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Monthly Installments vs. Rent Payments: What’s the Difference?

By Tori

So, you’ve signed a lease and you see that you have monthly “installment” payments. You may be wondering, what’s an installment? Is it different from a typical rent payment?

At Sweetwater, we’ve helped hundreds of students find housing and often receive questions about monthly installments.

Read Next: How Much Does it Cost for Students to Live Near UF?

For this reason, we have put together this article explaining the difference between the two.

What is a traditional rent payment?

exterior of sweetwater

Sweetwater is located at 1225 W University Avenue, just one block from the UF campus.

Traditionally, rent payments are monthly payments you make to your landlord in exchange for the right to occupy and use the rental property. 

The price of the apartment is per month, rather than a total contract. This price remains the same each month for the entire duration of your lease.

What is a monthly installment?

At most student housing apartments, your contract is based on a total dollar amount for the entire lease period. This total amount is divided into 12 equal monthly installments for convenience, but you are paying a set price for the total contract, rather than a price per month.

For example, if your lease period is August 17, 2024 through July 31, 2025, your first installment will be due on August 1 and the last installment will be due on July 1.

Like traditional rent payments, installments are due by the first of each month. However, rather than paying a set price per month, you are making installment payments, on a monthly basis, on the total amount you agreed to pay for the whole period.

Read Next: Base Rental Rate vs. Total Monthly Cost for a Student Apartment in Gainesville

Why isn’t my August installment prorated?

bedroom in sweetwater's model unit

Representative image of bedrooms at Sweetwater, featuring a full-sized bed, pillow-top mattress and under-bed/stackable dresser drawers.

At student apartments with monthly installments, you have signed a contract for a lump sum for entire term of your lease (Example: if your monthly installment is $1,200 for a 12-month lease, you are paying a lump sum of $14,400). Rather than paying in one large chunk, this divided up into 12 equal payments each due at the beginning of the month. 

This is why, even if you don’t move in on August 1st, you are still responsible for a full monthly installment. 

At traditional apartments with traditional rent payments, if your lease starts mid-month, your rent might be prorated. At these apartments, rent is priced by the month rather than as a total contract. Most landlords begin their rent cycle at the beginning of the month. If you don’t move in until halfway through the month, this typically isn’t accounted for in the monthly rental rate, so you can request to get your rent prorated

If you receive prorated rent, you’ll pay rent not based on the total price for the month, but for how many days you stayed in the apartment that month.

Read Next: 10 Additional Costs to Consider When Looking for an Apartment near UF

We hope that this article helped you understand the difference between monthly installments and rent payments.

If you have any questions about living options near UF or would like to know more about Sweetwater, please contact our leasing staff who is always happy to help you in your search for the right place to live!


Tori is a Community Assistant at Sweetwater. She is a sophomore at UF majoring in Public Relations. Her favorite drink from Daydreamer is the Sweetwater Matcha.

August 09, 2023

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