Knowing the common words that have to do wth apartments and renting will make the process much easier for you.

Apartment Lease

An apartment lease is a contract between a tenant and a landlord. By signing the lease, the landlord and tenant each agree to abide by the lease terms.


An apartment complex is a building that contains apartments. A complex can also be a collection of apartment buildings. No matter how many buildings there are, the complex operates under one management company, and has one set of rules.


An apartment community consists of the tenants living the complex. The community has a set of interests in common. For example, everyone in the apartment community lives in the same complex.


An eviction is when the landlord forces the tenant to move out before the lease is over. This happens when tenants do not follow the rules of the lease. An eviction involves going to court and hurts your credit score. Having an eviction to your name also makes it harder to rent another apartment. Many landlords do not want to rent to people who have been evicted.

Guarantor (also called Co-Signer)

A guarantor is a person who would be on the hook for your debt if you stop paying your rent. Guarantors are also called co-signers since they sign all the paperwork with you sharing financial responsibility for the lease.


A landlord is an individual owner of an apartment. The landlord is who you pay rent to each month. He or she makes sure all scheduled maintenance and repairs are done in your apartment too.  If you live in an apartment complex, these tasks are done by a manager, who works for the management company.

Pet deposit

A pet deposit is an additional security deposit required of pet owners. A pet deposit is used at move-out to cover any damage done to the apartment by the pet. If a pet doesn’t do any damage to the apartment which requires repairs, the renter gets the pet deposit back after the inspection.

Security deposit

Tenants pay a security deposit prior to move-in. This money is held by the landlord or manager to cover any damage to the apartment that you don’t repair before moving out. The security deposit is returned if an inspection reveals no damage.


A sublet is a situation in which the tenant moves out, and a different person moves in to the apartment, before the lease is over. If the apartment allows sublets, then the sublet tenant must meet the same credit and income qualifications as the tenant, and must abide by all the lease rules. The original tenant is typically still responsible for the apartment, in the eyes of the landlord or management.  Not all apartments allow sublets.


A tenant is the person who signs the lease and lives in the apartment. Tenants must be at least 18 years old. People under 18 who live in the apartment are called occupants and do not have the sign the lease.

Valet Trash

A trash valet service takes your garbage out for you. You leave your bags of garbage outside your front door on your assigned day and they pick it up. Unless your lease states otherwise, the tenant pays for this optional service.

Knowing what a few common leasing terms mean can be helpful when looking for your next apartment or signing a lease. Understanding these terms is the first step to developing a great landlord-tenant relationship.

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