Let's say I rent out a property for $1,000 a month.

If it is now June, my expected income through to the end of the year is $6,000.

But the contract will end prematurely at the end of September. Which means that the last three months of the year, which could have earned me $3,000, will not.

What is the proper word to describe this sum ($3,000) which had been expected, but is not anymore?

Note: I need a way to describe both July-Sep, and Oct-Dec.

  • It depends whether your renter will be in default of the contract, or if the two of you have just been extending an expired contract month by month. If it's just a matter of hopes and dreams being dashed by financial misfortune, we say "that's life". For the formal terms with respect to default, try Law or Personal Finance SE.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 14:47
  • 1
    How can a contract end "prematurely"? Is the renter defaulting on the lease agreement, or did you just assume they would renew another three months? Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 20:25
  • 1
    "... the last three months of the year, which could have earned me $3,000, will not. ..." -- the "could have" makes it a "notional loss." See also: english.stackexchange.com/a/203758/14666
    – Kris
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 11:18

3 Answers 3


One word seems difficult, but this is usually described as lost income or lost revenue. Losing in this case does not mean you had it, and lost it, but rather that you expected to receive it, but you don't.

When someone suffers an injury causing him to be able to work less, we describe the money he could (or would) have earned if he were healthy as lost income, to describe income (salary) that he had expected to earn, but he doesn't.

If a fault in a product unexpectedly causes the product not to be sold as much as expected, the manufacturer suffers lost sales, leading to loss of revenue.

In your situation, I'd say your projected revenue is $6000, your actual revenue is $3000 and your lost revenue is also $3000.


Perhaps shortfall comes close to what you mean:

  • a failure to come up to expectation or need
    a budget shortfall;
  • also : the amount of such failure
    a $2 million shortfall

Example usage:

David realizes he has two choices:

  1. Put more money into his existing pension to make up the shortfall or,
  2. Maintain his 4% contributions to his company pension but invest in an alternative solution to make up the shortfall.

Your Pension Shortfall - Your Retirement Rescue Plan

  • The shortfall could also be described as an 'overestimation'.
    – Stibbs
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 21:01


A deferral, in accrual accounting, is any account where the asset or liability is not realized until a future date (accounting period), e.g. annuities, charges, taxes, income, etc.

for more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deferral

  • 1
    In the OP's case, the potential income wasn't deferred. It isn't expected to ever materialise.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 13:33

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