How to Prepare a Rent Payment Ledger

For landlords, keeping accurate accounting records is critical. Thus, it is important to have an accurate and easy-to-read rent payment ledger. There are rent management software programs available on the market, of course, which can assist you in this regard. Still, landlords, whether they use a software program or not, should know what kind of rent payment ledger they should use.

For Court Proceedings

Using proper accounting methods is not just good business practice, but it is needed when an eviction for non-payment of rent is filed, and the tenant challenges the amount of rent owed in the court proceedings or the court needs to make a determination of how much rent is owed.

A rent payment ledger should have these basic elements:

  • a header with basic tenancy information to identify the tenant and property
  • the date that charges accrues
  • the item the charge is for
  • the amount of the charge
  • the tenant’s payment to the landlord
  • the date the tenant’s payment is made
  • the balance of money owed after tenant’s payment is applied 

Sample Rent Ledger

Below is a sample rent payment ledger to demonstrate:

Tenant Name: John Doe
Rental Address: 9876 Sample St., Pensacola, FL 32501
Base Monthly Rent: $1,500
Security Deposit: $1,500
Lease Type: (month-to-month / specified lease term)
[If a specified lease term: beginning date (January 1, 2024) – end date (December 31, 2024)]
DateCharge ItemAmount AccruedAmount PaidBalance
1/1/2024Security Deposit$1,500 $1,500
1/1/2024January 2024 Rent$1,500 $3,000
1/1/2024Move-in Administration Fee$250 $3,250
1/1/2025Tenant Payment $3,250$0.00
2/1/2025February 2024 Rent$1,500 $1,500
2/5/2025Late Fee (February 5, 2024)$150 $1,650
2/6/2025Tenant Payment $1,500$150
2/8/2025Tenant Payment $150$0.00
3/1/2025March 2024 Rent$1,500 $1,500
3/2/2025Tenant Payment $1,500$0.00
Sample Rent Payment Ledger

Business Record

The rent payment ledger should be kept current and as part of your ordinary course of business. This way, the document can be used as a “business record” under the Rules of Evidence. If the court finds that the document was not kept in the ordinary course of business or there are other foundation problems with the document, the court may not permit the document to be used as evidence, which could have a major bearing on the results of the eviction.

Using a simple and effective accounting method should easily show the tenant and judge what they need to know about how you calculated what the tenant owes in rent and how you came to the amount stated in the 3 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate. 

Attaching the Rent Payment Ledger to the Notice

On that note, it is also a good practice to attach the current copy of the rent payment ledger to the 3 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate when the rent demanded in the notice is not easily ascertained in the notice itself when compared to the charges agreed upon in the lease agreement. In other words, attaching the rent payment to the notice is a good idea when the tenant (or judge) cannot see how you reached that amount.

TIP: for verbal tenancies, since there is no written agreement to define any fee or charge as “additional rent”, the landlord can never include any charge in the 3 Day Notice except for base rent.

For example, say that monthly rent is $1,500, late fees are 10% of rent, utility charges are “additional rent” in the lease, and the lease provides for other fees to be paid (e.g. lease violations) as additional rent. Let’s say the 3 Day Notice to Pay demands $4,233.50. Since there is no way to determine if the amount demanded in the 3 Day Notice is accurate and thus legally sufficient, the landlord should attach the current cope of rent payment ledger to show how the landlord came that calculation.

TIP: if you are a property manager, you can only use the FAR-BAR 3 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate and cannot alter it. Since that notice does not provide you with the option to attach a rent ledger, you may not do so with the FAR-BAR 3 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate. However, if you have an attorney prepare your 3 Day Notice to Pay form, that attorney-prepared notice can provide for your option to attach a rent ledger.

When you need or want to attach a rent ledger to the 3 Day Notice, language in the notice could be stated as follows in the “pay or vacate” section:

You are hereby notified that you are indebted to Landlord in the following sum of money for use and occupation of the premises, now occupied by you: 

Unpaid rent from __[date]___ to the date of this notice delivery:$

Total Rent Owed – $_________. The rent payment ledger is attached to this notice.

Know the Law and Rules About 3 Day Notice to Pay

Of course, the landlord must know applicable laws and rules based on court decisions regarding what money items and amounts can or cannot be included in a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate, such as the following. The landlord cannot include in a notice to pay:

  • any fee or charge that is not defined as “additional rent” in the lease agreement.
  • attorney’s fees and costs (note: there is a way this could be included, but it involves the parties entering into a settlement agreement in a pending legal action, which the court ratifies, and the tenant thereby agrees that payment of attorney’s fees and costs shall be deemed “additional rent” in the settlement agreement).
  • security deposits or deposits of any kind.
  • “damages” (e.g. property damage) caused by tenant (without adjudication from the court)
  • charges that have not accrued yet.
  • unconscionable fees.
  • charges that are not the tenant ‘s responsibility under applicable law or the lease agreement.

If charges are included in the 3 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate but are not permitted by law, the 3 Day Notice to Pay is legally defective, and the eviction can be dismissed. 


In sum, the rental business requires the landlord to be knowledgeable, thorough, and accurate, especially with regard to accounting for charges and payments, and the rent payment ledger is an essential component to good property management practices and successful evictions. If the landlord is not going to use a rent management software program, he should use a software program (e.g. Excel) to keep his a rent payment ledger, and it must be accurate, contemporaneous, and easy to read and understand.

Property Management Law Solutions, LLC is a Florida law firm that specializes in landlord-tenant law and is a landlord-only law firm. We provide statewide services including evictions, consultation plans, education and training, membership plans, lease agreement plans and more. If you are a landlord or property manager, contact us today or subscribe to one of our online membership plans.