Finding a new home to rent can be difficult. You want to be sure you’re choosing the right location, have a good landlord, are not paying too much rent, and can thrive. But as you read listings for rental homes, you notice weird acronyms and abbreviations, and you’re not exactly sure what they mean. And then, once you sign the lease, this legal document contains words you don’t know. All these terms can make you anxious about moving into a townhouse for lease because you don’t fully understand what you’re signing.

That’s why we put together this glossary of common rental terms. You’ll find the definition of words you might find in listings and on your lease. We believe that you’ll choose the perfect home better when you have all the information you need before moving into a rental townhome community.

Rental Terms Frequently Seen on Listings

When searching real estate listings for a townhouse for lease, you may see some abbreviations or terms that are unfamiliar to you. In fact, the meaning of these abbreviations is some of our most frequently asked questions about our rental options. Learn what some of these common terms mean to better understand the unit being offered to rent.

Accessible Apartments

These apartments are designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities, including features such as wider doorways and hallways, lower light switches, and accessible bathrooms.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, such as housing, work, and public places.


An amenity is an added feature or service that makes living in an apartment complex more enjoyable. Examples include swimming pools, fitness centers, and clubhouses.


A rental application is a form prospective tenants must complete when applying for an apartment or townhouse. It typically includes information about the applicant’s income, credit history, and employment history.


BA stands for bathroom, and the number in front of it indicates the number of bathrooms in the rental. A half a bathroom means a powder room is available that has no shower, just a toilet and a sink.


BR stands for bedroom, and the number in front of it indicates the number of bedrooms in the rental.

Breed Restrictions

Some landlords may have breed restrictions on pets allowed on their properties. Be sure to check with your landlord before applying for a rental property with breed restrictions. Often, the reason for these restrictions has more to do with the landlord’s insurance policy and less with their personal breed preferences.


A broker is a real estate professional who helps renters find apartments or homes to rent or buy. They can provide valuable advice on your area’s best neighborhoods and average monthly rent.

Cable Ready

Cable ready means that the apartment has been wired for cable television service, so you can easily set up your TV without hiring an installer or running cables through walls yourself.


A clubhouse is a common area within an apartment complex where residents can gather to socialize or participate in activities such as movie nights or game nights.

Credit History

Your credit history records your past financial transactions, which lenders use to determine whether you are likely to repay loans on time. It’s used in rental situations to determine if you will likely pay your rent on time.

Demising Walls

Demising walls separate one unit from another within an apartment building or complex. They help ensure unit privacy while allowing soundproofing benefits from shared walls between units.

Galley Kitchen

A galley kitchen is a narrow kitchen layout typically found in smaller apartments. It usually consists of two parallel counters with appliances and cabinets along each side wall, leaving just enough room for one person to walk down the middle aisle between them while cooking or cleaning up after meals.

Income Requirement

Landlords often require applicants to have certain income levels and/or credit scores before being approved for tenancy. These requirements may vary depending on local laws and regulations but should always be understood before applying.

Pet Deposit

Many landlords require tenants to pay a pet deposit when renting an apartment. This deposit covers any damage caused by pets during the tenancy and refreshes the apartment from the smells and hairs left behind at the end of the rental period.


Prorating rent means dividing up a monthly rent payment based on how long someone has lived in their unit during a given month. For example, if you move into your townhouse for lease on the 15th of the month, the prorated rent for the first month will be about half of the normal payment. This policy ensures that everyone pays only for the time they have lived there rather than paying full price for an entire month.

Tandem Parking

Tandem parking refers to parking two cars one behind another instead of side by side. This type of parking arrangement is often used when space is limited, but two cars need to fit into one spot (such as at an apartment complex).


If a rental townhome community has a vacancy, at least one townhouse is available for lease. Check out our available rentals.

Washer/Dryer Connections

Washer/dryer connections refer to hookups already installed within apartments so tenants can easily install their own washers and dryers. These connections make it much easier (and cheaper!) for tenants wanting access to laundry facilities.

Decoding a Lease Agreement

Now that you know what to look for in listings when searching for two-bedroom townhomes in nearby neighborhoods, let’s look at some of the more legal terms you might see on a lease.


An abatement is a clause in a lease that reduces the rent a tenant must pay due to certain circumstances, like hazardous or uninhabitable conditions in the apartment. Basically, if the apartment or townhome for rent becomes uninhabitable due to no fault of yours, the landlord will allow you to suspend your lease while you live elsewhere until the home is fixed.


A sum of money that is overdue and unpaid, usually referring to missed or late payments. For example, your finances are in arrears if you are late paying your rent or utility bill.


The failure to fulfill a contractual obligation specified in the lease agreement is a breach. Breach of contract could include failing to pay your rent on time, not maintaining the rental, or not filling your lease obligations when you move out.


A co-signer is a person who agrees to take legal responsibility for another person’s loan or debt. Typically, this person doesn’t live in the townhouse for lease but would be responsible for rent if the tenant doesn’t pay.


A co-tenant is a roommate or two or more people living together in one rental unit, and both are responsible for paying rent. Townhomes that feature spacious three-bedroom floor plans often have co-tenants living in them.


E-payments are electronic payments made online through services such as Venmo or Zelle for rent or other bills associated with renting an apartment. Some landlords even have their own software used to pay rent online.

Eviction Notice

If your landlord serves you an eviction notice, this document informs the tenant of their need to vacate the property within a specific timeframe due to breaking the terms of the lease agreement. It’s often received for not paying rent for several months or greatly breaching the lease contract.

A notebook with the words “Fair Housing Act” on it sitting on an American Flag.

Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act is federal legislation prohibiting discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability regarding housing practices.

Fixed-Term Agreement

A type of tenancy agreement where renters are given a definitive start and end date is a fixed-term agreement. For example, the rental term may be six or 12 months in a fixed-term agreement.

Grace Period

A grace period is the time frame allowed between when rent is due and when late fees are charged if payment is not received before the end of the grace period. Check your lease agreement to see what grace period applies in your situation.


A person who agrees financially to backstop someone else’s loan or debt should they fail to fulfill their obligations outlined in the contract (such as missing payments). It’s the legal term for co-signer.


Any visitor staying at the premises not listed on the lease agreement or who does not live there permanently is considered a guest. Landlords may impose restrictions on how long guests can stay depending upon their policies and laws in your area, so make sure you know them before having guests over frequently throughout your tenancy period.


HOA stands for Homeowner Association. Sometimes rental townhome communities are subject to HOA restrictions, and the landlord usually pays the monthly fees. These fees cover costs such as maintenance and repairs, insurance premiums, utilities, landscaping fees, etc.


HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems inside buildings designed to keep tenants comfortable during extreme weather conditions. These systems are usually under warranty by manufacturers, so tenants should always check with the landlord before making repairs themselves if something goes wrong.


An individual who owns property that tenants rent out is a landlord. Landlords can vary greatly from personable individuals who enjoy regularly interacting with their tenants through large corporations with little interaction with those on their properties.

Lease Addendum

You may also have some lease addendums to sign when signing your lease. These addendums are supplemental documents attached to leases outlining additional rules not included in the original document. Tenants should always review addendums thoroughly before signing any contracts since they can contain important information about liabilities related to living there.

Lease or Lease Agreement

The written document establishing rules for occupancy between tenant & landlord is a lease. It outlines all expectations, such as monthly rent amounts and length of the rental term, among other details pertinent for both parties to understand their responsibilities while renting a property together.


These titles are given to individuals leasing out properties and those leasing properties. Lessor means the owner, while lessee refers to the renter.


A legal claim against property used as security for payment owed by one party (usually debtor) towards another (usually creditor). Liens can be placed on a renter’s property until a debt has been paid.

Lockout Policy

Being locked out of your apartment can be an unsettling feeling. Fortunately, you may be covered under a lockout policy that is stated in the lease agreement. This policy will outline the necessary steps to get back into your unit, as well as possible fees associated with it. It’s important to read up on these policies in advance to know what to do if it ever happens.


Your rent is the money a tenant owes periodically and pays to a landlord while occupying their premises. It’s based on an agreed-upon price in the signed lease agreement.

Renter’s Insurance

Getting renter’s insurance is a smart idea. It protects against loss resulting from accidental damage while living in a rental property, such as in a fire. It would cover belongings stored inside the building and the potential liability arising from third-party claims if another person got hurt on the property.

Security Deposit

Your security deposit is a refundable sum of money held by the landlord and taken at the start of a tenancy. The landlord uses a security deposit to cover any damages beyond normal wear and tear after a tenant moves out of the property. Some or all of the security deposit is typically returned within a period after the move-out date.


Subletting is when a tenant rents out all or part of the rental property to someone else. Understanding the legal rules and regulations for subletting is essential before doing so.

Wear and Tear

Wear and tear refers to the normal deterioration that happens over time to a townhouse for lease. Factors such as age and usage can affect wear and tear. Sometimes landlords can charge tenants more for excessive wear and tear.

Looking for a Condo, Apartment, or Townhouse for Lease?

Knowing these critical rental terms can make all the difference when looking for an apartment or townhouse for lease. We hope that these definitions helped you learn something new today. When you are ready to find a new home to rent, contact us today to view our available rentals.