Definitions for key money

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word key money

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

key′ mon`ey(n.)

  1. advance rent or security required of a new tenant in exchange for the key to an apartment or house.

    Category: Business

  2. money paid, usu. secretly, to a landlord, superintendent, or current tenant by a person desiring future occupancy.

    Category: Business

Origin of key money:



  1. Key money

    Key money is one of several forms of payment made to a landlord. The term has various meanings in different parts of the world. It sometimes means money paid to an existing tenant who assigns a lease to a new tenant where the rent is below market. It sometimes means a bribe to a landlord. In other parts of the world, it is used synonymously with normal security deposits, which are used to cover nonpayment of rent and excessive damage to a rental unit.


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