Best Practices for Documenting Landlord-Tenant Communication

You never know when something you say or do as a landlord or tenant could come into play later. Whether it’s a dispute about damages to a property, failure to pay rent, or any other issue that arises between landlord and tenant, having good documentation of communication is key. As a landlord or tenant, it’s important to know the best practices for recording and documenting conversations and communication between one another.

What is Documentation?

Documentation is evidence that can be used in the event of a dispute or court proceedings. It could be letters, text messages, photographs, emails, or other forms of communication that are important. It is important for landlords and tenants to keep detailed records of all communication about the rental agreement, such as inspection notices, complaints, repair work, or any other important matters.

The Benefits of Documentation

The main benefit of documenting landlord and tenant communication is that it can be used as evidence in the event of a dispute. Documentation from both parties can be used to establish who is responsible for what. For example, if a tenant complains about damages to a property, the landlord can refer to photographs and documents of the property when it was first rented out, to prove that the damage was not there when the tenant moved in.

Furthermore, documenting communication is important for keeping the landlord and tenant organized and on the same page. Having an organized log of conversations, emails, and other forms of communication makes it easier to keep track of what was agreed to and what wasn’t.

How to Document Communication

The best practices for documenting communication between landlord and tenant involve sending and deriving letters, emails, text messages, and other forms of communication. Here are a few tips:

1. Letters:

  • Use a formal format when sending letters to either the landlord or tenant.
  • Make sure to include the date, recipient’s address, and sender’s address.
  • Include a brief paragraph stating the purpose of the communication.
  • Include all relevant details.
  • Keep a copy of the letter for your records.

2. Emails:

  • Always keep a copy of each email sent and received.
  • Include the date, recipient’s email address, and sender’s address at the top of each email.
  • Make sure to include brief subject lines that clearly communicate the purpose of the email.
  • Include all relevant details and facts.
  • Always proofread and edit before sending.

3. Text Messages:

  • If you are using text messages to communicate, it’s best to use services such as iMessage, WhatsApp, or others that will save a transcript of the conversation.
  • If no transcript is available, take screenshots of the conversation.
  • Save all screenshots as well as a copy of your text messages.
  • Include all relevant details and facts.
  • Keep it civil and professional.


When it comes to landlord and tenant communication, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Documenting communication can save you a lot of trouble down the line. Following the best practices for documenting communication between landlord and tenant can help protect both parties in the event of a dispute. It’s important to always keep copies of all relevant documents and maintain an organized record of communication.

What should landlords include in rental agreement terms regarding communication?

• Establish a preferred method of communication for both parties, such as email, phone calls, text messages, or any combination of methods

• Specify a timeline for responding to notifications, inquiries, and requests

• Outline the consequences if either party does not respond or fails to meet the agreed-upon timeline

• Set expectations for information communication. Both parties should agree upon what details should be included in communication, such as full name, rental address, concerns, requests, etc.

• Specify when emergency communication should take place, and the repercussions if notifications are not made in a timely manner

• Ensure that communication is always respectful and professional .

What communication channels should landlords include in rental agreement terms?

1. Email: Landlords can use email to communicate essential information about the rental agreement and deadlines, such as when rent is due, when tenants must vacate, and other requirements.

2. Phone calls: Phone calls give landlords a direct way to communicate with tenants. It allows them to discuss matters clearly and inform tenants of new updates or changes to the rental agreement.

3. Text messages: Text messages provide landlords with a quick way to stay in touch with tenants. They are faster than emails and allow the landlord to send out important reminders and updates.

4. Social media messages: If allowed in your state, landlords can use messaging services such as Twitter and Facebook to communicate with tenants.

5. Letter communication: Landlords should include a section in their rental agreement that outlines when and how they will send letters or other written notifications. This helps formalize communication with tenants.

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