A rent roll is a key report used by landlords, property managers, business partners, investors, and lenders. The report helps real estate practitioners understand how rental income is generated and whether rents will increase in the future, stay the same, or even decline.
Rent rolls can be created using a spreadsheet program or automated with rent roll software. We’ll take an in-depth look at some of the biggest benefits of using a rent roll, how to create a rent roll, and examine rent roll software for real estate investors.
- A rent roll reveals an investment property’s current and future rental income.
- Landlords, property managers, buyers, lenders, and business partners use a rent roll to learn if rental income is consistent and whether rents may be increased.
- A rent roll includes tenant and lease details, payment history, late fees, and security deposits.
- Rent roll data can be manually entered each month using a spreadsheet or automatically updated in real time by using rent roll software.
What is a rent roll?
A rent roll is a comprehensive document that tracks the amount of rent due, late fees, additional rent (such as pet rent), security deposit amount, lease beginning and ending dates, and tenant information for each property or unit of a multifamily building.
Landlords use rent rolls to monitor rental income collected compared to budget, determine if a rent price can be increased at an upcoming lease renewal based on current fair market rents, and forecast future rental income.
A rent roll typically tracks the individual rent payment history of each tenant. By viewing a tenant’s rent payment history, a rent roll can also help a landlord anticipate if a tenant will need to be replaced or evicted, as with a tenant who has consistently begun to pay the rent late. On the other hand, when a rent roll reveals that a tenant has been consistently paying the rent on time, a landlord can ask the tenant to renew the lease well before the due date.
Lenders and other investors also use a rent roll.
A lender can review a rent roll to determine reliability of rental property cash flow and spot potential problems that may affect future cash flow, such as a slow-paying tenant. An investor analyzing a rental property to purchase can use a rent roll to determine whether or not future rental income can be increased to boost the potential return on investment.
Best rent roll software for landlords
Creating a rent roll using a spreadsheet program can be tedious, and manually entering data each month takes away valuable time that can be put to better use. Plus, if the structure of the report needs to be changed, the entire worksheet may need to be redone.
That’s why many landlords use rent roll software to track rental income and the value of investment property. Here are some of our picks for top rent roll software and accounting programs for rental property owners.
Stessa, a Roofstock company, is ranked this year as offering the best value for rental property accounting software by Investopedia and the best overall reporting tool for landlords by Landlord Gurus.
Stessa is free to use and offers optional premium services, such as mortgage financing and rent analysis.
Real estate investors use Stessa to automate income and expense tracking and generate personalized financial reports for an unlimited number of portfolios and individual single-family rentals (SFRs), small multifamily properties, and short-term vacation rentals.
The Stessa Rent Roll Report is a clean, one-page summary that reflects the current status of each property and tenant and is accessed via the comprehensive online owner’s dashboard. The rent roll is automatically updated when a tenant pays the rent, and income is credited to the tenant and associated property.
Avail offers a suite of free property management tools for tasks such as marketing vacant property, screening prospective tenants, tracking maintenance requests, and collecting rent payments online. When rent is collected using Avail, each rental property automatically generates a rent roll.
Investors and property managers with 50 units or more may find Buildium worth a closer look. This property management software provides a full suite of solutions, including online payments and rent roll reports, with pricing beginning at $50 a month for one property.
4. Cozy (Apartments.com)
Cozy (now Apartments.com) is free rental property management software for advertising vacant homes, screening tenants, signing leases, processing maintenance requests, and collecting rent payments online. Tenant rent payments made through the Apartments.com platform are automatically recorded, along with security deposits and move-in costs.
5. Rent Manager
Rent Manager provides property management software for both residential and commercial properties and short-term stay portfolios of any size. The Rent Manager rent roll shows tenant transaction activity, including payments and credits, nonrent charges, and prior balances. Pricing begins at $1 a unit per month with a minimum implementation fee of $200.
The all-in-one property management software from RentRedi is available as a mobile app for Android and iOS. Features include tenant screening, maintenance request management, and online rent collection. A rent roll report can be generated by filtering and sorting across multiple columns to show the precise data needed. Monthly, semiannual, and annual subscription plans are available from $9 a month to $19.95 a month.
Rental property management software from SimplifyEm aims to make accounting and reporting easier for landlords so they have more time to focus on growing a business. Features include income and expense tracking, marketing and leasing property, generating detailed reports like rent rolls, and collecting rent online. Pricing begins at $20 per month for up to 10 units.
TenantCloud helps landlords advertise vacant properties, screen potential tenants, and collect rent payments online. The rent roll report from TenantCloud is available starting with the Starter subscription plan priced at $15 a month or $144 a year for an unlimited number of listings.
Free rental property management software from TurboTenant makes it easy for landlords to market rental listings, screen tenants, create lease agreements, and collect rent online. TurboTenant also provides a free rent payment tracker spreadsheet for landlords to download and manually enter tenant rent payments and fees.
How to create a rent roll
One way to create a rent roll is with a spreadsheet program like Excel, Numbers, or Sheets. Individual rows are used for each property or unit, while columns are labeled with the data being recorded. A rent roll can be customized to meet the needs of a specific property and landlord.
Here is general information to include on a rent roll.
Provide contact information for the owner or property manager if a rent roll user, such as a lender or buyer, has any questions:
- Owner name and mailing address
- Phone number and email address
- Property address and name (often used with multifamily properties)
- Property type
- Property manager name and contact information
Property and rent data
The rent roll should contain individual columns to enter the following data for SFRs, individual units in a multifamily property, or short-term vacation rentals:
- Unit number
- Size of unit/home (in square feet)
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Tenant name
- Monthly rent
- Rent collected
- Past-due amount (if applicable)
- Late fees (if applicable)
- Additional rent (for pets, roommates, parking, or appliances)
- Security deposit
- Lease start date
- Lease end date
- Lease length (such as month to month or 12-month)
- Renewal options
- Scheduled annual increases (for current tenant)
- Occupancy length (how long the current tenant has rented)
- Additional unit information (pet-friendly, scheduled updates, recent repairs)
- Additional tenant information (personal property of tenant in the unit, special requests)
Show how to contact a tenant if the rent is late or the lease is ready to be renewed:
- Tenant name(s)
- Mailing address (if different from property address)
- Work and mobile phone numbers
- Email address
- Preferred method of contact
Indicates rental income collected for each tenant—both monthly and running year-to-date totals—including any additional rent, such as late fees or pet rent:
- Monthly rent collected
- Additional rent collected
- Late fees (if applicable)