"lease" and "rent"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by cheshire, Nov 22, 2006.

  1. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    We leased a new car.
    We rented a car.
    Why do these two verbs have meanings opposite from each other?
    That is, "to borrow something from others" and "to lend something for others to use."
  2. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual

    Why is "hot" the opposite of "cold"? ;)
  3. Vovlik Member

    Armenian, Armenia
    Hi, Cheshire!

    The examples you've provided can mean the same thing really.
    The thing is that ,generally speaking, both verbs can denote two different sides of the deal, meaning you can lease/rent (out) your property to somebody or one can rent/lease your property.

    Don't you agree, Elroy?
  4. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    But isn't it quite confusing for a verb to have both giving and taking?

    A: I leased a new cruiser.
    B: I didn't know that you were rich!
    C: No, A meant "he borrowed a new cruiser."
  5. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Ah, I see that I misunderstood the question. :eek:

    It is not common to use "lease" as a verb.

    As for "rent," yes it's ambiguous but usually you add the word "out" if you are the owner.

    I'm renting an apartment downtown. (Without further context, this means it's not mine and I'm paying to live there.)
    I'm renting out an apartment downtown. (This can only mean that it's mine and I'm being paid to let someone live there.)
  6. difficult cuss Senior Member

    English England
    Elroy, you say it is not common to use "lease" as a verb, but what about leasing a car?
  7. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    In the US I've only ever heard of "renting" a car. Perhaps "leasing a car" is more common in the UK?

    This UK site claims that "renting a car" and "leasing a car" are two different things. I would not be able to tell you if such a distinction is made in the US.
  8. jefrir Member

    Birmingham, UK
    English, England
    "Renting a car" is the normal usage in the UK. Looking at that site, it seems that there is a technical difference between the two, but most people would understand them as being synonymous. Unless you're drawing up a contract for car rentals, it's probably safe to consider them as meaning the same thing.
  9. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In the UK, car leasing schemes are long-term.
    You pay the finance company. You are provided with a car for a fixed term (say three years) with all service costs included.
    You do not own the car.
    At the end of the lease period you have the option to buy the car at a pre-determined price.

    I suppose there is apparent ambiguity in "I leased/ rented a car."
    But in normal usage there is context that removes the ambiguity.
  10. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    In California, leasing a car is quite common; so is renting a car. A lease is a long-term agreement, somewhere from 24 months to 48 months or longer. All the details panj provided above apply in the U.S. as well. In addition, there is a mileage limit per year, and a penalty per mile for every mile over the limit. In California, this can end up being a huge cost at the end of the lease, since California commuters often drive twice the 12,000 miles a year allowed in a standard lease.

    A rental can be for a day, a week, or even a month, although daily and weekly rates are the ones normally quoted by car rental agencies.

    Sometimes, to avoid ambiguity, you'll hear "I rented out my house" or "I leased out my boat" to indicate that the person who is speaking is the one who owns the property being discussed.
  11. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Thanks for the useful info, everyone!
    Using "lease out" to avoid confusion is really a good tip!
  12. dontaskme Member

    English, Europe
    They mean something similar, but they are not quite interchangeable. When you rent a place to live you would usually say "a rented apartment" or "rented accomodation".
    And in terms of nouns, the rent is the monthly payment on your apartment, the lease is the contract you sign with the landlord.
    Similarly if you are doing accounts and have a leased car, you would not say a rented car.

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