For the accountant, rent means a compensation payable at some stated time or times for the possession and use of (but not the title to) property for a definite period.

This definition must sometimes be developed further, for the term is not infrequently used in a somewhat lax manner to mean more than payment for the use of property. In some forms of contract for sale on instalments, the agreement is called a "lease" and the periodic payments are referred to as "rent," although, if the transaction is completed, they really form a part of the purchase price. These questions are discussed under the head of "Contracts" in Chapter XVII (Time Sales - Contracts. Section 122. Simple Form Of Contract).

Again, the word "rent" is sometimes used to indicate the consideration given for mining rights, which is in the nature of a royalty, for it pays not for the use or hire of the material mined, but for the material itself, which becomes the property of the lessee on such payment being made or agreed upon. A somewhat similar use of the word is occasionally found in connection with hire purchase agreements.

The particular kind of rent considered in the present volume is covered by the first definition given above, and by the every-day, non-technical use of the word, meaning the amount a tenant pays to his landlord for the right to use and occupy land, including in most cases a dwelling or factory, or other improvements on the land. Such rent constitutes the return which an owner receives for the use or hire of his property, whether it be land, building, machinery, or any other property, real or personal.