I am a bit confused about the meaning of these three words. Can someone explain to me the usage of these three words and their meaning? i.e. If I am renting a car to someone then who am I and who takes a car on rent?

I found in google search that people are using same meaning for renter and tenant.

  • 3
    Have you tried to look up a dictionary?
    – user140086
    Nov 3, 2015 at 7:48
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    Please inlcude what you found in the question so that this question won't be closed.
    – user140086
    Nov 3, 2015 at 7:50
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    Possible duplicate of Can "rentee" be used to refer to one who rents an item?
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 3, 2015 at 12:18
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    Most of the responses here are apparently based on British usage. In the US, "tenant" is the one who pays rent and occupies the space, "renter" is the same (more or less) as "tenant", as is "lessee", and "landlord" (or "lessor") is the person to whom you pay the rent. "Rentee" is rarely seen, if at all. The choice of terminology is based to a degree on whether the property is under long-term lease or not. And there is no doubt some variation in the "preferred" term from one major city to another.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 1, 2016 at 11:26
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    @HotLicks Your comment appears to be primarily about renting a building or land. The example in the Q. is about renting a car. And which responses do you consider to be "based on British usage"? What difference is there between US & UK usage? Op's name could suggest Asian usage?
    – TrevorD
    Dec 31, 2016 at 13:34

3 Answers 3


Renter 1

  1. One that receives payment in exchange for the use of one's property by another.
  2. One that pays rent for the use of another's property; a tenant.

Tenant 2

  1. One that pays rent to use or occupy land, a building, or other property owned by another.
  2. A dweller in a place; an occupant.

Rentee already has an answer here: Can "rentee" be used to refer to one who rents an item?

Rentee doesn't apply unless what's being rented is a person, in which case the rentee is the person (slave) being rented.

The difference: a tenant or a rentee will never be the owner receiving payment for use. A renter might be.

The two different meanings of the word renter can usually be distinguished with the words to and from:

  • If I rent something to you, I get paid and you get to use it.
  • If I rent something from you, I get to use it and you get paid.
  • While the everyday meaning of tenant is such that it is indeed true that 'a tenant . . . will never be the owner', there is a technical sense that tenant has in some legal contexts, in which tenants can be owners. Most people will never encounter such use of the term, though.
    – jsw29
    Jan 24 at 16:30
  • renter

    someone who have some building for rent, e.g. landlord

  • tenant

    someone who pays the rent for the place they live in(pays money to landlord)

  • rentee

    eh, I have no idea about this word :)

[Note: Both two words renter and tenant are most used for building, flat, etc.]

  • 2
    The meaning you give for renter is possible, but unlikely. Until I read what you had written it never occurred to me (native English speaker) that that was a possible meaning of renter: I would always assume it meant the tenant unless the context strongly overturned that assumption.
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 3, 2015 at 10:04
  • In the US "renter" is taken to mean the person who pays rent to occupy the space. "Landlord" is the person who owns the property and is paid the rent.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 1, 2016 at 11:20
  • Lawyers and most leases in the UK (not sure about Scotland) use the words 'leasor' and 'leasee' for the landlord and tenant respectively. Never come across 'renter' in leases. Have only encountered this word in car rental agreements. Dec 1, 2016 at 12:50

A renter is a person who pays rent in order to use something that to belongs to someone else, whether it be a house, room or even a car. But a tenant can be a renter, free occupier or a caretaker of someone's property eg. House, Room etc.

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