Houston Apartment Lease Terms

General Terms Rental Agreement Terms


General Terms

  • Alcove – an alcove apartment is a hybrid floor plan of a one bedroom and an efficiency apartment. There are several apartments in Houston with this type plan. Other uses for an alcove are; home office, sitting area, dining room, etc.
  • Amenities – pool, Jacuzzi, playground, covered parking, BBQ grills, crown moldings, microwave ovens, and generally anything that comes with the apartment without additional costs other than rent.
  • Balcony – an exterior patio, usually covered, on upper levels of an apartment unit.
  • Condo – generally in a Condominium project, owners hold title to their units plus a percentage of the entire project in common with all other owners. Some Houston inner loop apartments are developed with the intention of selling the units individually but rent them out as apartments.
  • Courtyard – a common area between apartment buildings generally with grassy areas with trees & shrubs.
  • Efficiency – generally small (350 to 450 square feet in size.) The efficiency apartment conjoins the living room and bedroom together and includes a small kitchen, bathroom and closet. There is a higher demand for  inner loop apartments in Houston with efficiency floor plans because of the rapid growth of medical center jobs.
  • Garden Apartment – Generally one to three floors and access by way of stairs to the upper units. Typically has a larger footprint than a mid or high rise and will include courtyards or grassy areas with trees. Also called a walk-up apartment.
  • Garden bathtub – an oversized tub that may be oval in shape.
  • Half bath – a bathroom consisting of a toilet and a sink only. Common installations are within Town Home units on the lower floor.
  • High Ceilings – generally nine feet and higher. Newer constructed apartments are typically constructed with high ceilings.
  • High-rise – ten floors or more with elevator service. Generally you’ll find more of these type developments in the inner loop apartments section.
  • Loft – A floor consisting of an open space just below the roof. Usually consisting of an unpartitioned room that overlooks the living room downstairs. There are several loft apartments located within the inner loop including the Houston Galleria area.
  • Mid-rise – a four to ten floor building with elevator service. Most all new developments in the inner loop areas are being constructed as Mid rise or High rise because of the rapidly increasing costs of land in this highly populates area. A mid or high rise apartment takes less land to build than a typical three story Garden apartment.
  • Pet policy – generally owner/manager charges a one time pet deposit of which some may be non-refundable and/or may charge an actual pet fee consisting of an additional monthly fee.
  • Studio – see efficiency
  • Senior Housing – an age-restricted apartment community housing with for older adults who are able to care for themselves. Some additional services such as meals or transportation may/may not be provided.
  • Tax Credit apartments – (LIHTC) Low Income Housing Tax Credit program provides low income housing for section 8 housing voucher holders, or anyone with an (AMFI )Area family median income of less than 60% or some may be 50%. Contact Texas low income housing information for a list of Houston apartments that will accept low income tenants. Although land for development is getting extremely expensive these credits will allow for some inner loop apartment development as well.
  • Townhomes – mostly are regarded as a 2-3 story apartments whereby the living room, kitchen and a half bath are down stairs and the bedrooms are upstairs. Several Houston inner loop apartments as well as a few Galleria apartments also include attached garage with these units.


Rental Agreement Terms

  • Accelerated rent – is the remainder of the rent due according to contract, through the end of the lease term signed.
  • Assignment – Transfer of a property right for example: a right to occupy an apartment home within the terms of a lease and/or rental agreement.
  • Co-signer – Usually a parent or guardian who guarantees the rent payment should the tenant quit paying rent. Generally the co-signer must apply and qualify with the same requirements as if he/she were renting the apartment for themselves.
  • Discrimination – it is illegal to discriminate in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents of legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability). As provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Eviction – A judicial process whereby a landlord legally removes a tenant for various reasons including non-payment, excessive noise, etc.
  • Fair housing Act – Federal law prohibiting discrimination. See discrimination above for more details.
  • Guarantors – someone who personally guarantees the monthly rent payments.
  • Lessee – a lessor’s tenant
  • Lessor – a lessee’s landlord
  • Re-letting fees – Upon a broken contractual agreement by tenant a landlord’s re-letting fee (penalty) may be charged and commonly will be 85% of a typical month’s rent. Deposits are forfeited and most contracts still will not free you of your contractual obligation. In most cases, the apartment then must be re-rented to another tenant before you are actual forgiven of your obligation of the remainder of your lease term.
  • Security Deposit – a deposit that is typically refundable if the tenant follows the guidelines of the contract.
  • Short term lease – Typically any lease less than 6 months would be considered a short term lease. Common short term leases are month to month and 3 month leases. Several Houston apartments offer short term leases to service the energy companies of downtown internship programs and Medical center internships. Expect to pay a premium over typical apartment lease terms for these type leases.