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How to create a rent ledger for a California rental property

Houses in La Jolla, CA
by Jeff Rohde, posted in Investment Strategy

As a California landlord or property manager who needs to create a rent ledger for your tenants, you’re in luck! This blog post will teach you how to do just that.

Creating a rent ledger is a great way for investors to ensure that your tenants are paying their rent on time, and it can also help to protect you in the event of any dispute. 

Key takeaways

  • A rent ledger records all the payments made by a tenant toward their rental property.
  • It is important to keep track of rental payments to ensure that the tenant is up to date with their payments and to avoid any disputes arising over late or missed payments.
  • A rent ledger can be created using a simple spreadsheet or free software from Stessa.
  • The landlord or property manager will typically maintain the rent ledger.
  • In some cases, the tenant may be given access to a copy of the rent ledger so that they can check their payment history.


How to use a rent ledger

A rent ledger is a document that itemizes the rent payments made by a tenant throughout their lease. The benefits of using a rent ledger for landlords in California are twofold: First, it provides a record of all rent payments made by the tenant in case there is ever any dispute or eviction proceedings. Secondly, a rent ledger can be used to verify that the tenant has indeed paid their rent in full and on time at the end date of the lease.

A rent ledger in California should include the following key information:

  • Tenant’s name and contact information
  • Address of rental property
  • Unit number (for a multifamily property)
  • Rent amount
  • Dates of rent payments
  • Amounts paid
  • Signature of landlord or agent and tenant


Free rent ledger template

At Stessa, we know that time is money for real estate investors. To help you save a little bit of both, we’ve put together a free, customizable rent ledger template in Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel that you can download for free:

Download for Google Sheets

Download for Microsoft Excel

Select the relevant link and download it to your computer. Save the spreadsheet by another name so you can always revert to the original document.


How to automate a California rent ledger

An even better way to keep track of tenant charges, payments, and balances is by signing up for a free Stessa account.

Stessa’s tenant ledger feature automatically and effortlessly keeps track of due dates, ever-changing balances, rent charges for partial months, and late fees – so you don’t have to waste time updating a spreadsheet yourself. It’s a great financial tool for those in the real estate investing business, whether a new landlord or seasoned veteran.

The tenant ledger feature is made to be as painless as possible. In general, neither monthly rent charges nor rent payments received need to be entered directly into the ledger.

Stessa’s online rent collection feature also makes it easy for tenants to pay on time and automate key tasks like deposits, receipts, and accounting. It’s a win-win and is free for both landlords and tenants.


San Francisco

California rent laws for landlords

In California, rent laws are considered to be generally more friendly to tenants than landlords, making rental ledger templates even more valuable. According to the legal resource website, California was one of the first states in the country to enact statewide rent control laws.

There are a few important things to know about California rent laws for landlords and tenants:

  • Rent increases are capped at 5% plus the local rate of inflation each year.
  • Landlords must give tenants at least 30 days’ notice before changing the terms of the lease or increasing the rent.
  • Additionally, landlords can only raise the rent once every year during the duration of a lease.
  • The state’s rent control does not precede local rent control regulations or housing constructed within the last 15 years.
  • Landlords can only charge a security deposit of up to 2 months’ rent.
  • Landlords must return the security deposit within 21 days after the tenant moves out.
  • If a tenant is a victim of domestic violence, they may be able to break their lease.

Landlords can learn more about California rent laws from the American Apartment Owners Association (AAOA) website or by reading the California Tenants Guide.


Final thoughts

A rent ledger is a financial record of rental payments made by a tenant. Landlords can use rent ledgers to track rental payments, late fees, and other charges. They can also be used to provide evidence of rental income in the event of an audit.

The benefits of using a rent ledger are numerous. Ledgers can help landlords to stay organized and keep track of their income. They can also help to prevent disputes with tenants by providing a clear record of payments.

Free rental property financial software from Stessa can help landlords in California to automate their rent ledgers and save time. Stessa’s software includes features such as automatic late fee calculation, online payment processing, and automatic rent increases. With Stessa, landlords can focus on growing their business, not on managing records.


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