Definition of key money in US English:

key money

noun

informal
  • Money paid to a landlord as an inducement by a person wishing to rent a property.

    • ‘The key money and deposit generally amount to two or three months rent.’
    • ‘If the landlord is unable to return the key money, the tenant can stay until the money is returned.’
    • ‘This ignored the fact that her purchase contract was signed after the new law limiting key money to 3% came into force, and when not even the foundations for her apartment building had been laid.’
    • ‘The company had been based at the outlet for 12 years and the key money is believed to be a record for the street.’
    • ‘It has been at least a decade since the lease on a building on that pitch in Bond Street came on the market and it is the only location in London that would achieve key money of that amount.’
    • ‘Waseda University provides subsidies for key money paid by new students who rent an apartment.’
    • ‘Everyone who has ever been asked for key money has pondered the same questions.’
    • ‘Owen said huge key money is being paid for units on or just off Grafton Street, but that many businesses are not willing to pay higher rents because if the market takes a downturn they may not get that money back.’
    • ‘Some European and British retailers are unwilling to pay the levels of key money needed to open stores on Grafton Street or Henry Street and have instead opted to take space in the busier out of town shopping centres.’
    • ‘However, if the owners pay their taxes, then key money is fine as far as the Revenue Office is concerned.’
    • ‘The agent is quoting a rent of €150,000 per year on a new 25-year lease, with no breaks and no key money.’
    • ‘In Japan, it is customary that a person who rents a room pays a deposit and key money to the owner in addition to the monthly room rent when a contract is made.’
    • ‘Substantial key money is also required to get a foothold in or around Grafton Street.’
    • ‘Many European and British retailers have baulked at paying the key money needed to open stores on Grafton Street or Henry Street and have instead opted to take space in the busier out-of-town shopping centres.’

Pronunciation

key money

/kē ˈmənē/