- advance rent or security required of a new tenant and given in exchange for the key to the house or apartment.
- an amount of money paid, often secretly, to a landlord, superintendent, or current tenant by a person desiring future tenancy.
Origin of key money
First recorded in 1895–1900
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for key money
This form of currency is developed from what is generally termed "key-money" or "knife-money."
- a fee payment required from a new tenant of a house or flat before he moves in
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012