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How To Fill Out A Rent Receipt + Template

Couple in the kitchen with receipts and laptop
by Jeff Rohde, posted in Investment Strategy

A rent receipt allows both landlords and tenants to keep track of rent payments every month. Reliable rent collection is the foundation of a healthy rental property portfolio and landlords can accept rent payments in various ways.

Some owners prefer tenants to pay in cash to reduce the risk of bounced rent checks while other landlords will accept checks, ACH, or allow tenants to use online services like PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle. Savvy landlords are increasingly offering tenants the option to pay rent online.

Regardless of how rent is received, providing a tenant with a rent receipt is a good business practice and may sometimes even be required as part of the rental agreement or by local or state landlord-tenant laws.

In this article, we’ll explain why landlords use rent receipts, cover the information to include on a rent receipt, and provide a free rent receipt template for landlords in both Excel and PDF formats.

Key takeaways

  • A rent receipt is a digital or paper record provided to a tenant to acknowledge that rent was successfully paid.
  • Typical information on a rent receipt includes the date of the payment, tenant name, payment method and amount, and whether there is a remaining outstanding balance due.
  • Some local and state landlord-tenant laws require landlords to provide tenants with rent receipts.
  • Landlords use rent receipts to project a more professional operation and create a permanent record in case of future disputes.

What Is a Rent Receipt?

A rent receipt acknowledges that a tenant has successfully made a rent payment.

Also known as a rental fee invoice, rent remittance voucher, or rent payment slip, a rent receipt is similar to those received for other financial transactions, such as a statement received when a bank deposit is made. 

If a tenant pays the rent in person, a rent receipt is typically written up and signed by the landlord and tenant, with both parties keeping a copy for their records. Rent receipts can also be sent to a tenant after the rent payment is received in the mail or when the monthly rent is paid online.

Why Should Landlords Use Rent Receipts?

Some local or state laws may require landlords to provide tenants with rent receipts. Landlords use rent receipts as a good business practice even if it is not legally required.


Rent receipts help landlords and property managers project professionalism. Imagine going into the local convenience store, paying cash for a few items, and not receiving a receipt. The first thing that might come to mind is where the money goes.


A rent receipt records rent payments, particularly if a tenant pays the rent with cash, a money order, or a cashier’s check. While a landlord may be able to use monthly bank statements as backup, rent receipts can keep record-keeping clean and straightforward and provide a tenant with proof of payment.

Tenant benefits

Rent receipts are beneficial for tenants. A tenant can use rent receipts to help build a credit history by showing the rent is current and has been paid on time. With so many people working from home, a tenant may want to use rent receipts as a backup if part of the rent is claimed as a home-office tax deduction.

Dispute minimization

Minimizing payment discrepancies or disputes with a tenant is another benefit of using rent receipts. For example, if a tenant claims to have paid the rent on time when it was received late, a written rent receipt can keep any dispute from escalating. 

However, a rent receipt doesn’t protect a tenant who writes a bad check because a rent receipt isn’t proof that a check has cleared the bank. If a rent check is returned due to non-sufficient funds, NSF, a landlord can still pursue a tenant for nonpayment because a copy of the bounced check proves the rent was not paid.

If you’re concerned a tenant will use a sketchy rent receipt and claim the rent was paid when a check bounces, don’t worry. For one, a rent receipt doesn’t protect checks that bounce and the returned check proves that the payment did not go through.

City or state requirements

So, are landlords required to write a receipt for rent payment? Several cities and states require landlords to provide a rent receipt upon request, so check your landlord-tenant laws before writing out receipts. The requirements vary in each state.

For example, some states might mandate a receipt for all forms of payment and others may require receipts only for cash orders. However, despite any legal obligations, it is best practice to learn how to write a rent receipt in the first place.

Landlord benefits

Although there may be several reasons why a landlord should provide a rent receipt, one apparent reason is to help keep track of which tenants have paid. This helps a landlord determine where they are falling behind, the next steps, and how much cushion they need if a tenant is not paying their rent.

How to Fill Out a Rent Receipt

As a landlord, it’s essential to ensure that everything is documented correctly just in case any mishaps like a dispute happen in the future. A well-prepared receipt typically includes: 

  • Date of receipt
  • Receipt number
  • Property address, including unit number, if applicable
  • Tenant’s contact information like name, phone, etc.
  • Amount of rent received
  • Method of payment, such as cash, debit/credit card, or check and check number
  • Rental payment period
  • The remaining balance, if partial rent payment is accepted, any applicable late fees, etc.
  • The landlord’s signature to acknowledge payment is received
  • The tenant’s signature to acknowledge the rent receipt completed by the landlord is correct
  • Landlord name or property manager receiving rent payment

How to Send a Rent Receipt

When a landlord or a property manager is ready to send a rent receipt, there are specific ways to go about it. Here are some of the most popular ways to send a rent receipt:

  • Print it out and personally deliver it to the tenant
  • Print and mail the rent receipt to the tenant
  • Email the rent receipt to the tenant

Free Rent Receipt Template for Landlords

Stessa created a free rent receipt template to download and customize specifically for your tenant and rental. Here’s an example of what it looks like:

rent receipt template

We’ve put together a free rent receipt template you can download in Excel and PDF formats:

FAQs on Rent Receipts for Tenants

When running a rental property business, it’s critical to make sure you understand the ins and outs of not only how to comply, but how to stay organized. Let’s examine some of the most frequently asked questions regarding rent receipts.

Can a Rent Receipt Be Used for Additional Payments Like Pet Fees, Roommate Rent, Late Fees, or Security Deposit Receipts?

Yes, rent receipts should be used to provide proof of all payments received from a tenant, even if a security deposit is refundable and not recorded as rent.

When Does a Rent Receipt Have to Be Issued?

Some local and state landlord-tenant laws require landlords to issue tenant rent receipts, while others do not. As a rule of thumb, landlords issue tenant rent receipts when requested by a tenant, when required by law, when a tenant pays in cash or person, or when a tenant pays the rent online.

Does a Rent Receipt Protect a Tenant Who Writes a Bad Check?

No, a NSFcheck proves that the rent was not paid. A rent receipt indicates a check was received for the rent, but does not prove that a tenant’s rent check cleared the bank.

Can I Automate a Rent Payment Receipt?

Landlords often provide tenants with convenient options for paying the rent online. An online rent payment system can improve cash flow, save time and money wasted processing payments by hand, and give tenants the security and convenience they want.

Online rent payment platforms, such as Stessa, can be used by landlords and tenants. A tenant can also make Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers from their bank account to a landlord’s bank account to pay the rent online using various services.

Should I Have a Rent Receipt Book?

Up to you! A rent receipt book, sometimes called a money receipt book, allows you to save any receipt duplicates through carbonless copies. So, if you’re a paper copy type, this traditional method to record rent payments might be for you.

Ready to Write a Rent Receipt?

Writing out a rent receipt each time a tenant pays the rent may seem time-consuming, but, as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Using rent receipts helps landlords present a professional appearance, create an essential record for real estate investing, and maintain better landlord-tenant relationships. 

Tenants who feel they’re treated fairly and given respect are more likely to renew their leases, which can keep occupancy rates high and rental income flowing.

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