One of the most common (and stressful) things you need to do as an adult is to rent an apartment. After some research you will then need to fill out a lot of paperwork in order to get the keys of your new home sweet home. The whole process can be overwhelming even in your own language, let alone doing it while speaking in English! Today we will go over the most common words you will hear when you decide to go house hunting. Ready to learn some rental vocabulary in English?
Rental jargon and phases of a house hunt
After you decide that it’s time to leave your parents’ house, move to a bigger apartment or relocate to a different neighborhood, it’s time to start your research. Find out more about the types of houses in English here.
You can do it online these days, but some people still check the newspaper’s classifieds when looking for a house. The classifieds is a section of the newspaper with advertisements for cars, apartments, jobs, and items. You can buy, rent, sell, or find a job through them.
Another way to find an apartment you may like is through a broker. A broker is an real estate agent who works on commission and helps negotiate lease agreements (learn more about lease agreements in the next section).
When looking for the perfect apartment for you, you may want to determine a price range, which is how much you are willing to pay for rent. You can say something like “My price range is $800 to $1200”. If you are offered an apartment that is more expensive than your price range, you can say “I can’t afford this apartment”, which means you don’t have enough money to rent it.
You also need to tell your broker if you are looking for a furnished or unfurnished house. If the apartment is fully furnished that means it comes with everything you need to live there, such as chairs, tables, beds, appliances. You don’t need to bring any furniture to live in these places. Some apartments don’t have everything you may need. These are semi-furnished. Usually they have kitchen appliances only. Unfurnished means the apartment does not have any furniture.
After visiting many apartments, you have found the one! Well, this is where the paperwork starts. Let’s go over all the rental terms you will hear during this phase of your house hunt.
Rental terms: 15 words you should know
Now let’s discuss all the vocabulary and phrases for renting an apartment. The first two words you need to know are tenant and landlord. A tenant is the person who is renting an apartment that belongs to someone else. Sometimes there is also a co-tenant, which is when there is more than one individual responsible for the rent. The owner of the apartment is called a landlord.
Both of them need to sign a lease agreement, which is a contract between them that states everything from the amount of the rent, the lease term (how long the tenant rents the unit), and the rules that for the tenant and the landlord. When your lease ends, you can check with the landlord if they are willing to renew it, which means to extend the lease term for another period of time, usually one year.
Sometimes people sublet an apartment, which means they are renting an apartment from the official tenant, not the landlord of the unit. That is common when the tenant is not living in the apartment for a temporary period. Even though the landlord is not directly involved in this agreement, the tenant asks for the landlord’s permission to sublet the unit.
Security deposit and more
Since we are talking about the amount of the rent, let’s discuss money. In the United States, it is common for the tenant to pay two months’ rent upon move-in, which is often referred to as first and last month’s rent, and a security deposit before moving in. The phrasal verb move in means to start living in a new place. On the other hand, move out is a phrasal verb that means to stop living in a particular home.
A security deposit is an amount of money that the tenant pays to the landlord as a guarantee that he or she will take care of the apartment. To get the deposit back from the landlord, the apartment must be in good condition.
You may also need to pay a pet deposit if you have a pet. A pet deposit is a one-time fee that is required for you to have a pet in the apartment. This may be refundable which means the landlord will return the money to you, or it may be nonrefundable which means the landlord does not have to return the money to you.
Besides paying rent, the tenant also needs to pay the utilities. Utilities are the bills for services like water, electricity, heat, parking, or internet. It is common to hear someone say “on average, the utilities come to about $120 a month”.
When renting an apartment, your landlord may request your credit history. A credit history is a public record of how you have managed your credit and debt in the past. Any payments toward loans, debts, and former leases may appear in your credit history. When all of this is sorted, you can start thinking about your move!
You can learn more about the types of houses and parts of the house in this blog post. We hope all this information about rental vocabulary in English helps you whenever you need to rent an apartment in an English-speaking country. Check out this rental glossary for more terms and definitions. See you soon!