Rental Glossary: A


The act of abandoning a rental unit. A tenant may decide to move out of their leased apartment or rental unit if it is considered “uninhabitable” and that the landlord has not repaired within a reasonable time after receiving notice of the defects from the tenant.

See Habitable and Uninhabitable.

Absorption / Absorption Rate

The amount of units of a specific commercial property type that becomes occupied during a specified time period, usually a year, in a given real estate market. This is typically reported as the absorption rate.

Alligator Property

A real estate property where the sum of the mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance and maintenance costs, is greater than the income it brings in. If this situation is not corrected soon, it will consume all of the property owner’s profit, leaving him with a negative cash flow.

Amount of Notice / Amount of Advance Notice

The compulsory number of days’ notice given to a tenant before a change in the tenancy can come into effect. Rental leases in Quebec require the landlord to notify the tenant of changes in the tenancy, in writing, at least three months before the lease expires.


A long-term tenant or a piece of commercial rental property that will serve the main tenant. At a commercial level, anchors are typically financially stable and generally have a good credit rating. For example, a large department store in a mall can be an anchor.

Anniversary Date

The date on which the tenant first entered the rental lease. This date remains the same in any year as long as the same rental lease is renewed. The anniversary date could be different than the date the tenant signed the lease.


The potential tenant who is filing the rental application.

Application Fee

Money paid to fill out and process an application form.


Using a neutral third person to resolve a dispute instead of going to court. Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the parties must follow the arbitrator’s decision.


A neutral third person, agreed to by the parties to a dispute, who hears and decides a dispute. An arbitrator is not a judge, but the parties normally must follow the arbitrator’s decision (the decision is said to be “binding” on the parties). (See arbitration; compare to mediator.)

Assessed Value

The value of real estate property established by the tax assessor for the purpose of levying property taxes.

See Market Value.


When a new tenant (with the consent of the landlord) takes over the lease of a rental unit from the original tenant. The new tenant, as a result, is given all the same rights and obligations as the original tenant. However, even if he/she does not return to the rental unit, the original tenant is still responsible to the landlord if the new tenant fails to live up to the obligations stipulated in the lease.

Assignment is one of three procedures for re-renting a rental unit.

See Sublease.

Nov 2011

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