Definitions for key money
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word key money
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
advance rent or security required of a new tenant in exchange for the key to an apartment or house.
money paid, usu. secretly, to a landlord, superintendent, or current tenant by a person desiring future occupancy.
Origin of 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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