Rent Roll Basics

Property Management

Aug 01

The rent roll is a simple document.  Honest. Problem is that people complicate the document by providing too little or too much information and call it a rent roll.  What is a basic rent roll?

A Rent Roll is: The property owner’s representation of rental income.

There.  Wasn’t that easy?  What belongs on the rent roll?  Just the facts, please.  An exceptionally detailed rent roll may have twenty to forty columns of data but the core data is very small and succinct.  It includes:

  • Tenant Name (name of Lessee)
  • An Address (of the property rented)
  • Unit Type (residential, commercial, retail)
  • Square Feet (# of square feet rented to the lessee)
  • Monthly Contract Rent
  • Lease Start Date
  • Lease End Date

Stop right there. For sake of simplicity the objective is to get the basics in order first.  For a small property owner, this alone can be a daunting task. These are absolutely the minimum requirements to build a viable rent roll.

You can always expand the document. For the sake of argument, create a rent roll from scratch as if  all documentation including all electronic files were “lost” except for the leases.  Then create a rent roll using only the list. This will be our initial rent roll.  Complete.  Accurate. Functional. Expandable.

Once at this initial stage- even from a simple spreadsheet, we can add metrics for learning more about the property; from average term of tenancy to collections and projected revenue.  Without a rent roll, no one can determine the revenue side of operations or make projections about projected vacancy, for example.

Discovering the strengths and weaknesses in asset operations using rent roll analysis guides you to focus on areas requiring attention.  Use baseline data as your cornerstone information; validated, real and then actionable for making operational improvements.

John Wilhoit is the Author of five books, including: “How to Read a Rent Roll: A Guide to Understanding Rental Income“.  Join the conversation at John for updates, blogs, books and podcast

For more information on real estate investing, home-ownership and property management, listen to the podcast John Wilhoit on Real Estate.

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About the Author

John Wilhoit is a real estate professional specializing in residential asset management and property management. John has an undergraduate Degree in Business and a Master’s Degree in Urban Studies. Learn more about John here.

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