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Decoding Rental Property Terminology

By September 17, 2021September 20th, 2021Condo, Home, Insurance

When you are looking for an apartment or other type of property to rent, searching for the right one can be overwhelming. Complicated rental terms can add to the confusion. Understanding those terms is vital before you sign a lease so you can do so confidently and start to enjoy your new place.

The following glossary will provide you with a list of standard rental terminology to help clear up much of the confusion. Read it carefully to ensure you understand each term’s meaning and begin your search for a rental property with added self-assurance.

Abatement: An abatement is a lease clause that allows you to suspend your lease and rent payments if your apartment is damaged or under repair through no fault of your own and you must live somewhere else.

Accessible: An accessible apartment is one that someone can occupy with a physical disability. These could include ramps, larger doors, adapted bathrooms, lowered light switches, wider hallways, and elevator access for an individual in a wheelchair.

Amenities: Amenities are features, both tangible and intangible, that come with the property and enhance its value.

Affordable Housing: The type of housing that a federal or state agency governs to offer assistance and control the rent of those who meet specific criteria.

Broker: Brokers are licensed real estate professionals who help negotiate lease agreements between the landlord and the renter. 

Common area: Common area refers to the part of a complex designated for the use of every renter. These could include a gym, laundry room, clubhouse, and specific outdoor spaces.

Co-signer: A co-signer is a secondary signer of the lease who won’t be living there. Those with a poor credit history often require a co-signer to take on some of the financial responsibility.

Condominium (Condo): A condo is a multi-unit building where the occupants own each unit, and all the owners own the common areas.

Duplex: A single house designed for two separate individuals or families. For instance, a home with an upstairs for one family and downstairs for another is a duplex.

Escrow account: A broker will establish an escrow account to keep funds until a transaction has been completed.

Eviction: The formal process during which a landlord terminates a lease and requests a tenant to vacate the rental. Evictions usually follow when a tenant fails to pay the rent or otherwise breaks the lease terms.

Fixed-term leases specify a set period, typically 12 months, during which a tenant agrees to rent the apartment. The tenant must fulfill the period of the lease before moving out.

Lease: A contract between the tenant and the landlord. It usually specifies the amount of the rent, lease term, rules, regulations, and your and your landlord’s responsibilities. Most leases are in writing.

Lessee: The tenant who has agreed to the term of the lease.

Lessor: The landlord who has agreed to the term of the lease.

Lien: A lien gives a landlord the right to keep possession of a renter’s property until a debt has been paid.

Mediation: Mediation is an arbitration process with an impartial third party hired to resolve a disagreement between a tenant and landlord.

Pet deposit: Usually a one-time fee, the pet deposit allows the pet to live in the rental. If the pet damages anything, this fee covers the repairs.

Rent to own: A lease agreement, usually on a rented house, gives the tenant an option to purchase the property.

Rental discount: A discount that the landlord gives the tenant for paying the rent by a particular day.

Right of First Refusal: This gives a current tenant the first option to re-lease a unit at the same rent price or under the same conditions before the unit is available for others to rent or lease.

Security deposit: A security deposit is an upfront payment from a tenant to the landlord to pay for repairs if the tenant damages the property.

Step-up lease: This is a lease agreement indicating that the rent will increase at specified times during the lease period.

Townhouse: A row of houses that are connected by sidewalls.

Here is another essential term: Renters Insurance

As soon as you sign the lease on a rental property, make sure you have protected it adequately with renters insurance. Talk to one of our advisors to find out how White Cloud Insurance can help you. Fill out our contact form, call us at 305-556-1488, or send us a message at At White Cloud Insurance, you are always the priority.