Property Management Dictionary

Here’s a helpful guide of the terms most commonly used amongst rental owners, managers, agents and on Hemlane.

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ACH or Bank Transfer

Automated Clearing House (ACH) is an electronic transfer system for funds. This network creates a smooth transition for money from one party to another.

Amenity Amenities are items on your property that increase its value simply by its existence. Some examples include, a pool on the property, or being near public services such as a supermarket.
Apartment Apartments are a type of housing unit that occupy a part of a larger building. These properties are usually rented out by a party or company that owns the building. Traditionally, these units tend to be only a single level.
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law providing rights to people that have qualified to fit within the definition of being “disabled”. These laws include prohibiting discrimination against a disabled person, requiring a house to make accomodations for people with disabilities, and mandating the house provider to make modifications if needed.
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Broker Real estate brokers are agents who have passed the state broker license exam. They are able to work as independent agents or have other agents work for them.
Building Code Building codes are sets of laws put in place by the State, County, and City Governments to regulate the design and construction standards for building homes.
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Certificate of Title Certificate of titles are state-issued documents identifying the owner(s) of a property. These certificates provide opinions on the current status of the title, determined through an examination of public records.
Common Areas Often found in apartments, gated communities, and condominiums, common areas are areas available to use by more than one person. The common area should be open for all tenants, as well as any invitees the tenant may have.
Condominium Condominiums (condos) are most commonly units located close together with common areas surrounding the area. The main difference between condos and apartments is that apartments are owned by a single user while condos have different owners per unit.
Contract A contract in real estate is between parties regarding the purchase or sale of real estate. Leasehold estates are for the rental of properties such as apartments.
Co-Applicant A co-applicant is a person who applies for a rental property with another person. An example of this would be roommates looking to live together and combining applications.
Co-Signer Co-Signers, also known as guarantors, are people that tend to have a strong credit history along with reliable income, typically related to the applicant. The primary applicant would most likely have been denied, at which point a co-signer is requested. They will become the person financially responsible but will not live on the property.
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Deed Deeds are documents for transferring ownership of a property from one person to another. They must describe the property being transferred, the name of parties that are transferring and receiving the property, and must be signed.
Duplex Duplexes are properties that tend to have two living units with a common wall in the middle. These types of properties tend to be listed as “multi-family” or “residential” since these tend to have several uses
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Early Termination Early termination refers to when a lease is broken prior to the original end date. These tend to be most common with one year leases when tenants want to leave the property before the lease ends.
Equal Housing Opportunity Equal Housing Opportunity is a right to all renters and tenants that they will not be discriminated under any circumstance such as by race, color, religion, sex, handicap, or national origin.
Escrow Account Escrow accounts are for buyers to perform due diligence for potential acquisitions. This in turn also provides some assurance to the seller that they are able to close the purchase.
Estoppel Certificate Estoppel certificates are statements by tenants, verifying what the terms and conditions along with the current status of their lease. These are particularly common with acquisitions as due diligence from a commercial real estate.
Eviction An eviction is when a landlord legally removes a tenant from their rental property. Evictions most commonly happen when rent hasn’t been paid, or when the terms of your agreement have been breached.
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Fair Housing Act The fair housing act provides protection for people interested renting out or buying a home. With this law, it is prohibited to discriminate based on race, national origin, religion, sex, or disabilities.
Foreclosure Foreclosure is when a bank takes ownership of a home from the homeowner. These tend to happen most when the homeowner has not been able to make payments on the house.
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Guarantor Guarantors are people who guarantee to pay for another person’s debt if they need to default on a loan. They are similar to a person who is a co-signer.
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Homeowner Association (HOA) Homeowner Associations are organization within a community that makes and enforces rules for the properties inside the community. Anyone that buys a home within the jurisdiction is automatically member and must pay any dues.
Housing Assistance Payment Contracts (HAP) HAP contracts relate to Section 8 housing and how much the government pays on its vouchers. For more information please see Section 8.
House Houses are buildings whose purpose is to be a living quarters for one or multiple families.
Housing & Urban Development (HUD) HUD homes are homes that have been foreclosed on by borrowers who had FHA loans.
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Inspection A home inspection is usually performed when a property is sold. They usually look at the condition of the foundation, heating system, plumbing, roof, and more.
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Late Fee A late fee is an amount charged by the landlord when tenants fail to pay rent on time. This fee is determined on the lease by the landlord, which can be either a one-time or daily fee that is charged until the full rent is paid.
Lead Based Paint Disclosure Passed in 1992, the Lead Based Paint Disclosure is design to keep families safe from the exposures of lead paint. With this act being passed any homes that have lead paint must disclose this information to the potential tenant if the home was built before 1978.
Lease Leases are contracts that outline what the terms are that a party agrees to when they rent a property owned by someone else. The tenant is guaranteed use to the property given they make regular payments to the owner for a specific amount of time.
Lease Option Lease options are added to a lease contract. They give the tenant the ability to purchase the property they are staying in anytime during or at the end of their rental period.
Lease Renewal A lease renewal is found inside a lease, outlining what the terms would be for the tenant to renew their original lease.
Lessee Lessees, also known as tenants, are people who rent property from lessors.
Lessor Lessors are people who grant leases to potential tenants.
Lien A lien is a claim on a piece of real estate that gives the property holder a specific amount of money when the property is sold.
LLC An LLC in real estate refers to when owners of a property look for a easy way to establish personal liability protection from potential claims from others.
Low Income Tax Credit Properties (LITC) LITC was created during the Tax Reform Act of 1986, allowing tax credit for affordable housing investments. This can create incentives for using private equity during the the development of affordable housing for low income families.
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Maintenance Usually managed by companies, property maintenance is a contracted service from a manager to a company that helps upkeep your property. This maintenance usually includes taking care of a lawn, painting, cleaning, plumbing & electrical issues, and much more.
Manangement Agreement Management agreements are contracts between a property owner and a property manager outlining the responsibilities of the manager and their authority.
Market Rate The market rate or market value in real estate is how much a property would be worth in the market, based on factors such as features of the property, how the overall real estate market is doing, and how much demand there is.
Master Association The master association is in charge of overseeing smaller homeowner associations. The responsibilities of the master association vary, but most usually include maintenance of common goods such as a community pool.
Mortgage Mortgages are debt instruments that creates a collateral of a specific property. They are most commonly used by individuals or businesses to acquire large real estate properties without having to pay the entire value at the time of purchase.
Multi-family Housing (MFH) Multi-family homes are single buildings, with many, smaller housing units within it for multiple families to live in. Most traditionally, these are known as apartment buildings.
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Pet Rent Pet rent has become increasingly popular in the recent years as more managers begin to allow pets on their property. With a pet rent, a tenant pays a monthly fee on top of their rent to allow their pet to live in the house. This can be legally done through stating this fee in the lease, but does not apply if the pet is classified as a service or companion animal. For more information about pets, see our Tenants with Animals article.
Pet Deposit A pet deposit is an added security deposit that covers any potential damages a pet may cause. If damage is done to the property from a tenant but not its pet, the pet deposit remains untouched while the manager takes the cost out of the tenant deposit. For more information about pets, see our Tenants with Animals article.
Planned Unit Development (PUD) Planned unit development refers to a community of houses that are designed to look similar to single family homes or condos. These PUD’s tend to include a common area that is usually owned by a homeowner’s association.
Primary Residence A primary residence refers to homes that meet certain criteria to be classified as a person’s primary residence. Homes that meet the criteria qualify for the lowest possible mortgage rates. The criteria includes, living there for the majority of a year, a convenient distance from where you are employed, and proof of documentation that you live at the property.
Pre-Qualification Being pre-qualified helps a person in the process of purchasing a home. It is a quick and easy process that looks at the person’s income and expenses to see if they would be able to afford what they are looking to buy.
Property Property is a designated amount of land along with anything that may be permanently placed on it. This includes as well any resources on the land and a man-made structure such as a house.
Property Management Agreement The property management agreement exists between a property owner and the manager of the property. This agreement states the terms of what the manager will do to control, rent, lease, and overall operation of a specific property.
Property Manager A property manager is a person or company that is responsible for day-to-day actions required to take care of a piece of property. The property manager is chosen by the owner when they wouldn’t want to have to take of their property or they are unable to anymore.
Prorate Prorate in real estate is the division of expenses of a property in proportion to the ownership or rental of the property.
Prospective Tenant Prospective tenants are people who have a possibility to move into a rental property. This person has already started the process of being screened and has most likely contacted the property manager already to show interest.
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Real Estate Real estate is a piece of property comprised of land with a building as well as any natural resources in in the property such as water, flowers, or potential minerals.
Real Estate Agent Real estate agents are professionals who represent a buyer or seller in a real estate transaction. Most of these agents work for a broke or realtor that offers more training and certifications for them.
Realtor A realtor is a federally registered mark that identifies a real estate agent as a member of the National Association of Realtors.
Rent Rent is a fixed amount of money that a tenant or occupant of a property pays to the owners at a predetermined time period.
Rent Schedule The rent schedule is the proposed rental rate determined by the owner based on the expenses of the building, how the market supply and demand is, and whether or not the owner has plans for it in the future.
Rent to Own Rent-to-own is a document stating where a person who is renting out a unit, has the option to purchase it at a certain point during the lease.
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Second Home To purchase a second home, you will need to ensure having a high credit score to qualify and as meet the characteristics to be a second home. These include being a reasonable distance from your primary home, under your control exclusively, you must live there partly during the year, and must be accessible by car year-round.
Section 8 Section 8 is a program created by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provides vouchers for select tenants. These vouchers help pay a portion of the tenant’s rent if they are not able to pay the full amount. This provides the landlord a guarantee that they will receive a portion of rent by the government.
Security Deposit Security deposits are sums of money held by a property manager as a sort of initial payment for tenants trying to secure a home to rent. This deposit can cover the cost of any repairs needed that are put in the lease. If no damage has been done, this deposit can sometimes be returned to the tenant at the end of their period.
Single Family House (SFH) A single family home is a building designed to be maintained and used by one family rather than multiple. These homes do not share heating, water, and any other pieces of equipment with other homes.
Sublease A sublease is a part of a rental agreement for a subtenant who wishes to use part of the space. The primary tenant chooses the subtenant and gives certain rights to the sublessee.
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Tenant Damages Tenant damages are purposefully occured damages done by the tenant. Different from wear and tear which happens through the natural decline in a property’s condition from everyday use, tenant damages tend to have more harmful effects on a property.
Title Company A title company company examines and insures the title claim for a property. These companies help with verifying the proper owner with a title search.
Townhouse Townhouses are homes built as two or three story units that have a common wall adjacent to a unit.
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Undivided Interest Undivided interests are titles of property that is held by two or more people, not specifying what the interest is of each party.
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