. But what if you and your landlord disagree about when you paid last month? Having a signed and dated receipt can put the matter to rest.

Additionally, if you have multiple tenants in one residence, there can be a lot of confusion over rent payment. Having a record that shows who paid the rent each month will help clarify any mistakes. The use of rent receipts should be part of any roommate or sublease agreements as well. 

Streamline record keeping

Record keeping is important for a tenant’s monthly budget, but also for a landlord to run her rental business. Aside from any tax and audit requirements, a landlord needs to keep detailed records of income and expenses just like any other business. That may be simple if you use an online system, but for landlords who accept paper forms of payment, it can be easy for a few notes to slip through the cracks.

Follow the law

Whether you have been convinced yet of the value of rent receipts or not, you may live in a state that requires them. If you are a landlord, it is important to know if this statute applies to you, and what specific terms are included. If you are a tenant who is perhaps having difficulty with a landlord, it may also prove beneficial to know if the law can assist. 

Minimize disputes.

And as mentioned previously, the biggest benefit of a rent receipt is as evidence in case of a dispute or misunderstanding. If you and your landlord know that there is a clearly documented history of payment (including date, names, and amount), it reduces the likelihood of any false claims or errors. And if a dispute over payment does end up in court, one of the first things that will be asked for is receipt of payment. 


Judge's gavel and books
Make sure you’re staying on the right side of the law. (Source)

What Else Is Covered under a Rent Receipt?

Any exchange of goods or services should come with a receipt. For anything that is not technically rent, such as a security deposit, a different form should be used. But ultimately the intent is the same. It is very easy to forget details of a security deposit payment if your rental period lasts for many years. 

Similarly, when the security deposit is returned, the landlord should send a formal security deposit return letter as documentation. It may also be a good idea to create a lease amendment if you are adding pet rent. That way you can combine it with the original rent and use one rent receipt. 


How Do You Use a Rent Receipt?

The steps for using a rent receipt are simple:

  1.  The tenant provides timely and accurate payment to the landlord. This should be done on a recurring basis as outlined in the original lease agreement. 
  2.  The landlord provides a detailed and signed rent receipt to the tenant. A rent receipt can be created by hand, printed from an online template, or pulled from pre-made receipt books found at most office supply stores. 
  3. A copy is made for the landlord to keep as well. Receipt books should already come with a carbon copy, which greatly simplifies the process and reduces the need for the next step in this list.  
  4. Each party verifies the accuracy of each copy.  Whether it is via carbon copy, dual signatures, or some other method, it is important that each party indicates acceptance of the rent receipt. Disputing the accuracy or validity of a rent receipt at a later date will create a complicated situation to say the least. 

 

A comprehensive rent receipt should include the following information:

  • Tenant’s name
  • Rental property address
  • Landlord’s name and contact information
  • Date and time of payment
  • Amount and method of payment
  • Purpose of payment (monthly rent, rent & utilities, etc.)
  • Rental period covered by rent
  • Any relevant fees or extra charges
  • Signatures of both parties


It will not always be possible to have both parties sign a rent receipt. If it has been sent electronically or by mail, there should be a process in place for tenants wishing to correct or modify any receipt claims. If there is no documented evidence of a tenant submitting a complaint within a specified amount of time, it is assumed that they are in agreement with the receipt. 

 

There can be a lot at stake when paying rent. (Source)

Takeaways

Tenants spending significant chunks of income on rent should protect themselves against costly misunderstandings or disagreements. To the greatest extent possible, try to avoid paying your rent in cash or money order. Use a form of payment that creates an automatic paper trail (like checks or debit cards); and if you must pay cash, make a record

Lease renewal is a great opportunity to discuss adding rent receipts to the rental requirements if they are not already in effect.