Renting is an agreement where a payment is made for the temporary use of a good owned by another person or company. Examples:

Renting can, in various degrees, involve buying services, such as staying in a hotel, using a computer in an Internet cafe, or riding in a taxicab.

Reasons for renting rather than buying include:

  • Renting is tax attractive (in Spain)
  • Financial inadequacy, such as renting a house when one is unable to buy it.
  • A product is needed only temporarily, as in the case of a special tool or a truck.
  • Need for a similar product that is already owned but not in close proximity, such as renting a car or bike when away on a trip.
  • Needing a cheaper alternative to buying, such as renting a movie: a person is unwilling to pay the full price for a movie, so they rent it for a lesser price, but give up the chance to view it again later.

Some merchants have rent-to-own programs, usually for expensive items such as homes or appliances.

As seen from the examples, some rented goods are used on the spot, but usually they are taken along; to help guarantee that they are brought back, one or more of the following applies:

  • one shows an identity document
  • one signs a contract; any damage already present when renting may be noted down to avoid that the renter is blamed for it when the good is returned
  • one pays a deposit (also used for paying for small damage)

Sometimes the risk that the good is kept is reduced by it being a special model or having signs on it than can not easily be removed, making it obvious that it is owned by the rental company; this is especially effective for goods used in public places, but even when used at home it may help due to social control.

If one regularly rents goods from a particular company, often one has some kind of account, which reduces the administrative procedure on each occasion.

Lending books from a library could be called renting when there is a fee per book. However the term lending is more common.

See also: Leasing