What is a rent book?
A rent book is a document used by your landlord to keep details about your tenancy and record all the rent payments you make.
You keep the rent book. But, you should make it available to your landlord, so they can make changes and record your rent and other payments.
Rent books are usually small booklets, but they can come in other forms, as long as they contain all the necessary information.
Even if you have a rent book, you should keep your own written records of the payments you make to your landlord as well as the receipts given to you, as proof of payments you've made.
Does my landlord have to give me a rent book?
If you are a tenant living in rented accommodation, you are legally entitled to a rent book or a similar document that contains the same information. This applies whether you are renting from a private landlord, an approved housing body, a local authority or an employer.
There are different rules about how the rent book is used depending on how you pay your rent.
If you pay your rent in person
If you pay your rent in person, your landlord must record each payment you make in the rent book or give you a written receipt with details of the payment. The rent book entry or receipt must be signed by the landlord and include the amount paid, the purpose, the date of the payment and the period it relates to.
If you pay your rent in another way
If you pay your rent in another way, for example, by post or electronic funds transfer (EFT), your landlord must record the payment in your rent book or give you a written receipt within 3 months of receiving your payment. The rent book entry or receipt must be signed by the landlord and include the amount paid, the purpose, the date of the payment and the period it relates to.
If you pay your rent by EFT, you might accept the record of your EFT payments as a receipt of the payments you’ve made. You and your landlord must agree to this. However, you should both keep your own records of the payments made in case there is a dispute.
Exceptions to the requirement to have a rent book
If you are renting a room in your landlord’s home, your landlord does not have to give you a rent book or a statement of rent paid. This also applies if you are renting a room from another tenant in your landlord’s home. This is because these are licence arrangements, rather than tenancies and the normal landlord and tenant laws do not apply
What information should be in my rent book?
Your rent book should contain the following information:
- The address of the tenancy
- Your landlord's name and address and the landlord's agent (if any)
- Your name
- The date the tenancy started
- The length of the tenancy
- The amount of deposit paid
- The amount of rent and how it is to be paid
- Details of any other payments for services, such as heating or broadband
- An overview of the landlords rights and responsibilities
- An overview of the tenants rights and responsibilities
- A list of furnishings and appliances provided with the tenancy
What if my landlord refuses to give me a rent book?
It is against the law for your landlord to refuse to give you a rent book or a written receipt of the rent you have paid. If this does happen you should inform them of their obligation to give you a rent book.
Threshold can also advise you on this and help you contact your local authority.
The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) also offers a dispute resolution service for landlords and tenants. Landlords must be registered with the RTB to use the service but tenants can use it even if their landlord has not registered the tenancy.