International Students: Terms to Know

LANDLORVS. PROPERTY MANAGER: A landlord is the owner of the property. A property manager works for a company that the landlord has hired to manage the property for him or her. If you rent from a property management company it is likely that you will deal with a number of different people, whereas if you rent from the direct owner, you will probably only deal with him or her.


STUDIO APARTMENT:  a “studio” refers to a unit whose living area, bedroom, and kitchen are all in one room with no walls separating them. Studios are often the most affordable rental option if you do not want to live with a roommate.

DUPLEX:  A house that is divided into 2 separate living units, each with its own entrance.

TRIPLEX/FOURPLEX:  the same idea as a duplex, but a triplex has 3 units within one building, and a fourplex has four units within one building.


CO-SIGNER:  A person that signs the lease with the tenant and agrees to take on all financial obligations of the lease agreement should the tenant default on rental payments or violate the lease agreement.

HOLDING  FEE: Money the landlord charges an incoming tenant to reserve an available property for him/her until the date that the lease begins. Unlike a deposit, holding fees are typically non-refundable. If you pay a hold in fee, it is important that you get in writing from the landlord the date that the property will be available for you to move in to. 

LEASE TERM: The length of the rental agreement. A lease is a legal contract and you are responsible to fullfill your part of the contract for the entirity of the lease term.

RENTAL APPLICATION FEE: If you apply to live in a property managed by a property management company, they will probably charge you when you submit your rental application. This fee is non-refundable and does not guarantee that you will be approved to live in the unit that you are applying to rent.