Landlord Rent Book: Keeping Track Of Tenants Rent

Landlord Rent Book

Keeping track of rent with a rent book isn’t the most worst idea imaginable, but in the real world, it’s not necessary for most landlords with one or two rental properties, where keeping track is relatively straightforward.

However, it does become useful and even necessary (i.e. a legal requirement) in some cases!

What is a ‘Landlord Rent Book’?

It really is as simple and as self-explanatory as it sounds. There’s nothing complicated here.

The purpose of a rent book is to:

  • provide a receipt for payments to the tenant
  • create a log of rent paid for the landlord

A rent book should contain the following information:

  • Property Address
  • Name of tenant
  • Tenant contact details
  • How much rent is payable
  • The frequency of the rent e.g. weekly, monthly etc.
  • When rent is due
  • When rent was paid
  • How much rent was paid

You don’t need any special booklet or documentation forged by a legal nerd. You can, simply, compile one yourself using the most basic of word processing software (or you could download the template available below, it’s free). You can even draft one with a ruler and pencil. Probably not the best approach, mind you.

And of course, there are plenty available from Amazon, like these two for example:

When a rent book is a legal requirement (for landlords in England & Wales)

Under Section 4 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, Provisions of a rent book, it states:

Where a tenant has a right to occupy premises as a residence in consideration of a rent payable weekly, the landlord shall provide a rent book or other similar document for use in respect of the premises.

Essentially, if rent is paid weekly then landlords must provide a rent book, and failure to provide one is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to “level 4 on the standard scale”, which is currently £2,500. You can grab the latest and full scale and fine amounts from the Criminal Justice Act 1982.

Why is a rent book useful? Why bother keeping one?

If you are not legally required to use a rent book, there are still practical reasons for one:

  • Cash payers: particularly useful for tenants that pay in cash, because often you’re not going to have a record in your bank statement. Moreover, even if the cash is deposited, it won’t necessarily be referencing the tenant in the statement. It can be very confusing, and transactions can get lost.
  • DSS Tenants: rent books are also particularly useful for landlords that receive rent from DSS tenants, especially when half the rent is coming from the local authorities (which pay every 30 days, and not per calendar month!) and a short-fall is coming from the tenant, so the landlord will effectively have two income streams for the same tenant (which is often the case with DSS tenants).

    By keeping a proper record in a logbook, you’ll be able to track each payment, and quickly spot any discrepancies.

  • Recorded history: overtime you’ll create a history of rent payments, which will allow for two major advantages:
    • 1) You’ll be able to quickly check a tenant’s rental history;
    • 2) and as a result, you’ll be able to see how reliable your tenants really are. It’s easy to forget when you’re not consciously keeping track.
  • Useful to present in court: God forbid you get into a legal battle with your tenant because they fell into arrears, but it happens. We never expect it to happen to us, but it always does.

    You’re going to need to produce a rent schedule of payments to prove your case, that way the Judge can assess what has been paid and when. More specifically, what hasn’t been paid. It’s always better to have all the information ready.

  • Multiple lets / HMO (house of multiple occupation): I can’t imagine any landlord that rents out a property(ies) to multiple tenants (i.e. Houses In Multiple Occupation) that bypasses using a rent book, but then again, dumb-witted landlords aren’t uncommon.

    But it really doesn’t make sense, because the landlord is creating more work for himself. Simply because it would take a lot more effort to try and remember whose paid what and when then write it down. A rent book is essential in this case.

Landlord software Vs Rent book

For portfolio landlords or landlords that simply want to streamline their BTL business and manage finances as efficiently as possible, it might be worth looking into specialised landlord software; not only will can it track and record rent, but also expenses, including mortgages, insurance etc.









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Linda shinner 15th August, 2018 @ 06:12

May have missed this in this blog which I am so glad I have now connected with. I always take a snapshot of the electric and gas readings. Your information is So true to all the landlord stuff. I have stuck it out for more than 30 years and still making mistakes many of which you have covered. Probably would have saved lots of time and money if your blog was available then.

Waiting for the mention of a dead body. Mine was in the cellar for two months. A suicide, hanging from the bannister. A murderer still serving oh and yes a gentleman cultivating cannabis. That altered the house quite a bit. Now detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. Very costly as I now have to serve Notice through the prison. Despite all of this I am still getting on with it as renting generates a dam good income through retirement. My father always used to say “you can’t go wrong with bricks and mortar”.

So enjoy reading your blogs and will admit have changed my way of thinking even after all of my experience.

Brilliant stuff

Regards linda

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