Rent Ledger

Last Updated: October 16, 2023 by Roberto Valenzuela

Rent Ledger Template_1 on

A rent ledger (also called a lease ledger) is a document used to track income, expenses, repairs, and other important information for a rental property or group of rental properties.

Elements of a Rent Ledger

Rent ledgers can contain a variety of information. Some landlords use one ledger for all their rental properties, while others prefer one ledger per property.

Main Elements

Rent ledgers typically contain the following information, regardless of the type of property:

  1. Type of entry. (Income versus expense)
  2. Date of receipt or expenditure.
  3. Amount received or paid.
  4. Outstanding balance (if applicable).
  5. Description. (Provides details regarding repairs or whether a transaction was timely and in the full amount)
  6. Property address(es) and unit number(s).
  7. Owner/landlord name.
  8. Tenant name.

Additional Details

Ledgers often track all expenses and income for properties the landlord is managing. These are some additional details a ledger may include:

  1. Expenses. This can include entries for upcoming payments as well as payments made. The following expenses often appear on a rent ledger:
    • Property taxes.
    • Mortgage payments.
    • Repairs
    • Homeowners association fees.
    • Miscellaneous expenses.
  2. Due date. This is especially important when a landlord is managing  multiple properties with rent due dates on different days of the month.
  3. Monthly rent payment. Lists the base amount of rent along with any recurring charges (e.g. pet fees).
  4. Total due. Contains the total amount due for that month, which can include late fees and a tenant’s outstanding balance.
  5. Revenue received. Consists primarily of rent payment entries with real-time payment updates. This helps provide a picture of the complete payment history of all rental units.
  6. Lease start and end date. Tacks where a tenant is in their lease to plan for inspections and determine whether renewal status.
  7. Security deposit. Lists amount of security deposit. This is necessary to know when making deductions from a deposit for damages or repairs.
  8. Notes. Any other important information about the rental. This could include things like when to send a renewal notice, or when an appliance is due for replacement.

Filling Out a Rent Ledger

These are the most important steps when filling out a rent ledger:

  1. Record entries immediately. Waiting to write an entry down can result in inaccurate recollection. Courts also place more weight on records that are contemporary with an event.
  2. Description. Details matter with actions taken by a landlord. For instance, with repairs, a ledger might explain the details of the repair and the reason for the repair.
  3. Confirmation. Many landlords consider it good practice to have the other party initial or sign all non-routine entries in the rent ledger. This provides written confirmation of the other party’s payment, presence, or consent for particular services.

A rent ledger is not the only form of evidence a case may require if there’s a dispute. Landlords and tenants alike should always keep copies of any supporting documentation such as invoices, check numbers, and bank statements.

Using a Rent Ledger

The use of a rent ledger depends on which party is using it, and for which purpose.


A rent ledger provides landlords with an array of information to help maintain and manage rentals. This is especially true for properties with multiple rental units. A landlord can use a rent ledger to help manage the following tasks:

  • Rent Payments. Tracking rent due dates and payments is a basic yet important task for landlords. A ledger helps a landlord ensure tenants don’t miss payments or overpay.
  • Outstanding Balances. Ledgers show whether there are discrepancies or outstanding balances owed for any rental units. This informs late fees and, as necessary, late rent notice to the tenant.
  • Lease Renewal Letter. A rent ledger contains information on when a lease ends. Landlords can use this information to time sending the tenant a lease renewal letter.
  • Lease Non-renewal Letter. As with the lease renewal letter, the rent ledger reminds a landlord to send a tenant a letter of non-renewal.
  • Budget for future expenses. A rent ledger provides a picture of operating income which a landlord can use to plan for future expenses such as maintenance, repairs, and taxes.
  • Overall planning purposes. Information in a ledger can help identify evaluating expenses and trends for planning updates to the property or rental policy.
  • Documentation for a legal suit. A rent ledger is evidence which may be relevant to a lawsuit between the landlord and tenant.
  • Security Deposit. After a move out inspection, the information in a ledger may determine how much of the security deposit to return to a tenant, and whether the landlord will retain any portion to pay for damages.


Rent ledgers are useful for a property owner, regardless of whether the owner personally serves as landlord managing the rental property. Owner-related uses may include:

  • Preparing tax filings. A rent ledger can evidence repairs or expenses claimed as deductions on a tax return. This documentation may be critical in the event of an IRS audit.
  • Generating income. Property owners can use a ledger’s information to improve a property’s financial performance and identify opportunities to increase value.
  • Tracking cash flow. A rent ledger, over time, can show whether income received is growing or declining. It can also show whether a property is being well maintained, and what is causing periods of vacancy. An owner can evaluate this information and make improvements or hire a new landlord to attract better tenants.
  • Long-term property trends. Over an extended period, a rent ledger enables tracking of trends on the property. These might show whether a certain property rents for more or less than others in the area, or whether particular properties are prone to suffer particular issues. This may inform the owner’s investment in remodeling or other property updates.


Tenants may use a rent ledger for the following reasons:

  • Proof of payment. The ledger shows the amount and date of rent paid.
  • Documentation of repairs. Many jurisdictions allow tenants to do repairs themselves in certain cases. Documenting these repairs is critical in case of a legal dispute, especially when a tenant wishes to deduct or withhold rent as a result of repair issues.
  • Security deposit. A rent ledger can record the amount of security deposit a tenant provided.

Tenants may also ask for a copy of the landlord’s rent ledger. This is third-party documentation of the tenant’s reliable conduct, and can give tenants an advantage over other applicants for a future rental property.


While buyers and lenders do not prepare ledgers, they are an important tool for determining whether to buy a property or provide a loan to a property owner. A ledger informs a buyer or lender about the following economic features of a property:

  •   Net income.
  •   Debt.
  •   Expenses.
  •   Vacancy level.

This information is relevant when considering whether or not a property is a good investment at a particular price. This is the same for lenders; a ledger documents that a property is in good standing and has a profitable history.

Benefits of a Rent Ledger

Landlord/Owner Benefits

Landlords are the primary beneficiaries of a rent ledger. Particularly for landlords who oversee multiple units or properties, a ledger helps keep information tracked and manageable. Having a rent ledger provides the following advantages:

  • Keeps a landlord organized.
  • Ensure tenants have timely paid rent.
  • Provides proof of non-payment of rent if a landlord needs to evict.
  • Provides proof of repairs and their cost. (Especially important if a landlord needs to withhold a tenant’s security deposit or dispute a tenant’s rent withholding)
  • Determine whether or not a rental property is profitable.
  • Make timely repairs and maintenance.

Tenant Benefits

A rent ledger benefits tenants in the following ways:

  • Provides supporting proof of rent payments. (Critically important in many eviction cases)
  • Documents timing and cost of repairs. (Important when repairing and deducting from the rent)

Questions a Rent Ledger Answers

Here are 10 questions a rent ledger answers:

  1. Are late fees being properly applied to tenants late on their rent payments?
  2. Are rent payments being properly recorded?
  3. What is a tenant’s rent payment history?
  4. How long has a tenant occupied the property?
  5. Which leases are due to expire and when?
  6. Is the landlord managing the property well?
  7. How much income is the property generating?
  8. Will the future rental income increase, decrease, or remain the same?
  9. Are there repairs or improvements that should be made on the property?
  10. Is a tenant’s security deposit enough to cover damages to their unit?

Common Landlord Actions Based on Rent Ledger Information

A rent ledger commonly empowers a landlord to take the following actions with greater confidence:

  • Improvements. Repeated repairs, for example, may indicate a need for replacement.
  • Evictions. The eviction process may be an option for a tenant who is persistently in default on rent. A well-kept, regular ledger can prove missed payments.
  • Rent Increases. A landlord or property owner can use the rent ledger to compare the tenant’s monthly rent with the current fair market value paid in the area. A ledger can also help warn the landlord when a state’s rent control laws make such an increase inadvisable.
  • Property Sales. A rent ledger may show that a particular rental property has excessive costs. This can indicate a lack of profitability which results in sale of the property.