Syracuse UniversityOff-Campus and Commuter Services

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Common Lease Terms

Click each term for the definition


  1. Action

    A legal proceeding by which one demands or enforces one’s rights in court
  2. Assignment

    The transfer of rights or property from one person to another
  3. Breach

    A violation of one or more provisions of a lease or contract
  4. Caveat Emptor

    A concept meaning “buyer beware;” summarizes the rule that when renting or buying housing, one must examine and test the condition of the premises for himself or herself
  5. Civil

    A noncriminal legal matter; housing disputes are typically handled in civil courts
  6. Damages

    Usually a sum of money awarded to a landlord or a tenant as compensation for a financial loss caused by the other party
  7. Default

    Failure to fulfill a legal obligation, particularly payment of rent
  8. Eviction

    Dispossession by process of law; turning a tenant out of possession
  9. Fixtures

    Property that is attached or annexed to a structure, such as sinks and light sockets
  10. Housing Codes

    Regulations written by a state, county, or local government that establish certain minimum standards of habitability for residential property
  11. Judgment

    A decision or opinion of the court, usually awarding monetary damages
  12. Landlord

    One who owns and leases real estate
  13. Lease

    A contract by which one conveys the right to possession of real estate to another for a designated length of time and usually for a specified monetary rent
  14. Lessee

    A tenant under a lease
  15. Lessor

    One who grants a lease (landlord or the landlord’s agent)
  16. Liability

    The state of being legally responsible
  17. Notice

    An oral or written forewarning of a legal event
  18. Parties

    Persons involved in a legal contract; the lessor and a lessee under a lease
  19. Premises

    The property conveyed in a lease; a building, a house, an apartment, a dwelling unit, etc.
  20. Property

    That to which a person has a legal title; real estate that one has the legal right to possess, use, and enjoy
  21. Quit

    To leave or vacate
  22. Retaliatory Eviction

    An attempt by a landlord to evict a tenant in retaliation for the tenant’s complaint of a housing code violation to the appropriate enforcement agency
  23. Security Deposit

    Money deposited by a tenant with the landlord as security for full and faithful performance by the tenant of the terms of the lease
  24. Sublease

    A lease by a tenant to a third party, usually conveying the leased property for a shorter term than the tenant’s term. The original tenant remains completely liable to the landlord for rent
  25. Tenancy

    A holding of real property; also, the period of a tenant’s occupancy or possession of premises
  26. Tenant

    One who holds or possesses premises under a lease
  27. Term

    The period of time for which a lease is granted
  28. Utilities

    Usually heat, hot water and cold running water, and electricity supplied to a premise