Whether you have just moved into a new rental property or you’re a landlord and have a new tenant. You may be wondering if you should expect a receipt or if you need to provide tenants with a receipt for their payments. This article will give you everything you need to know.
Landlords must issue a rent receipt to their tenants if the rent is paid every week. Landlords are not required to provide a receipt if the rent is paid every month. However, people are advised to use electronic payments for rent, so there is a record of payments made and received.
We are now using less and less physical cash in all forms of life, replacing it with electronic payment methods. But there are still many tenants and landlords who prefer to pay and accept cash for their rental payments.
Paying and receiving rental payments is the cornerstone of property investing or renting a property. Without it, you will be losing money on your property, or a tenant will be liable to eviction.
While it might sometimes seem like an annoying admin job to keep tabs on the rental payments received, it is vitally important to the success of the landlord’s portfolio. Therefore, it can be seen as good practice to provide your tenants with rental invoices and a written receipt when money is received.
If you want to provide your prospective tenant with an invoice or are obliged to do so, it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. You can even access a rent receipt template online for free to help get you started.
Providing invoices and receipts can offer a beneficial paper trail for later down the line if there are any challenges or disputes about any unpaid rent later.
With this in mind, it is always a good idea to arrange your invoices and rental receipts in an orderly format. This is particularly relevant if you have multiple rental properties.
Do Landlords Have To Provide An Invoice For Rent?
Most rental tenancies are paid for on a monthly basis. Under these circumstances, a landlord would not need to provide an invoice for rent. However, if the rental agreement is payable weekly’, the landlord must provide invoices, often called ‘rent books’.
It is important to distinguish that payable weekly’ refers to the tenant’s obligation to pay for rent on a weekly basis, not the time frame they usually pay you.
For example, suppose a tenant is contractually charged £100 a week and pays £200 every fortnight, or £400 every month. The rent is still payable weekly’ as the starting point is the charge per week.
Therefore, a landlord must provide invoices or a rent book to comply with the requirements in these circumstances.
Failure to provide invoices or rent books to those who pay rent weekly is an offence. For example, suppose landlords fail to provide a rent book where required. In that case, a local authority housing officer can take action against the landlord.
However, in these instances, it is important to remember that this does not excuse the tenant from paying their dues, regardless of any intervention from the council. Whilst it is an offence not to provide a rent book where required, tenants will need to carefully consider the risks associated with not paying their rent.
What Should Be Included In A Rent Receipt?
A rent receipt must include the name of the tenant, the property’s address, the date the rental payment was received and the time period the payment covers (e.g., 1st – 31st March 2022). They do not need to be overly complicated, and you don’t have to spend time making them look pretty or flashy.
Rent receipts are a method of documenting rental payments from a tenant to a landlord. They only need to provide the required information in a straight and accessible format to work as proof of payment.
If you are required to provide rent books or receipts as your tenant’s rent is payable weekly, you must also state the name and address of the landlord, the type of tenancy and the owed rent.
Suppose you run your rental properties through a company. In that case, you will also need to be mindful of the requirements which cover business interactions, including payment receipts and invoices.
For example, if you run your rental properties through a limited business, you will need to include the following information:
- A unique number for each invoice
- The company name, address and contact information
- The address of the tenant you are charging
- A description of what the charge is for (e.g. March rent at 123 High St)
- The invoice should be dated
- The amount owed, including any VAT if applicable
If you run your rental unit through a business, but you are a sole trader, you need to include the above and include your personal name and the business name if you are using one.
If payments are made through a limited company, then the name and address need to correspond with the information provided to Companies House when the business was registered.
Is It Illegal To Pay And Accept Rent In Cash?
As stated earlier, it is recommended that you take electronic payments, as this provides you with a paper trail should there be any disputes at a later stage. However, whilst it isn’t advisable to accept cash payments, it is not actually illegal to pay and receive rent in cash.
If rent is paid in cash, it is highly advisable to ask for or provide invoices and receipts.
If a landlord or property manager accepts cash payments, they may need to consider the security implications. Whilst the tenant may seem innocent, there is no guarantee that the cash they hand over isn’t counterfeit.
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if money is counterfeit, especially if you are in a rush or it’s dark and raining. Furthermore, the tenant may not even know that the notes are counterfeit as they could have been handed to them as change in a shop.
Additionally, however small, there is always the risk that the landlord could lose their rental money if they lose their wallet or whatever they store the money in. Or were to be robbed whilst they have their cash with them.
Whilst this is an infrequent occurrence and not one we would wish on anyone, there is still a slight possibility of this happening.
Tenants can also pay for rent by posting a cheque to their landlord, and many tenants still do this.
However, the tenant’s responsibility is to ensure that the cheque arrives on time. If it were to get lost in the post, then it is the tenant’s responsibility to fix it (e.g. send another one promptly), or they may be subject to a late fee.
However, a landlord can refuse to accept cheques if they wish to do so and this should be defined in the written agreement. If cheques are accepted, tenants must remember that signing a cheque with insufficient funds can incur additional bank fees.
Online payments are, without question, the safest payment method.