Do you currently keep a track of the rent you receive from your tenants? I never used to, I used to rely on my bank statements. Not the best or most organised solution, because I literally have dozens and dozens of other transactions going through the same account, so everything can look a bit… blurry. It can also start to get even more complicated when you’re dealing with cash payers, DSS tenants, and landlords with multiple tenants/properties, which I’ll explain further down.
So what’s the solution? Just be a little more organised. Use a simple ‘Rent Book Schedule’, perhaps.
What is a ‘Landlord Rent Book’?
It really is as simple and as self-explanatory as it sounds. There’s nothing complicated here.
It’s basically a record, which generally tracks the following:
- 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 form from a stationary store, and it’s not a legal document, so it doesn’t need to be drafted by a legal bod. You can compile one yourself using the most basic of word processing software (or you could download the template available below, it’s free). You could even draft one with a ruler and pencil. Probably not the best approach, but you could.
Why bother with a Rent Book Schedule?
Yeah, good question, and it’s true, many landlords don’t bother with them. And in all honesty, most landlords manage just fine without one, so there’s no hard sell here. But there are some advantages of using one which should be noted, and they’re reasons which have made me a firm believer in their value.
- Orangised: as already said, it is an organised solution to tracking rent.
Whenever you receive rent, just record it in your rent book. That will allow for an easily scannable record of whose paid what and when. After all, we’re human, we forget things.
I frequently forget which tenant paid when, even when a tenant may have paid a few days ago, so I end up trawling through my bank statements. Now I’ve got into the habit of creating a record in my rent book immediately after I’ve received rent, so I now no longer have to go through my bank statements.
- 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 than write it down. A rent book is essential in this case.
Ultimately, the best solution would be to use specialised landlord software, but a rent book is better than nothing.
Disclaimer: I'm just a simple landlord blogger, I am not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any advice I give is my opinion based on my experience, and is never legal or professional advice. You should always get professional advice on any legal and financial matters!
Any documents you download from this website are just examples of its kind and should be checked by a professional. I give no warranties or representations concerning the documents, and accept no liability in relation to the use of the documents.