Apartment Dictionary

Glossary of Apartment Renting Terms

Glossary of Apartment Terms


  • Abatement of Rent – If the apartment unit becomes uninhabitable – i.e. from fire or some natural disaster and you can no longer live in the unit – rent is not charged from the date you could no longer live there until the unit is restored to a rent-able manner.
  • Apartment – A rented space in either a building, house or flat. Apartments are rented with a lease, a legal contract stating the terms of the rental.
  • Application Fee – Any deposit of money, however denominated, including all money intended to be used as a security deposit under a rental agreement, or property, which is paid by a tenant to a landlord, lessor, or agent of a landlord for the purpose of being considered as a tenant for a dwelling unit.
  • Alcove – means an area adjacent to the living room that may be used as sleeping quarters, a separate sitting area, home office, dining room, etc.
  • Alcove Studio - This is either a one and a half or two room apartment with a separate alcove, often L-shaped, which can be used as a sleeping area. Ex: 1-1.5 apartment floor plan layout.
  • All Bills Paid Apartments – Apartment communities offering residents a “bills paid” option such as electricity and/or water included in monthly rent. Many renters prefer complexes offering “All Bills Paid” because it’s convenient as tenant only has to write one check at the end of the month – rent.
    This is either a one and a half or two room apartment with a separate alcove, often L-shaped, which can be used as a sleeping area. Ex: 1-1.5 apartment floor plan layout.This is either a one and a half or two room apartment with a separate alcove, often L-shaped, which can be used as a sleeping area. Ex: 1-1.5 apartment floor plan layout.
  • Advanced Charges – charges for services not performed by the mover but instead by a professional craftsman or other third party at renter’s request. The charges for these services are paid for by the moving company and added to renter’s bill of lading charges.
  • Apartment Finder Service – Free apartment locators, relocation assistance, including search by map, area or name, offers apartment information and other related resources.
  • Application Fee - Any deposit of money, however denominated, including all money intended to be used as a security deposit under a rental agreement, or property, which is paid by a tenant to a landlord, lessor, or agent of a landlord for the purpose of being considered as a tenant for a dwelling unit.
  • Amenities – Facilities provided by an Apartment or Serviced Apartment. These can include swimming pool, landscaped gardens, club house, children play area or park, etc. These constitute the “extras” and are intended to improve the quality of life of the residents in the development.
  • Appraiser - An expert who officially estimates the worth, value, or quality of a property for a mortgage.
  • Anchor Tenant - the major or prime tenant in a commercial property.
  • Apartment Amenities - The features and services offered by an apartment community. These may include spacious walk in closets, stainless steel kitchen appliances, Wi-Fi access, coffee bar, and so on.
  • Arrears – overdue rent.
  • Assured Tenancy - A type of agreement that gives a tenant the right to remain in a property unless the landlord can convince the cout that there are good reason to evict them.


  • Balcony - An outdoor space that protrudes from a building. Most balconies are private but some are shared between neighbors.
  • Brownstone – is a brick-row house built in the early 20th century, usually three to four stories in height but occasionally reaching five or six stories. These homes were converted into multiple units in the mid-20th century, and in many cities today, they’re considered among the most desirable rental properties. Many of them have been restored to their original grandeur with polished wood floors, beautiful, winding staircases, leaded glass and bay windows. You won’t find any elevators in these buildings, which makes moving a challenge. Most brownstone units can and do command a city’s highest rents. Waiting lists for these units are common.
  • Breach of Contract - to be in violation of the terms of the apartment rental agreement.
  • Base Rent - A set amount used as a minimum rent in a lease with provisions for increasing the rent over the term of the lease.
  • Bi-Level Loft Apartment - A Bi-level loft is a loft that has a second mezzanine level that overlooks the floor below. A loft does not have to have 2 levels.
  • Building Amenities - Extra features and services offered by a apartment building. Amenities could be a state-of-the-art fitness facility, 24-hour concierge service, free Wi-Fi, a business center, etc.
  • Bungalow - A single story apartment floor plan.


  • Convertible – or “Flex” means that the alcove located off of the living room area is large enough to be used as an additional bedroom, if desired.
  • Combined Apartment - When an apartment owner takes two separate yet adjoining apartments and combines them into a larger single apartments.
  • Commission - Money that a broker or real estate agent receives for negotiating a loan or real estate transaction.
  • Common Areas - these are “shared” area within the apartment building – things like hallways, driveways, parking facility, etc.
  • Condominium - The absolute ownership of an apartment and an undivided interest of the ownership of the common elements of the building. A type of apartment ownership in which the owner owns real property, yet the apartment is part of a much larger building in which others own individual units. Each owner receives a unit deed and proof of ownership.
  • Condominium Lease – Similar to a rental lease, except the apartment has a private owner. This type of lease may have more negotiable terms as only one owner is involved.
  • Convertible – An apartment with an extra alcove or room that could be converted into a bedroom. This is great for someone needing an office or someone who needs a child’s room.
  • Cooperative (also referred to co-op housing) – A building owned by a cooperative apartment corporation. The corporation issues shares of its stock which are allocated to each apartment depending on the size and features. This means you don’t own the actual space but rather a share in the cooperation.
  • Cost of Move – All cost estimates are calculated based on information obtained from the listed moving companies during a sign-up interview. Although every effort is made to gather the most accurate information, customers should be aware of the fact that many factors effect the cost of a move.
  • Credit History - A record of an individual’s repayment of debt. Credit histories are reviewed by mortgage lenders as one of the underwriting criteria in determining credit risk.


  • Deposit – Also known as a Security Deposit, is a fixed sum given to a landlord by the prospect at the start of a tenancy to cover reasonable losses.
  • Duplex - an apartment with 2 floors or levels, not two apartment units.


  • Elevator Buildings – Usually a six- to twelve-story building that uses an intercom or video surveillance system. They may or may not have a doorman and luxuries like an in-building gym or pool.
  • Eviction – Depriving a person of possession of occupancy. Constructive eviction: not actually removing a tenant but making it impossible for him or her to remain because of the conditions, such as serious deterioration. The formal removal of a resident when they have broken the terms of their apartment rental agreement. In most cases, this requires formal notice beforehand.
  • Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) - The Equal Credit Opportunity Act is a federal law requiring creditors to make credit equally available without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status or receipt of income from public assistance programs.


  • Furnished Apartment – means that you’ll have the basics covered … but don’t call House Beautiful and tell them to shoot your apartment for next month’s cover. You’ll have your sofa, your kitchen table and chairs, your bed, a dresser and probably your basic household items. These units are perfect for people who need temporary housing (for a short-term business assignment, for example). More often these days, you’ll see corporate housing companies offering their services in major metropolitan markets; corporate housing is probably your best bet in these circumstances, because you can be fairly certain that all of your needs will be met.


  • Garden-style Apartment – Your everyday, run of the mill, nothing too spectacular apartment community.
  • Gourmet Kitchens – Upscale kitchens featuring stainless steel appliances, island kitchens, etc.
  • Guest Form – the form a leasing agent fills out when renters view apartments. Leasing agent’s ask for basic personal information and if prospect was referred by a rental agency or not. Verbally tell the leasing agent you were referred by Apartment Ninjas – $150 Rebate reward!


  • Half-Bath - an apartment with extra bathroom that has no shower.
  • Hard Loft-Style Apartment - The conversion of buildings to lofts – result in what is known as the “hard loft.” These are buildings with history and character. They have a harder edge of either concrete construction, or “mill” construction of exposed old brick and original wood posts, beams and floors and / or heavy timber construction. They will have the original exposed duct-work, electrical, and plumbing which are features used to complement the decor. Hard lofts are what people typically think of when they picture a loft, leave plenty of room for creativity.
  • High-Rise Apartment (Condo) -Multi-level residential building (Usually 5 or more levels).
  • HUD Housing – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.



  • Junior – or “Junior One Bedroom” means that while you do have an alcove adjacent to the living room that may be converted into use as a bedroom, it’s a small bedroom (and of course, “small” is a subjective term). You’re probably going to be able to fit one bed (single or full-size, queen-size if you’re lucky, and definitely not king) and a dresser or nightstand in a junior bedroom. It’s an excellent space for guests.
  • Joint Tenancy - A form of ownership or taking title to property which means each party owns the whole property and that ownership is not separate. In the event of the death of one party, the survivor owns the property in its entirety.



  • Landlord/Owner – Any person who has a valid and legal right, title and interest in the property.
  • Leasing Agent – Leasing professional who assist prospects in renting their new apartment home.
  • Lease Term – The length of time that a lease shall be in effect; duration of obligation.
  • Loft Apartments -Large open space usually in a converted industrial building.
  • Loft Areas – Apartments with high ceilings will sometimes have a “loft area” built into them. A loft is a platform constructed over the living space for the purpose of extra storage, a sleeping area, a home office, etc. Generally you can access the area with a staircase or ladder. Loft area very useful because they make use of otherwise wasted vertical space. Dallas lofts in Victory Park for rent.
  • Look-And-Lease Special – Apartment communities offering a “Look & Lease” special meaning prospects who view the property and lease a unit in the same day receive a discount.


  • Market Rent/Market Rate – Following the analysis of current market conditions, the most probable price that a property should be listed at in the open market.
  • Mid-Rise Apartment – Multi-level residential building.
  • Move-in Specials -Apartment communities offering lease incentives such as “1 month free upfront or prorated”, “no application fee”, etc.
  • Move Consultant – There are companies that will handle your move from “origination to destination.” Among other things, they’ll contact the movers, decide which estimate is best, contract for whatever additional services you want and assist in dispute resolution. Because of the volume business they generate for movers they can often get customers a better discount than the carrier would normally allow. A move consultant’s services are generally free to the customer.


  • New Hard Loft – With the high demand for lofts and the lack of available buildings suitable for authentic industrial style loft conversion, we now have “new hard” lofts. Loft developers say the four main features that define a loft are the high ceilings, open spaces, exposed building materials and big windows. Developers are now replicating these main features. New hard lofts will duplicate the authentic details of a hard loft with the additional improvement of being more energy efficient.
  • Notice to Vacate (usually 60 day notice…mandatory) – Notification from the tenant to the apartment complex owner stating the tenant’s intention to leave the rental property, usually after thirty days from the first day of the rental period.



  • Parties to a Lease – Those who agree to abide by the provisions of a lease; typically you as a tenant, any roommates, and the apartment complex owner.
  • Post War Apartments - Built between the late 1940’s through the 1970’s. They are generally high rise and are constructed of white, red or brown brick. They have ample closets, live-in superintendent and laundry facilities.
  • Prewar Building/ Pre-war Apartments – a term you’ll spot often in the real estate sections of New York City newspapers, means a building ranging in height from 10 to 30 floors, and built in the period from 1890 to about 1940. You’ll find plenty of architectural anomalies in these buildings, including high ceilings, hardwood floors, arched doorways, beautiful molding and more. A “Postwar Building” is a structure built after World War II (after 1946). Units in these buildings tend to be less expensive than prewar building units. Post war buildings usually are made of brick.
  • Property Management Company – Real Estate Investment Trusts.



  • Raw Loft Apartment – A loft space that is unfinished. A raw loft may not include a kitchen, toilet or sink. If the loft lacks a bathroom than communal facilities would be available. Most newly renovated “raw” lofts include their own bathroom. Raw is used to describe a loft with no or few amenities. In a raw loft everything from heating and plumbing pipes to brick walls and wiring will be exposed. However, raw lofts can still be spectacular on the inside, especially after some tender-loving care. The view, high ceilings and lighting may be enticing, and the potential can be endless.
  • Relocation Package – The benefits a company provides to new employees who must move or current employees who are transferred. The package may include real estate commissions, closing costs, temporary living expenses, house-hunting trips, travel expenses, apartment lease cancellation fees, tax gross-up, spouse/partner job assistance, double mortgage assistance or home buyout.
  • Reno - A recently updated or renovated apartment unit.
  • Rent Monthly – Fixed periodic payment made by a tenant or occupant of property to the owner for the possession and use thereof, usually by prior agreement of the parties.
  • Rental Agreement – An agreement, written or oral, which establishes or modifies the terms, conditions, rules, regulations, or any other provisions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit and premises; a lease on residential property.
  • Rental History – Rental background (similar to a credit check).
  • Rental Transaction – Rental arrangement essentially means, for a monthly fee, the property is let out by the landlord to a tenant. Most often than not, there is a Security Deposit that goes along with this arrangement. This may also be termed as Advance Rent. This is normally equivalent to 10 months, but may vary. The Security Deposit or Advance Rent is repayable to the tenant after the tenancy is terminated without interest.
  • Rebate Check – Apartment Ninjas offers $150 Cash to clients who lease their apartment using our free services.
  • Rent – the amount charged by the landlord for the right to occupy the apartment floor plan, usually stated as monthly rate.
  • Replacement Cost – The construction cost at current prices of a property that is not necessarily an exact duplicate of the subject property but serves the same purpose or function as the original.
  • Residential Property – Any property, which is used for residential purposes. These areas are specifically earmarked as such by the concerned local authority.


  • Security Deposit – A rental tenant will put down a security deposit on an apartment so that the owner of the apartment has security against any potential damages in the apartment during the term of tenancy. A deposit, usually one month’s rent, which a rental tenant will give to the landlord at lease signing as security against damage to the apartment during the course of their tenancy. At the end of the lease term, the landlord will take the cost of any damages caused by the tenant out of the security deposit before returning it. Most of the time the deposit will be held in an interest bearing escrow account.
  • Serviced Apartments – A Serviced Apartments or Corporate Housing is an exclusive, fully furnished apartment or executive home. It is an excellent alternative to hotel accommodation especially when you are being relocated, between homes, or are working away from home for a period of time.
  • Soft Loft Apartment – This upscale style loft will have partitioned bedrooms with walls that may reach the ceiling. Soft lofts are usually found in newly constructed loft apartments. Soft lofts will tend to look more like traditional apartments and are usually more energy efficient than a hard loft. They have the elements of a hard loft but with softer edges. The softer edges may include carpet covering the floors and drywall encasement hiding the duct-work, electrical, and plumbing. Some may have walls that may not reach the ceiling, which are sometimes called three-quarter length.
  • Studio Apartment (Efficiency Apartment) – technically means a two-room apartment consisting of a kitchen (one room) and the rest of the unit (second room), which serves as your combination living room and bedroom. Some studios actually contain alcoves for the sleeping area. (It’s somewhat surprising that according to this definition, a studio is larger than the above-mentioned interpretation of a loft apartment). One (0-1) or two rooms with combined living and sleeping area. A one or two room apartment with a combined living and sleeping area. The kitchen is either a separate room or set in a wall of the living area. This type of kitchen is usually referred to as a “Pullman” kitchen, after the Pullman railroad cars.
  • Sub-Lease – Taking over a lease in a co-operative or rental apartment from the current tenant. The sublet renter usually shares responsibility for the apartment with the main leaseholder.
  • Sublet - Agreeing to permit someone to use a rental property for a term less that the full term of the apartment lease, and to be paid for that permission.


  • Tenancy in Common - Ownership of property in which several owners each own a stated portion of the property (a percentage). Each owner may deal with her portion of the property as she wishes and, upon her death, her share becomes part of her estate.
  • Tenant of Sufferance – A tenant who has remained in a unit after a lease or tenancy at will lease agreement has expired or was terminated.
  • Tenant without a Lease - A tenant with the rental property owner’s consent to occupy a premises without a lease agreement.
  • Terrace - A roof or part of a roof on a building, used as outdoor space for an apartment. Often confused with a balcony, the terms are used interchangeably.
  • Townhouse Rental - Refers to a style of terraced rent house often with three or more floors, with combined garage parking on the ground floor. Town home rentals can also refer to three or more connected one story flats with shared parking.
  • Travel Agent – An agency that makes the necessary arrangements for travelers, esp. the booking of airline tickets, holiday rentals, hotels and web travel services.




  • Walk-up Apartments – 4 to 5 story apartment buildings with no elevator and usually no doorman. They were originally constructed as multi-family housing and lack the charm and elegance of traditional brownstones or townhouses.
  • W/D - washer and dryer machines included in apartment unit.
  • W/D Connections - washer and dryer machine connections only in apartment unit.
  • WIC - Walk-in Closets included in apartment floor plan.




  • Zone/Area – Parts of a city or town are allocated and categorized into zones, which in turn will have a bearing on factors like type of property that can be constructed, number of floors allowed for construction, etc.