Absentee landlord—A landlord who does not live in the community where his or her rental housing is located. Absentee landlords sometimes neglect their properties.
Amenities—The conveniences offered by a landlord to a tenant.
Bank check or money order—A check that is purchased from a bank with cash.
Board—Usually refers to meals and certain basics like soap and bedding.
Boarding house—A house that is divided into individual private rooms for rent. The arrangement might include one or more meals.
Condo or condominium—An apartment that is owned by an individual(s) in a building where the shared or common parts of the property—such as the grounds and building structure—are owned jointly by all the individual apartment owners in the building.
Co-signer or co-signee—A co-signer agrees to share responsibility for the lease. A co-signer might be the person you’re sharing the apartment with or a family member who agrees to co-sign to help your rental application win approval from a prospective landlord. If you have bad credit or no rental history, you may be required to have a co-signer or guarantor.
Credit check—Most landlords will conduct a credit check to get a sense of your ability to pay the rent. You will be required to fill out forms to authorize a credit check. Any personal information you are asked to provide will be kept confidential.
Down payment—A portion of the fees given to a realtor or landlord before signing a lease to secure an apartment.
Duplex—A house divided into two apartments.
Efficiency or studio—An efficiency or studio apartment has a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen, but all in one room. The kitchen in an efficiency is usually smaller than the kitchen in a studio.
Finder’s fee—Realtors usually charge a commission or finder’s fee when they locate an apartment for a tenant. They can only charge a finder’s fee if they are licensed and if they successfully find an apartment for the tenant.
Furnished/unfurnished—The room or apartment contains some furniture. Unfurnished means that the apartment does not contain any furniture.
HVAC—Heat, ventilation, and air-conditioning.
Landlord—The person who offers the apartment for rent. The landlord might be the owner of the building or someone hired by the property owner to manage apartment rentals.
Lead paint—Before it was outlawed in the early 1970s, paint used in homes contained lead that was later found to be dangerous to small children. The Massachusetts Lead Law requires the deleading or control of lead hazards existing in homes built before 1978 where children under age six live.
Lease—A legal contract stating the dates, price, rules, and other stipulations of the rental agreement between an individual and a management company or landlord. A lease must be in writing to be valid.
Month-to-month or tenancy-at-will—This agreement, which should be formalized with a written agreement, continues from month to month for an indefinite period until either the landlord or tenant gives proper notice to end it. Rent is due monthly.
Normal wear and tear—This refers to the reasonable degree of damage that is expected during the course of a lease, such as minor carpet wear, faded paint, or a leaky faucet. A security deposit cannot be withheld to cover repairs and improvements for normal wear and tear.
Roommates—Individuals who live together in a house or apartment to share expenses. Each roommate typically has a private bedroom.
Security deposit—A security deposit, often equal to one month’s rent, is money paid to the landlord before you move in. It covers any damages that might occur while you are renting the apartment. When your lease ends, the security deposit should be returned to you minus any amount needed to cover damages beyond normal wear and tear.
Studio or efficiency apartment—A one-room apartment with a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen all in one space. The kitchen in an efficiency apartment is usually smaller than the kitchen in a studio.
Sublease or sublet—Sometimes renters find, for whatever reason, that they cannot stay in the apartment for the full term of the lease. They often try to sublet the apartment to another qualified tenant for the remainder of the lease term. Landlords are required to cooperate by approving a qualified tenant to sublet when the original tenant needs to vacate the apartment before the end of the lease, if a qualified replacement tenant is available.
Tenancy-at-will or month-to-month—This agreement, which might be formalized with a written agreement, continues from month to month for an indefinite period until either the landlord or tenant gives proper notice to end it. Rent is due monthly.
Tenant—A tenant is a person who rents an apartment from a landlord.
Utilities—A general term that refers to such basic services as water, heat, and electricity.
Here are a few abbreviations you might find in apartment listings. Keep in mind that abbreviations often vary—for example, bedroom might be abbreviated as br or bd—but those listed here are among the most common.
|½ bath||toilet and sink only|
|¾ bath||toilet, sink, and shower OR bath|
|bb||baseboard heat (electric)|
|bd or br||bedroom|
|bsmt||basement or cellar|
central air conditioning
|cent h/a||central heat and air conditioning|
|fa or fha||forced air heat|
|fp or fpl||fireplace|
|full bath||toilet, sink, shower, bathtub|
|gmt kit||gourmet kitchen|
|g-rng||gas range or stove|
|hb||half bath (toilet, sink, shower)|
|hdwd||hardwood (usually floors)|
|ofc||office or study|
|pqt||parquet (a type of wood floor)|
|rdr||radiator (a heating unit)|
|scrnd prch||screened porch|
|sq ft||square feet|
|w/d||clothes washer and dryer|
|wkg||working, as in working fireplace|
|w/w crpt||wall-to-wall carpeting|