late 14c., "rent roll, schedule or account of rents;" also "income from rents," from Anglo-French rental and Medieval Latin rentale; see rent (n.1) + -al (2). Meaning "amount charged for rent, gross amount of rents drawn from an estate" is from 1630s. In reference to a car or house let for rent, by 1952, American English. As an adjective by 1510s.
U.S. car rental company, according to company history founded 1946 at Willow Run Airport in Detroit by U.S. businessman Warren Avis and named for him.