Glossary

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Glossary

TERM DEFINITION
Agent One who is empowered to act for or in the place of another, such as a person you have designated with power of attorney to sign a lease or pick up keys for you. (See "Power of Attorney" below.)
Amenities Attractive or desirable features of a property that serve as a benefit to the residents but that are not necessary to its use. An amenity may be natural (such as location, river view) or man-made (such as a fitness room, a laundry room, bicycle storage room, or garden).
Authorized occupant A person who is listed on the Authorized Occupant form and is authorized by Harvard University Housing to live in a Harvard University Housing apartment with the Harvard-affiliate leaseholder (lessee). This could be a nonaffiliated spouse (husband or wife) or domestic partner, a child, a sibling, or a parent. Authorized occupants are not eligible to sign or to be named as a tenant on a Harvard University Housing Lease and may not retain possession of a Harvard University Housing apartment if the affiliated leaseholder vacates the apartment.
Basement apartment In the United States, a basement apartment is located on the lowest habitable story or floor of the building, usually below ground level.
Block rental apartment An apartment leased directly from Harvard University Housing by a Harvard school or department for occupancy by participants in special programs.
Cable ready Apartment already has a jack installed for hooking up cable television. Cable television is not included in the rent. Resident must contact the cable television provider to arrange for service at an additional monthly cost.
Complex A group of apartment buildings.
Currently Available List A list of Harvard University Housing units that may be available for immediate rental or have a lease start date in the very near future, that may not have been chosen during the Select window periods, or that may have become available after the View and Select self-service process was completed for the year. The list is open year-round and is available to Harvard affiliates whose Harvard University Housing application has been approved.
Default Failure to meet legal obligations in a contract; for example, failure to make the monthly rent payments due on a lease.
Departmental rental programs Individual schools or departments occasionally reserve a number of Harvard University Housing apartments for use by their students and faculty. These programs are administered by the school, not by Harvard University Housing.
Domestic Partner Person living in a long-term relationship with an exclusive mutual commitment similar to that of marriage. Both parties must be at least 18 years of age, share joint responsibility for their common welfare, be financially interdependent, and in a relationship of mutual support and caring.
Faculty Advisory Committee on Harvard University Housing The University committee, comprised of faculty members from Harvard’s various schools, that reviews and approves Harvard University Housing's annual rent recommendations and ensures rents are set at prevailing market rates (in keeping with the University's fair market rent policy).
First floor In the United States, the first floor is the floor of the building that is at or nearest ground level. This is unlike many places in Europe where the floors are labeled: ground, 1 (up one flight), 2 (up two flights), etc.
First name Your given name.
Fixed-term lease Refers to a lease with set start and end dates. The majority of Harvard University Housing leases start on the date an apartment is available for occupancy and terminate on June 30 annually. Leases may be renewable if full-time Harvard affiliation will continue through the following year, your tenancy is in good standing, and special conditions regarding the apartment or building do not exist. The lease is a legally binding contract outlining the conditions which both you (the tenant or lessee) and the landlord (Harvard University Housing) agree to meet. Your signature on a lease commits you to pay the amount of rent specified on the lease every month for the duration of the lease, whether you occupy the apartment or not.
Furnished apartment A furnished apartment in Harvard University Housing is one that contains, at a minimum, basic apartment fixtures and appliances such as a stove or cook top, a refrigerator, cabinets, bathroom and kitchen sinks, a tub or shower, a closet, window blinds or shades or drapes, a light fixture and shower curtain in the bath, plus some basic furniture items (either a couch and a bed with mattress and cover or a futon (bed/couch combination) with mattress and cover; a dresser; lamps; a chest of drawers; and a small dinette table with four chairs. Some apartments may also have a built-in desk or built-in shelving. The apartment does not include concierge services, bed linens, towels, or any cooking, eating, or personal care implements.
Harvard affiliate For purposes of being eligible to live in Harvard University Housing, a person is considered to be a Harvard affiliate if they are a full-time, current or incoming member of the Harvard graduate student body or a full-time, current or incoming Harvard employee. Click here for complete details.
HUH The initials for Harvard University Housing, a Harvard University department and part of Harvard University Campus Services, responsible for the management and rental of residential Harvard University Housing apartment complexes and Cronkhite Graduate Center.
Harvard University Housing A group of approximately 3,000 apartments in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston that are owned by Harvard University and managed by Harvard University Housing (HUH). Occupancy of these apartments is restricted to full-time University graduate students, faculty, and staff (see Harvard affiliate, above).
Harvard Housing Office This Harvard Housing Office, a part of Harvard University Campus Services, provides a variety of housing services to students, faculty, and employees of Harvard University and manages the application process for Harvard University Housing.
Harvard University Departmental Guarantee Letter A letter, signed by a Harvard department or school, guaranteeing rent payment to HUH for visiting faculty, visiting scholars, visiting fellows, and non-benefits-eligible postdoctoral fellows, in the event the individual defaults on the rent. This letter was required for these affiliation categories in past years, but is not currently a requirement.
Housing Contract A contract between HUH (the Owner) and a resident of Cronkhite Graduate Center, granting the resident a license to occupy a room for a specified time period and at a specified rate for room and board.
HRE The initials for Harvard Real Estate, a Harvard University department within Harvard University Campus Services. Learn more.
HUH Off-Campus Listing Site This is an online database of private market rental listings as well as apartment sublet opportunities in Harvard University Housing and in the private market. It is Managed by Off Campus Partners. This database can be searched at no cost from any computer with access to the World Wide Web. Visit: http://harvardhousingoffcampus.com.
HUH Roommate roommate listing site This is a self-service online database of listings for affiliates who are looking for roommates to move into their apartment and for those looking for an apartment in which to live. This service is managed by Off Campus Partners. Visit the site at http://harvardhousingoffcampus.com.
Initials The first letter of each word of a person's proper name (for example, M.J. for Mary Joan Smith).
Jointly and severally liable In a roommate situation, each person named on the lease (each lessee) or on the housing contract is ordinarily billed only for their share of the rent. However, if your roommate leaves and/or does not pay his/her share of the rent or damage charges, HUH (the landlord/owner) can choose to hold you fully responsible for the rent/housing payments and damages not paid by your roommate. If you pay HUH, you in turn can pursue payment from your roommate through legal means.
Kitchen An enclosed room equipped for preparing and cooking food, but that is not large enough to accommodate a table and chairs.
Kitchen (Eat-in Kitchen) An enclosed room equipped for preparing and cooking food and that is large enough to fit, at a minimum, a small table and two chairs.
Kitchen (Galley Kitchen) A separate, small, narrow kitchen area similar to a kitchen on a ship or an airplane, that is equipped for preparing and cooking food It is not large enough to fit a table and chairs.
Kitchenette An area equipped for preparing and cooking food, but that is part of another room (i.e., the living room/dining area or, in a studio, a living/dining/bedroom).
Landlord The owner of a property or the agent acting on the owner's behalf. Harvard University owns Harvard University Housing properties, and HUH acts as the landlord and manager or agent on the University's behalf.
Last Name Your surname or family name.
Lead paint in apartments Housing built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint. Lead from paint, paint chips, and dust can pose health hazards if not managed properly. Lead exposure is especially harmful to young children and pregnant women. Before renting pre-1978 housing, landlords must disclose the presence of known lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in the dwelling. If you are an applicant with a child aged six or under, you cannot live in an apartment that is not lead compliant. If the apartment you select contains lead paint, HUH will have the lead paint removed or encapsulated before you move in. However, the start of your lease may be delayed by up to six weeks while the deleading and reinspection process takes place.
Lead compliant definitions 1) An apartment that is lead compliant meets all standards under Massachusetts lead regulations for occupancy by any individual. 2) An apartment can have lead but be compliant because the lead paint has been encapsulated or is at a height that is deemed safe by Federal and State regulations. 3) An apartment may be completely free of lead and not be fully compliant because common areas of the building have lead. 4) An apartment that is noted as having full Initial Lead Inspection Compliance indicates that the apartment, common, and exterior areas were compliant with Massachusetts lead regulations and free of lead hazards at time of inspection.
Letter of full initial lead inspection compliance Initial Lead Inspection Compliance indicates that the apartment, common, and exterior areas were compliant with Massachusetts lead regulations and free of lead hazards at time of inspection.
Letter of Full Deleading Compliance During Initial lead inspection, the apartment was found to have lead paint. Subsequently, the apartment was abated to meet standards under Massachusetts lead regulations and was free of lead hazards at time of inspection.
Letter of lead paint reoccupancy, reinspection certification All interior apartment areas and surfaces meet standards under Massachusetts lead regulations and were free of lead hazards at time of inspection.
Lead Inspection A surface-by-surface investigation to determine the presence of lead-based paint and the provision of a report explaining the results of the investigation.
Operation and Maintenance Inspection The apartment was initially lead compliant and there is a continuous maintenance program in place. There is lead in the apartment, yet it is encapsulated and/or at a height that is deemed safe by the regulations. The owner has the duty to re-inspect and if there is peeling or exposure make the necessary repairs and re-test the unit.
Lease A legally binding contract outlining the conditions that both the landlord and the tenant agree to meet. Leases are usually for one year, although it may be possible to arrange a lease for a shorter period of time. Before signing any lease, read it carefully and be sure you understand everything in it. Your signature on a lease commits you to pay the amount of rent specified on the lease every month for the duration of the lease, whether you occupy the apartment or not.
Lease commencement date The date when tenancy and the first date of rent obligation begins.
Lease expiration date The date when the lease expires and tenancy and rent obligation ends.
Lease liability end date The date the current tenant's rent obligation ends.
Lease term The period of time from the lease commencement date through the lease expiration date.
Lessee Person whose name appears on the lease.
Leasing Office The HUH office that manages the leasing process for Harvard University Housing.
Leasing system This refers to the system and database that houses the online process for applying for, selecting, and leasing a Harvard University Housing apartment. The system also is used in connection with HUH’s property information, property maintenance, tenant records, and financial processes.
Liable Legally obligated; responsible.
Liability Something for which one is liable; an obligation, a responsibility, or a debt.
Market analysis A real estate appraisal term for determining what rent an apartment or property is likely to bring in the local market at a certain point in time. The value is determined by comparing the subject property to similar properties that have recently been rented, those that did not rent, and those that are currently being offered for rental.
Market rent or market value The highest price that a renter would pay and the lowest price a landlord would accept for rental of a property.
Mediating disputes HUH does not assist tenants in resolving problems between themselves and their neighbors or between roommates. If student tenants are unable to resolve issues on their own, they are encouraged to seek the help of counselors at their school. Faculty and employee residents are encouraged to use the services offered by Harvard through its Employee Assistance Program.
On-campus Located on Harvard University’s Cambridge, Allston, or Longwood Medical Area campuses.
One-bedroom convertible apartment A uniquely configured apartment that can be used as a traditional one-bedroom apartment (a bedroom, a living room, and a kitchen) or in which the living room can be converted to a second bedroom (two bedrooms, a kitchen, no living room). This apartment configuration is a great way to share housing expenses when rented by two roommates.
PDF A format, created by Adobe Systems, that enables documents to be configured in a way so they can be viewed on any computer system. The free Adobe Reader is required to open PDF documents. Click here to download: http://get.adobe.com/reader/.
Personal property insurance Personal property insurance that covers both property loss and personal liability (protection if any person sustains an injury or loss in your apartment). Such insurance covers personal liability even when you are not in your apartment or house. When discussing your coverage with an insurance representative, you should mention any special conditions such as subletting, roommate coverage, or additional coverage for expensive items. It is your responsibility to insure any personal property. Harvard University Housing (HUH, the Landlord) and Harvard University do not provide renters personal property insurance. HUH and Harvard University shall not be liable for and do not cover the cost of replacing tenants' personal items (clothing, computers, furniture, stereos, books, etc.) that may be lost or stolen or damaged or destroyed by fire, water, steam, defective refrigeration, elevators, vandalism, or any other cause, except to the extent caused by the omission, fault, negligence, or other misconduct of HUH, while on the Premises, the building, or the land adjacent thereto.
Pet-friendly housing Certain apartments have been designated as pet friendly. Complete details about HUH Pet-Friendly Housing Policies, the Pet Authorization form, and a list of apartments that are pet friendly can be found at: http://huhousing.harvard.edu/apply/policies-and-procedures. Fish in an aquarium not exceeding 50 gallons are currently permitted at all HU Housing properties, except Cronkhite Graduate Center.
Power of Attorney A legal document by which you appoint another person to act as your agent to perform legal actions on your behalf. A limited power of attorney specifies a single action or a limited range of actions your agent is authorized to undertake on your behalf (i.e., pick up your keys; pay for, sign, or cancel a lease; sign other legal documents for you). A general power of attorney authorizes your agent to perform any action you could have taken, subject to exceptions specified by you or by law. A full power of attorney bestows total power to your agent. If you use a power of attorney to have a person sign an HUH lease or housing contract or pick up keys for you, the form must be notarized (your signing the form is officially witnessed) by a Notary Public or an attorney and returned to HRE Requirements vary by state and by country; we suggest checking with a lawyer prior to assigning general or full power of attorney rights.
Prorated rent Rent calculated for a portion of a month, from the lease start date through the last day of that month. The number of days for the portion of the month is multiplied by the daily rent rate. The daily rent rate is determined by dividing the monthly rent rate by the total number of days in that month, i.e., June = 30 days; March = 31 days, etc.
Rent Ranges The rents within each building may vary based on apartment size, floor level, and other amenities. The rent ranges specified on our web site show the low and high rents for each apartment size (number of bedrooms) in each building.
Residence Hall Dormitory-style housing. Harvard College and some of Harvard's Graduate Schools manage their own residence halls. Information is available directly from the schools (visit www.Harvard.edu). HUH manages one residence hall, the Cronkhite Graduate Center. Cronkhite mainly offers single-occupancy furnished rooms. Kitchens and baths are shared, and participation in the Cronkite Dining Hall meal-plan is required. Only Harvard graduate students are permitted (no family members). Click here for more information.
RESnet

Internet access provided in selected HUH properties through Harvard University's Residential Data Network (RESnet). Note that this is not a wireless service. Properties with RESnet will have detailed information about connecting to the service on the welcome information page for the property.

Rider An amendment or addition to the lease or housing contract.
Roommate Addition (formerly Lease Assumption) A legally binding contract that adds a new resident (roommate) to an existing Harvard University Housing lease or housing contract.
Salutation The title or word of greeting appearing before your name, such as Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., or Prof.
Select Window A one-day period of time when approved housing applicants can go online and select the apartment they want to rent.
Smoke free apartment In an apartment designated as smoke free, smoking is not allowed within the apartment.
Smoke free building In a building designated as smoke free, smoking is not allowed within any apartment, on balconies or patios, in any common area of the building, or anywhere on the exterior premises or grounds.  All HUH properties are smoke free.
Studio Studios are apartments that ordinarily consist of either one single room with cooking facilities and a separate bathroom, or two rooms: a living room/bedroom combination with a separate kitchen and bathroom.
Sublet The process where a current resident re-rents their apartment or room to another Harvard affiliate for a specific amount of time (ordinarily during the winter and summer recesses, as defined by the University Academic Calendar) to another Harvard affiliate approved by HUH. Refer to Subletting Your Apartment or Room for policies.
Supermarket Also known as a grocery store, this is a large self-service retail market that sells food and household goods.
Tenant The person(s) authorized to reside in a Harvard University Housing apartment.
Termination/Extension Form A legally binding e-form or paper document by which a tenant extends or terminates their lease.
Transfer A transfer is a move from one Harvard University Housing apartment to another. Transfers are tightly governed. Please refer to Tenant Policies and Procedures for more information.
Two-bedroom convertible apartment A uniquely configured apartment that can be used as traditional two-bedroom apartment (two bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen) or in which the living room can be converted to a third bedroom (three bedrooms, a kitchen, no living room). This apartment configuration is a great way to share housing expenses when rented by three roommates.
Two-bedroom efficiency apartment A uniquely configured apartment that contains two living room/bedrooms, a shared kitchenette or kitchen dining/area, and one or two baths. This configuration is a great way to share housing expenses when rented by two roommates. Two-bedroom efficiencies can also be used as a traditional one-bedroom apartment (a bedroom, a living room, and a kitchenette or kitchen/dining area).
Unfurnished apartment The majority of Harvard University Housing apartments are unfurnished, which means they only contain, at a minimum, basic apartment fixtures and appliances such as a stove or cook top, a refrigerator, cabinets, bathroom and kitchen sinks, a tub or shower, a closet, window blinds or shades or drapes, and a light fixture in the bath. Some apartments may have light fixtures in other rooms, additional appliances such as a dishwasher, a washer/dryer, a built-in desk, built-in shelving, and an additional full or half bath.
Unit An individual apartment.
Utilities Commodities or services such as heat, electricity, gas, water, or sewer that are provided by public or private utility companies. Heat, hot and cold water, sewer, electricity and/or cooking gas are included in the rent at all Harvard University Housing apartments. Harvard University RESnet Internet service or common area wireless service is provided at many locations. At Cronkhite Graduate Center, Philo streaming Internet television is provided.  Cable television and landline telephone service is not provided at any location; residents must contact local vendors to arrange service at their own expense.
View and Select Window Periods Assigned time period(s) when Harvard University Housing applicants can go online to see which apartments are available to be leased (view) and choose the one in which they would like to live (select).
View Window A two-day period of time when approved housing applicants can go online and view all available apartments for rent.
Wheelchair Accessible Unit "An apartment that has been constructed, altered or modified to meet the needs of a tenant with a disability. Floor plans for these apartments are designated with the International Symbol of Accessibility, and the Accessibility Details field in the online unit description is marked "Yes." For information on the specific modification details for any apartment marked as Accessible and/or Wheelchair Accessible, contact the Disability Housing Coordinator, Cori Boudreau, at 617-496-9767 or cori_boudreau@harvard.edu.