lamp wardrobe

Lease Dictionary



An abatement is a provision in your lease stating that if your rental is damaged or under repair (not by you or someone in your care’s fault or from a disaster) then you may stop paying rent payments or make partial payments of rent until your landlord repairs the damage and the rental is habitable.



Facilities provided by the landlord or development which can include things such as a swimming pool, spa or hot tub, gym, landscaped gardens, childrens play area, dog park, BBQ area, etc.



A form a prospective tenant fills out in order for a landlord or property manager to decide if the tenant is qualified to rent the unit. A tenant can expect to provide some basic personal information like name, phone number, email addresss, Social Security number, previous addresses, employer, and salary. Additional information may also be requested of the tenant for things such as pay stubs, bank statements, license or another form of identification, references and recommendations.



You are in arrears when your rent or other payment such as utilities are past due.


As-is condition

A tenant is agreeing to rent the unit in it’s current condition regardless if there are known issues and repairs needed therefore you are renting the unint as-is.



An assignment of a lease is a complete transfer of the right to be the tenant under the lease.

The assignee becomes the “tenant” under the lease, taking over all of the leased premises, substituting for the old tenant. The new tenant pays the rent required under the lease directly to the landlord and is treated as the tenant under the lease for all purposes.

The assignor (old tenant) is no longer responsible for rent or utilities and other costs that they might have had under the lease. Here, the assignee (new tenant) becomes the tenant and takes over all responsibilities such as rent. However, unless the assignor is released of all liabilities by the landlord, they remain responsible if the new tenant defaults.



Someone who is a secondary signer of your lease who won’t be living in the rental unit. A co-signer is usually needed when the tenant doesn’t meet the salary requirements and/or has a short or poor rental or credit history. The co-signer is equally responsible for upholding the terms of the lease as a backup if you can’t.



Co-tenants are two (or more) people who sign the lease with the intent that both or all will occupy the rental unit. Typically in a lease there will be a clause called “joint and several liability” which means all tenants are equally and legally responsible for rent and other lease provisions.


Common area

Areas that are considered shared space such as a gym, laundry room, hallways, driveways, parking lots. Every renter of an apartment building or house is entitled to access the common areas.



A concession is an offer a landlord may make to the tenant to entice them to rent their unit. A concession can be a reduced rent amount, first month free, reduced or waived security deposits, free parking space, access to property amenities, among other things that will benfit the tenant.


Credit history / report

Credit history is a record of how you’ve managed the repayment of debts, such as credit cards and loans. Your credit history is recorded in your credit reports, which also contain additional information about your finances. Landlords look at your credit history to see if you will be a good candidate that will make rental payments on time.



A legal action that tenants can take in evictions where they agree with the facts of a lawsuit but object to certain allegations in the complaint. This can delay a legal eviction process.



Paying your rent and/or utilities online using electronic devices, such as computers, smartphones, or tablets. This is usually a good payment because you can set up automatic recurring payments so you pay on time.



An eviction is the formal process to terminate a lease early, whether it’s because a tenant fails to pay rent, damages the property or breaches the contract in other ways. Local eviction laws and statutes vary by state.


Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities.


First refusal right

An existing tenants right to have the first option to renew their unit at the same rent price or under the same conditions before the rental unit is made available to the public for others to rent.


Fixed-term lease

A fixed-term lease specifies a set period of time that a tenant agrees to rent the unit and is required to fulfull the lease timeframe. Typically a residential rental ease is 12 months but other common lease terms are 6 months or 2 years. This is different from a month-to-month lease under which a tenant can pay each month and decide whether or not to stay the following month.


Furnished House/Apartment

This means the rental unit will come with supplied furniture upon move in such as a couch, kitchen table and chairs, bed, a dresser and other household items.


Grace period

Most leases require rent to be paid on the first of the month but most state law often requires lease agreements to include a grace period, or a time period after the due date when rent is considered late. If you fail to meet the grace period due date a late fee may apply based on your lease.



A guarantor is a third party who “guarantees” you’ll pay your rent and other expenses in you lease such as utilities. A guarntor is very similar to co-signer but does not have the abide to the lease as a co-signer does.



A temporary visitor to your apartment who does not live there and is not named on your lease. Vistors are required to adhere to all terms of your lease and typically you will be accountable for any actions they take. Lease agreements usually specify how long guests can stay in the rental unti.



A homeowners association, or HOA, is a self-governing entity within a community. HOA’s usally have specific terms and conditions that set by the HOA board that all community members must adhere to.


Hold Over Tenant

A hold-over tenant is a tenant who still lives in an apartment unit after their lease has expired. They either have an agreement set up with the property manager and will continue to pay rent, or they are considered to be trespassing.

This is a tenant who remains in the rental home after their lease expires. A holdover tenant can remain in the home if the property owner continues to accept their rent payments. But, they’re considered trespassing if rent payments aren’t accepted. Individual state laws may have specific provisions for handling holdover tenants.



An acronym for heating, ventilation and air conditioning.


Implied Warranty of Habitability

Implied Warranty of Habitability means landlords are legally required to maintain a specific set of standards for their properties. This can cover things like ensuring their building and rental units are up tp code, ensuring proper electricity, heating, water, and other essentials that are required.


Joint and Several

In a legally binding lease signed by all parties, the term jointly and severally clarifies the responsibility that is shared by each tenant named on the lease.. Essentially, it states that all of those named are obligated to perform all of the actions required under the agreement.



Landlords refers to a property owner who rents or leases that property to another party in exchange for rent payments. Landlords can be individuals, businesses, or other entities. Landlords typically provide the necessary maintenance or repairs during the rental period, while the tenant or leaseholder is responsible for the cleanliness and general upkeep of the property.


Lease / Lease Agreement

A lease agreemtns is a contract between you (and your co-tenants) and the landlord/owner and in some cases your propert manager. Your lease will state all the terms and conditions setforth by the landlord like things such as rent amount, lease term, rules, regulations and your and your landlord’s responsibilities for the apartment are outlined in exchange for letting you live in the unit. Make sure to read the lease over thoroughly before signing but better yet use our service for a helpful validation!


Lease commencement date

The date that the lease formally starts and you the tenant has access to the rental unit. However, ths is not the date you have to move in.


Leasing Agent

Leasing professional who assists potentials renters looking for a new home or apartment.



The lessee is the tenant, or lease-holder, and the lessor is the landlord/owner who provides the lease to you.



The right of a landlord to keep possession of a renters property until a debt has been paid.


Manager / Building Manager

The person or people who are responsible for handling and overseeing the day-to-day operations of a building. This can include maintenance requets or other daily inquiries.


Mixed-use zoning

Mixed-use zoning in real estate means the property will include residential and/or retail and office space. In most cases the ground level will contain the retail and/or office space and the higher level floors will be residential living spaces.



A month-to-month lease is a periodic tenancy created when the renter is granted possession of the rental with no definite expiration date and pays the landlord on a monthly basis. In certain situation where there is no written agreement, tenancy is also considered to be on a month-to-month basis.


Notice of Violation

This formal notice to the tenant from the landlord that explains what lease terms the tenant violated and by which date they must correct in order for eviction proceeding not to start. This is usually a warning prior to when a notice to quit will be issued to a tenant.


Notice to quit

A formal notice given to a tenant by the landlord stating they intend to end the lease and begin eviction. Typically this will be because the tenant has not paid rent or has broken other provisions in the lease agreement. Each state’s rental laws regarding notice to quit could vary so it is recommended to check your state’s rental laws.


Notice to vacate

A formal notice given to the landlord by a tenant stating they intend to end occupancy of the premises and not renew the lease. It is important to check your lease terms as there could be different advance notice timeframes you must adhere to.


Parking Agreement

A parking agreement could be a separate document from your landlord or will be included as a provision in your lease agreement. It typically will provide information such as which designated parking spot you have, the make and model of your vehicle, color, and your driver license number.


Parking ratio

This is simply the number of allowed on premise parking spaces per tenant or per rental unit.


Pet deposit

Similar to a security deposit for a rental unit this is usually a one-time fee required to have a pet reside in the unit. If the pet damages the apartment or common areas, this fee covers the repairs. This is a separate fee from a monthly pet fee which some landlords may require as well.


Property Management Company

A company that is hired by a landlord to manage and oversee the day-to-day operations of a property. Property managers are usually involved in the end-to-end of the rental process from finding and screening prospective tenants, showing the rental units, issuing leases, collecting rent, handling maintenance request and repairs, responding to tenant comment and complaints, and handling evictions.



The amount of rent charged to a tenant when the first month is less than a full month (i.e. lease starts on the 10th of the month).


Quiet enjoyment

A term found in leases that means you have a right to peaceful and enjoyable use of your rental within normal standards. For example, your landlord or property manager should not be knocking on your door or calling your phone in the middle of the night if you didn’t take the garbage out.



The option the tenant has to continue living in the rental after their current lease is up. If the both the tenant and landlord agree then usually a new lease is signed stating the new lease terms. As a tenant you should be aware of your state rental laws with regards to how long you have lived in the rental and how much advance notice your landlord must give if they do not plan to renew the lease with you.



This is the amount of money your landlord has asked for to rent the unit/property and you at the tenant agree to pay based on your lease. This is a recurring payment that is typically paid on a monthly basis.


Rent control

Government control and regulation of the amounts charged for rented housing. Rentals laws and regulations can vary by state.


Renters Insurance

A renters insurance policy, sometimes called “tenant insurance”, is a group of coverages designed to help protect renters living in a house or apartment. A typical renters insurance policy includes three types of coverage that help protect you, your belongings and your living arrangements after a covered loss. Renters insurance helps cover unexpected events such as theft, a break-in, water damage, electrical/fire damage, or a visitor’s injury.



Someone who shares a rental with you which can be a room, apartment, or house. Usually tenants are each listed as tenants on a lease agreement.



A screening usually consists of a background/credit check on your criminal history, credit or rental history. The screening process allows a landlord to determine if someone is qualified to be their tenant.


Security deposit

A security deposit is usually an amount of money equal to one month rent a tenant needs to provide the landlord upon signing the lease or prior to moving into the rental unit. This money is set aside to cover any damage to the rental during your lease term.

Upon move-out, your landlord will assess the condition of your apartment and refund your deposit less any money your landlord decides to charge for damage or repair beyond normal wear and tear. State laws can vary regarding security deposits and how long the landlord has to provide you with your security deposit back and/or an itemized list of cost of damage.


Sublease / Subletting

When a tenant rents out part or all of their rental to another person. At a tenant, you can’t sublet your rental without prior permission from your landlord. As a tenant of a sublease you are still held responsible for your landlord receiving rent on time and any actions or damage caused by your sub-letter. It is recommended when subletting that you know the person very well.



A person who enters into a lease and pays rent to reside in a rental unit owned by another person or company.



The amount of time specified in your lease in which you will reside in the rental. Besides month-to-month tenancy all leases should specify a rent start and end date.



This can entail any situation in which either the tenant or landlord decides to end the agreement such as eviction, non-renewal and vacating for cause by either side are all types of rental agreement termination.


Three- day notice to pay rent or quit

This notice lets tenants know that they are missing a rent payment, and the tenant has three days to pay, or eviction proceedings will start.



Utilities consists of other monthly expenses such as cable, heat, water, electricity, internet, garbage removal and other items. It is important before signing a lease all utilities are listed in the lease and who is responsible for payment. Utilities in some cases can add hundreds of dollars of month for single tenant.


Wear and Tear

A term found in most leases that describes the acceptable amount of damage which will avoid money from your security deposit being withheld. As a tenant you should actually make sure this lease is in your lease to avoid being penalized for normal and unavoidable usage deterioration of the rental. Things such as having to repaint, carpet cleaning, small scratches are usually considered normal wear and tear.

This lease dictionary is provided only as a guide, and is not to be used or construed as legal advice or terminology.