The work of the rent department is of such importance in so many offices that a special consideration of its accounts, in addition to the general discussion of rents in Chapter XIV (Profits From Rents. Section 93. Rent), is desirable.
Unless the number of buildings from which rent is to be collected is very small, it is advisable to treat the business of the rent department as distinct from that of the general office, the rent records being contained in a separate set of books consisting of a cash book, journal, and ledger, and the current funds of the department being deposited in, and disbursed from, a special and distinct bank account.
The basic principle of rent accounts, large or small, is that the accounts deal not with the tenant, but with the building. It is obvious that if the account of any one building is kept in the tenant's name, there may be frequent changes in the title of what is practically one account. This is especially true in connection with small tenement property where tenants frequently move out, and even in, without notice and between the weekly calls of the collector.
When a real estate office has only a few buildings to look after, it may not be necessary to do more than to credit collections to rents and expenditures to repairs, using perhaps a column in the cash book for each class. This does not show separately the earnings of each house, but this separate record may, when necessary, be kept in memorandum form on loose-leaf ledger sheets.
In those offices where there are sufficient houses to form what may be called an agency, a complete set of books should be installed. The advantage of this is two-fold: it keeps separate rent money, part or all of which may belong to clients, and it relieves the general books of a large quantity of detail without adding to the labor required.