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A free rent ledger template (plus a better alternative)

man working on online rent ledger
by Jeff Rohde, posted in Investment Strategy

Keeping track of rental income, tenant information, and lease expiration dates can be challenging, even if an investor owns just one rental property. A rent ledger template helps landlords stay organized by tracking revenues and miscellaneous fees and income to keep cash flow consistent and vacancies low.

Key takeaways

  • A rent ledger is a written document that provides tenant rent payment history, occupancy information, and property data, all in a single place.
  • Landlords use rent ledgers to monitor rental income, assess late fees, track security deposits, and keep an eye on revenues at the property and portfolio levels.
  • A rent ledger template can be printed, created with a spreadsheet program or completely automated using rental property software.


What is a rent ledger?

A rent ledger is a document that records the complete payment history of each tenant. 

Rent ledger transactions can be handwritten on a paper form, manually entered into a spreadsheet, or automatically updated by syncing a property bank account to a free rental property financial management software like Stessa.

In addition to showing rent receipts, a rent ledger also provides information about a tenant, including history of on-time or late payments, past due amount, security deposit collected, and the beginning and ending date of the lease.


woman at spreadsheet

3 ways to create a rent ledger template

A rent ledger can be created using a downloadable, printable form or  a spreadsheet program—or automatically created using free online software for rental property financial management:

Printable rent ledger template

Rent ledger templates can be found online from websites such as ezLandlordForms, SampleTemplates, and Pinterest. Many sites offer forms in a variety of formats, including Excel, Word, and PDF. 

A printable rent ledger can be a quick and easy way to begin tracking a tenant’s rent payment history, but there are also some drawbacks. One of the biggest disadvantages to downloading a rent ledger is that information has to be manually entered, and it can be easy to make a mistake that may lead a landlord to wrongly accuse a tenant of paying the rent late.

Another drawback is that it arguably looks less professional, especially if information is crossed out and reentered. Having a professional rent ledger template is important if there is ever a dispute with a tenant, or if the rent ledger needs to be shared with a lender, business partners, or a buyer (if a rental property is being sold).

Rent ledger template using a spreadsheet

A rent ledger template created using spreadsheet software, such as Excel, Numbers, Sheets, or OpenOffice, is the next step up from a printable form. Most landlords are probably already using spreadsheet software for other tasks. 

Here’s what a basic tenant ledger template looks like using Google Sheets, along with a link to download a free customizable rent ledger template:

Putting together a rent ledger template using a spreadsheet may take a little extra time and effort. However, once the design work is done, a spreadsheet is much easier to customize than a form created by somebody else, and printing a spreadsheet with a tenant’s rent history also has a much more professional appearance.

Unfortunately, tenant information and rent payment transactions still need to be manually entered on a spreadsheet rent ledger. Data entry errors can still be made, and there may be better things for a landlord to do with their time than manually record rent payments on a spreadsheet each month.

Automated rent ledger with Stessa

Signing up for a free account with Stessa is an easy way to automate a rent ledger by tracking charges, payments, and balances by tenant. 

Stessa makes it easy for a tenant rent ledger to run on autopilot, because, in most cases, neither monthly rent charges nor payments need to be manually entered on the ledger:

  • Rent charges are automatically added to the rent ledger on the first day of each month.
  • Rent payments appear when the monthly rent is received, are automatically recorded as income, and are assigned to a specific property or unit and tenant.
  • There are options for manually entering one-time charges and payments received, such as tenant reimbursements for damage caused by a tenant.

To access the tenant rent ledger on Stessa, simply go to the Leases & Tenants page, click on the tenant’s name, and scroll down to the Current Balance to obtain the tenant rent ledger. 

Using the automated rent ledger from Stessa also makes it much easier to keep track of a variety of different tenant charges in one place, including partial rent payments, late charges, security deposits, utility pass-throughs, or credits for repairs.


Benefits of using a rent ledger

Using a rent ledger helps landlords treat their rental property as a business by staying organized, tracking the income a property is generating, quickly spotting if a tenant is behind on the rent, and catching any disparities between budgeted rental income and the actual amount of rent collected.

Some of the biggest reasons landlords and property managers use rent ledgers include:

Payment history

View the entire rental payment history of each individual tenant and property or unit at a glance.

Lease beginning and ending date

Monitor the ending date of a lease to discuss a lease renewal and rent increase with the current tenant before the expiration date, or begin marketing for a new tenant to keep vacancy rates low.

Late payments

Quickly identify if a tenant is late paying the rent so the tenant can be contacted and an automatic reminder notice can be sent.

Late fee notice

Determine when to send a late fee notice, and if and when a late fee may be charged.

Document rent payment history

Have complete documentation of a tenant’s rent payment history if there is a dispute or if eviction proceedings need to be started.

Security deposits

Document the amounts of refundable and nonrefundable security deposits and additional rent collected for pets or roommates to minimize landlord-tenant disputes and make a move-out easier.

Monitor revenue generated

Monitor the rental income for each rental property and entire property portfolios to maximize property performance and return on investment (ROI), make refinancing easier, and have financial records on hand when purchasing any additional rental property.


Items to include on a rent ledger template

A good rent ledger allows a landlord to customize information for each tenant, property, and unit in a multifamily building. 

For example, a landlord with one rental property may only require basic information about the tenant and payment history, while a landlord with several homes in a rental property portfolio may want more detailed information, such as property type and size, and notes about the property or tenant.

Most rent ledgers contain the following items:

  • Owner or property manager name
  • Property name, often used by landlords with multiple rental properties
  • Property address and details such as number of beds and baths, square footage, and lot size
  • Tenant names on the lease and contact information
  • Names of other occupants, such as minors or pets
  • Lease beginning and ending dates
  • Date the tenant originally moved in, to monitor lease renewal history
  • Monthly rent amount and due date
  • Additional rent amount, such as pet or roommate rent
  • Amount of rent collected, date rent was received, and how payment was made, such as an online Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer to a landlord’s bank account or by personal check
  • Security deposit amount and whether the deposit is refundable or nonrefundable
  • Late fees due for rent not paid in full by the due date, including a grace period allowance if required by local landlord-tenant law
  • Amount of any unpaid balance and how long the rent is in arrears to determine when eviction proceedings can be initiated, if a landlord chooses to do so
  • Additional notes, such as discussions or correspondence with a tenant, and items in the property that need repair or replacement at the next lease renewal or tenant turnover


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