Rental ad terms you need to know

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What’s “2BR furn w/o, f/p, 5 appl, util incl.”?

Having trouble reading “for rent” ads? The line above actually means: “Two-bedroom furnished apartment with a walk-out glass door from the kitchen to the deck; the apartment has a fireplace, five appliances; utilities are included in the rent.”

Those abbreviations are puzzling aren’t they? To help you understand them better, we have listed some of the most common abbreviations and terms used in rental ads and their meanings below (adapted from the Newcomer’s Guide to Canadian Housing):

AC – air conditioning
Appl – appliances (stove and refrigerator. May also refer to dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer).
Bachelor – an apartment consisting of one room serving as bedroom and living room, with a separate bathroom. A bachelorette is an even smaller bachelor pad.
Bsmt or Basement – this is an apartment located in the basement of a house.
BR or bdrm – bedroom.
Family room – usually found in larger homes, it is another room aside from the living room used for casual entertaining.
Flat – it is an apartment in a house. Tenants share an entrance.
f/p – fireplace.
Furn – furnished apartment. It will have furniture like tables, chairs, sofa, bed and some kitchen appliances.
Hrdwd – hardwood floors.
Junior one bedroom – it is larger than a bachelor with a bedroom separate from the kitchen and living areas.
NS or non-smkr – non smoker.
Sq.ft. – square feet. For your reference, a 400 sq. ft. apartment is small; 2,000 sq. ft. is large.
Studio – another term for bachelor.
U/G – underground parking.
Util – utilities. This usually refers to hydro (electricity), water and may include Internet and cable TV (see more description below).
Prkg – parking.
w/o – walkout door.
WIC – walk-in closet.

Other rental terms:

Assign – transferring responsibility for the lease to someone else. When you cannot finish the term of your lease and have to move out permanently, an arrangement can be made with a landlord. The tenant can get another person to live on the unit and assume the rent and security deposit. The term is often confused with “sublet” (see meaning below).
Arbitrator – a person who hears both sides of a dispute and gives the decision to settle the dispute.
Dispute – a disagreement or argument over a right.
Eviction – when someone is asked to leave a unit they live in as authorized by a court of law.
Key money – money given to have your name placed on a waiting list for an apartment.
Landlord – a person or company who owns the building in which you live.
Lease – (noun) contract or agreement between landlord and tenant; (verb) to rent a dwelling unit for a specific period of time.
Legally-binding – an agreement that is enforceable in a court of law.
Property manager – the person in charge of the daily operations of a real estate property in place of the landlord. Meanwhile, a building superintendent is responsible for the upkeep of the building, including all repairs.
Sublet – to rent out a unit (apartment/room) you lease to another person. The person lives in the unit and pays the rent (but you are still responsible for the lease) for an agreed upon period. However, in Manitoba, they use the term “subletting” more than “assigning” to mean that the new renter will be assuming the lease. If you see “sublet” in the ad, ask if the principal tenant is planning to come back or not, just to be sure.
Utilities – in an apartment, this refers to water, electricity, heat, or air conditioning. May also include security, cable, telephone, internet and other services.

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Community Resources

To know how renting works in Manitoba, read the Provincial fact sheet from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Read the articles How do I find a place to rent? and Types of rental housing in Manitoba for more information.

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