Landlord Quick Tip

Tip #23: Build a Tenant File Checklist

ChecklistWhether it’s doing your taxes, collecting unpaid rent, filing an eviction, or defending a lawsuit for injury or discrimination, what you have — or don’t have, in your files will decide the outcome.

Here’s a good way to organize your tenant files, so you are sure to have the information you need, when you need it:

Copy of your rental ad, notes of initial phone conversation, first tenant meeting

The signed, completed application

The screening reports

Notes from all reference checks– personal, employment and emergency contact verifications

The signed lease

Copy of the first check/s

The signed move-in checklist and any amendments, along with photos, videos (or links to retrieve them)

All correspondence, including phone messages, repair requests, notes of conversations

Repair records

Record of each month’s payments

Tenant updates, including lease amendments, updated credit screens (long-term tenants), updated employment, reference, contact info

Copies of restraining orders, divorce decrees, police reports

Move-out Checklist and Photos/Video

Forwarding address

Security deposit reconciliation

Much of this information is confidential so make sure you keep it private, and safe.


Kudos if you calendar 90 days before move out — so you can take steps to retain your tenant before they start to look around. Remember not to shelve files where there’s unpaid debt — you have years to collect it.

Did we leave anything out? What else do you keep in your tenant files? Comment below if you have more suggestions.

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