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.