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What Is a Rent Receipt?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A rent receipt is a document that records the payment of rent for a given period of time. A landlord is responsible for issuing and keeping a copy in her records to have available in the event of a dispute. Tenants should keep their rent receipts in a safe place. If a landlord does not routinely issue receipts, tenants can ask for them.

The rent receipt indicates that the landlord received the rent, and it can be evidence if a landlord attempts to claim that rent was not paid. The document should include the date, amount, name of the recipient, and name of the tenant. If there are any special circumstances, like a month's rent reduction, they should be noted clearly on the receipt. This can also be important in the future, as the tenant can produce the document to show how and why a payment history has unusual entries.

Landlords can use a receipt book with numbered documents and carbon copies for security. This prevents tenants from faking receipts, as the landlord can see at a glance if the document matches the records. If it is out of order or the copy in the receipt book with the matching number is for something else, the document is not valid. Handwritten receipts are also an option, but provide less security, as they will be easier for tenants to fake.

In some situations, a canceled check can act as a rent receipt. Tenants should use the memo line on their checks to note what the check is for, noting the time period covered and the address. The canceled check will show that the rent was paid and when. It will also indicate that the landlord must have received the money, unless there was a problem at the bank or the check was stolen before the landlord had an opportunity to deposit it, in which case it is a matter for the bank, not the tenant.

If a dispute about the rent arises, a rent receipt can be useful for providing proof of full payment. The document is also necessary for renters who plan to make tax claims. Businesses, for example, can deduct rent as an expense related to doing business, but they need documentation for tax authorities. Receipts may also be useful in the event of the need to appeal financial aid or government benefits decisions, to show how much money the applicant spends on rent. The information on a rent receipt can be important for determining eligibility.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a SmartCapitalMind researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon1001227 — On Mar 29, 2019

This is in the RTA for Ontario:

Information to be provided by landlord

11 (1) If a tenancy agreement is entered into, the landlord shall provide to the tenant information relating to the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, the role of the Board and how to contact the Board. 2006, c. 17, s. 11 (1).

Receipt for payment

109 (1) A landlord shall provide free of charge to a tenant or former tenant, on request, a receipt for the payment of any rent, rent deposit, arrears of rent or any other amount paid to the landlord. 2006, c. 17, s. 109 (1).

I imagine most provinces/states have something similar to protect both landlord/tenant.

By anon350221 — On Oct 03, 2013

I do not want to show the address of the room. I just want to show the name of the owner (myself), the rent amount and the duration for which the rent was given. Will that be okay?

By anon324364 — On Mar 10, 2013

I have one question. I have a lease agreement for one year, and I want to know if my private owner has to pay any taxes if he writes us a receipt?

By lighth0se33 — On Jan 29, 2013

I live in an apartment complex that has a central office. This is where I go to pay my rent.

I don't give the money to the landlord directly. I give it to the lady who runs the desk at the office.

She has a rent receipt book, and she fills out a receipt on the spot for me every time. I put it with my other important receipts.

I like the efficiency of using the office for payments. I know so many people who have to drop theirs off at the landlord's house, and if he isn't home, they worry about when they will get a receipt.

By Oceana — On Jan 28, 2013

@wavy58 – Wow, that does sound risky! Do you have to leave it where some animal could drag it off, or is it pretty much a safe spot?

Regardless, I would want a receipt. Even if I was renting from someone I had known a long time, I would want proof that I paid it. People can always change, and if times get hard, you might be surprised at what people could resort to for money.

By wavy58 — On Jan 27, 2013

I didn't know that receipts were given for rent. I rent a home from a man I've known for years, and he gets me to pay him in cash every month.

I've never gotten a receipt before. He has me leave the cash at a certain spot on his property every month, and then I text him after I've put it there.

I do get nervous sometimes, because I'm afraid that someone might steal it before he has a chance to grab it. I trust him, so I don't think he'd try to con me by saying it wasn't there, but I am concerned about something happening to it.

I suppose it's better than just putting it in his mailbox, though. That's right next to the road, and anyone could grab it.

By kylee07drg — On Jan 26, 2013

Rent receipts were mentioned in my rental agreement. This complicated legal document that I had to sign before moving in did say that I would receive a receipt every month after paying my rent.

I was glad that this was covered in the agreement. I would hate for the landlord to say that he was out of receipt forms or that he forgot. Now, he legally has to provide me with one.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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