Apartment Vocabulary for International Students

Here are some of the terms you should know while searching for your perfect apartment in Athens, GA.

Apartment Amenity:

This refers to items or services that Athens apartment communities provide for their residents at no extra cost. They can be for entertainment or just for convenience. Some common Athens apartment amenities include campus shuttles, fitness centers, and swimming pools.


When you sign your lease on your new UGA apartment, you might be required to put down a certain amount of money to secure your spot. This is a deposit. They are used to protect the apartment community or apartment owner from future damages or any issues with the lease. Usually, the deposit will be applied back to your account in some way.

Furnished apartment:

Furnished apartments are common in Athens and contain basic furniture items needed in a student apartment. The number and kind of items included vary between apartment communities, and some apartments offer a “furniture package” that costs money. A typical Athens-furnished bedroom would include a bed, desk, chair, and some form of storage like a chest of drawers. The kitchen and common area usually include a couch, coffee table, TV, dining table, and chairs. A furnished or unfurnished kitchen will always include a fridge and microwave. Make sure to check with your apartment on what is included in their apartments.

Guarantor (also called a co-signer):

A person that agrees to pay your lease and other expenses that arise if you default on your lease. Default just means that you are unable to pay your lease. In some Athens apartment communities, a guarantor is required and must also sign and initial your lease. They can also be used if you are not able to prove a large enough income or good credit history for the lease.


Your lease is the contract between you and your UGA apartment. The contract explains the legal requirements and limitations for the renter and the owner. It also defines what you must do to keep living in the apartment, and what can get you evicted. Reading and understanding your lease before you sign is very important. If there are any parts you do not understand make sure to look them up, ask the office, or ask a lawyer.

Utility Overages:

This is the amount of money that a utility bill exceeds the Athens apartment's agreed-upon maximum. For example, your lease might cover an electric bill up to $150, so any amount over that is the overage, which you will have to repay the apartment community for. This helps protect the apartment owner from a tenant’s excessive use of utilities.

Short-term lease:

A short-term lease is any rental agreement for less than one year. In Athens, most leases are for a full year because short-term leases tend to be more work for the owner. After all, they have to find multiple tenants during the year. Therefore, short-term leases will also be more expensive.

Social Security Number (SSN):

An SSN is a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary working residents. This number is issued by the United States Social Security Administration and is used for tax purposes.

Apartment Sublets:

A sublet is where the original renter of an apartment has left before their lease has ended, and they decide to rent the apartment to someone else for the remainder of the lease. In this case, you are renting from the original renter, not the Athens apartment community. Some Athens apartments do not allow sublets, for there are a few risks involved, including if the original renter doesn’t pay rent. If this happens, even if you have paid the original renter, you could be evicted. For international students looking for an apartment in Athens, we would not recommend subletting. If you do choose to do so, make sure to talk to the Athens apartment staff to make sure you are not breaking any rules.


Utilities refer to resources provided by a regulated industry to consumers for a fee. In Athens apartments, common utilities include electric, phone, cable TV, internet, water, sewage, and trash disposal. Some Athens apartments will have utilities included, while others may only include some or none.

Apartments in Athens are all different and offer many different things. Use our real-time Athens apartment search page to find the amenities, utilities, and other features you are looking for.  

Common abbreviation:

  • A/C- Air Conditioning (often used to include heat as well)
  • Apt. Apartment
  • BR- Bedroom, often used to indicate the number of bedrooms ex. 3BR
  • BA- Bathroom, often used to indicate the number of bathrooms ex. 2BA
  • W/D- clothes washer and dryer

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