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Rent Terminology You Need to Know

Tips for Understanding Apartment Lingo

August 13, 2019


Not sure what a rental concession is? How about a walk-up apartment? Well, if you’re going to be a renter, or already are, it helps to familiarize yourself with these terms and other industry lingo that you’re likely to hear along your renting journey.

By studying up, you’ll be able to comfortably communicate with landlords and leasing agents, ensuring you get the most out of your rental experience without running the risk of being taken advantage of.

Here are the key words and phrases to know, in alphabetical order:

All Bills Paid Apartments/All Utilities Included: An arrangement in which rent, electricity, water and other miscellaneous costs are included in one single payment. Be sure to clarify whether there is potential for additional charges if, for instance, electricity use goes above a certain threshold.

Amenities: Can be shared facilities such as swimming pools, fitness centers and community rooms that are provided by the apartment community, or in-room features such as washers and dryers. Be sure to ask whether there are fees associated with any of the amenities.

Application: A document submitted by renters to their prospective landlord indicating whether they are qualified to rent. Can include work information, previous addresses and references, among other personal details.

Application Fee: A charge to the renter, often covering the landlord’s cost to run a background check and credit report.

Broker: An intermediary who charges a fee to facilitate the lease arrangement between a renter and landlord. More common in large metropolitan areas where renting is competitive.

Co-signer: A person who signs a lease but will not be residing at the apartment. A Co-signer is used to vouch for a renter with unsatisfactory or limited credit and/or rental history.

Credit History: A report, usually reviewed by landlords during the application process, indicating a person’s likelihood to repay debts.

Duplex: A house divided into two residences with separate entrances.

Furnished Apartment: Comes equipped with furniture such as a bed, couch and kitchen table. Be sure to know what is included and what you will be responsible for bring to the property.

Guarantor: Another term for co-signer (a person who signs the lease but will not be residing at the apartment).

Kitchenette: A limited kitchen area, which does not have certain appliances or which has smaller versions of them than found in a traditional home.

Landlord: The owner of a property who leases units to renters. You may interact with the landlord directly or with a property manager hired to facilitate the rental arrangement.

Lease Term: The length of time that a rental contract is in effect.

Leasing Agent: A property representative who tours the apartment and provides the necessary information for rental.

Lessee: Another term for renter or tenant.

Lessor: The landlord or property manager who provides the lease to renters.

Move-in Specials: A lease incentive, such as one month of free rent, provided by the landlord or property manager.

Prorated Rent: The reduced amount charged to a renter for occupying the unit for less than a full month — at either the beginning or end of a lease. This typically is a percentage of the monthly rate.

Renewal: The option for a renter to continue renting after the expiration of the initial lease term. Be sure to pay attention to renewal dates, which may be months in advance of the end of a lease term.

Rental Concession: Another term for a move-in special, these incentives can include a month’s free rent, free parking and more.

Rental History: A person’s rental background, checked by a landlord for trustworthiness.

Security Deposit: Typically one month’s rent, this payment from a renter to a landlord covers the cost of any damages to an apartment. Renters should expect the payment to be returned at the end of a lease term, barring any damage beyond normal wear and tear.

Studio Apartment: Also known as an efficiency apartment, this style lacks defined bedroom space and is instead all one living area.

Sublease: When a renter allows another person to lease all or part of the apartment. It is necessary to first ask your landlord, and remember that the original tenant remains liable.

Tenant: Another term for renter. The person who signs a lease and resides in an apartment.

Utilities: Services such as electricity, gas and water. May or may not be included in the monthly rent cost, so be sure to ask.

Walkthrough: When the renter and landlord tour the property together to note its existing condition, either at the time a lease is signed or after the duration of a lease.

Walk-up Apartment: An apartment above the first floor with no elevator access.

W/D Connections: A description in an apartment listing indicating the unit has the hookups to install a washer and dryer but that they are not in place.

We hope these terms are helpful to you as you navigate the renting process.

Of course, don’t be afraid to ask your landlord or leasing agent to clarify anything — most will be happy to make sure you understand the lease and are satisfied with the rental situation.

If you’re curious to learn more tips to make renting more rewarding, check out our blog for renters. If you are looking for an apartment, we encourage you to check out all of the properties offering Rhove, where you can make money on rent.