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Jargon Buster

Trying to understand property related jargon?



A person who’s looking to rent a property.

Appraisal Price

An estimated selling price given to a property.


The increase of a property’s value, caused by market conditions.


The overdue amount of payments missed on a mortgage.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)

An assured shorthold tenancy offers the landlord a guaranteed right to repossess his/her property at the end of the term stated in the tenancy agreement.


Break Clause

A Break clause is in English property law a term in a tenancy agreement that allows a tenancy to come to an end before the end date stated in the tenancy. A break clause may be enforced by either the landlord or the tenant.


A property all on one level (ground floor).

Buy to Let Mortgage

A mortgage which has been processed on a property which has been purchased to rent out.



A fee charged for conducting business.

Common Areas

The order of which a person or company is entitled to the property.

Company Tenancy

This form of Tenancy Agreement is used where a company is the tenant. There’s no additional statutory protection; both landlord and tenant are bound only by the terms of the written agreement.

Contents Insurance

Insurance which provides cover if the owners belongings are damaged.


An agreement which is legally binding between the buyer and the seller of a property.

Contract Race

The race between two parties to exchange contracts first on a property purchase.


The sub-division of a residential property into bedsits, self-contained flats or maisonettes.

Credit Check

A check to reveal history of credit card repayments, outstanding debts, arrears and County Court Judgments usually conducted by external companies and used to check a potential tenants financial suitability to rent.

Credit history

A history of an individual’s or company’s past borrowing, including information about late payments and bankruptcy.


Data Protection Act

Sets rules and regulations of how your personal information can be held or used.


A situation in which prices are falling.


The money paid to a solicitor to ensure the purchase of a property.

Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS)

All deposits being paid by a tenant for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be registered with a recognised deposit protection scheme within 14 days.


A property that stands alone, with no other connected building.


An older property that has been refurbished and modernised or a newly built premises.


Damage to a property or contents that exceeds acceptable wear and tear.

Due Diligence

A process of performing duties to the generally accepted professional standard.


End Terrace

The properties at each end of a line of terraced properties.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An EPC measures the energy efficiency of a property using an A to G grade. It’s a legal requirement to have a valid EPC commissioned before a property can be marketed.


The initial sum paid on an insurance claim.


Fixtures and Fittings

Items that is included in the sale of a property.


Gas Safety Regulations

The landlord must ensure that a gas safety check is carried out by a CORGI registered engineer prior to a let and then annually after that.


A third party who promises to pay a borrowers debt if that borrower defaults.



The time when tenants are allowed occupation of a property.

High Rent tenancy

Refers to a tenancy agreement where the annual rent is over £25,000 per annum, also known as a contractual tenancy.

Holding Deposit

This is usually a nominal amount (£100 +) that will be asked for when a tenant applies for a tenancy of a property. The agreed amount is often non-refundable.

Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO)

A building of three floors or more which is to be occupied by three or more people and where these people live as more than one household and share facilities such as bathrooms, toilets or cooking facilities.



The general increase in price over a period of time.


Details the contents of a property including the state and condition and includes the fixtures and fittings. They should be checked in with the tenant at the start of the tenancy and checked out at the end.



The owner of a property that is rented out.

Landlords Reference

A reference given by a previous landlord, which confirms an applicant’s history of payment of rent and previous conduct as a tenant.

Lease agreement

The legal agreement between the landlord and tenant that reflects the terms of the negotiations between them and sets out their basic legal rights.


Refers to the person responsible for granting a lease, usually the landlord.


An agreement to let a particular property.

Listed Building

A building which is considered to be of special architectural or historic interest.

Long let

A long let is a tenancy that typically lasts for a period of six months or more.


Maintenance Charge

Charged by the freeholder to the leaseholder, this cost is for the up keep of any communal parts of a building.


A self-contained apartment usually over two floors, often with its own front door.

Mid Terrace

A property in the middle of a row of properties.

Multi Agency

When more than one Estate Agent has an agreement to market a property at the same time.


Notice Period

The amount of notice that the landlord must give the tenant to end the tenancy and vice versa.


Occupancy Rights

These are contained within the tenancy agreement and give the tenant right of occupancy of the property.


The amount of money a buyer is prepared to pay for a property.

Open House

A scheduled period of time in which a property is designated to be available for viewing for potential buyers.



Landlord and tenant (and possibly a guarantor) who come together to sign a tenancy agreement are collectively known as ‘Parties’ to the agreement.

Periodic Tenancy

A nominal periodic rent usually paid annually.


Refers to a Rental figure and stands for per calendar month.

Pied à Terre

A property kept for temporary, secondary or occasional occupation.

Portable Appliance Test (PAT)

A test carried out by a registered engineer to ensure that all electrical installations and appliances within a property are safe in conjunction with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.


A monthly amount payable for any insurance policy.

Premium lease

Where rent for the property is paid in full up front.

Property Management

A professional or company responsible under an agency agreement for the maintenance and management of a property.



Allows a landlord to check a tenancy applicant’s suitability to be able to pay the rent and also the applicant’s track record in earlier rentals.

Renewal of contracts

Renewing a contract that has expired or will shortly expire.

Resident Landlord

Where the landlord occupies part of the dwelling as his main or principle home and lets the rest of the property.


Semi Detached

A property which is joined to one other house.

Service charge

The cost of repairing and maintaining external or internal communal parts of a building charged to the landlord. (Also known as maintenance charge)

Sitting tenant

A person occupying a property who’s legally protected against being removed.

SMS (Short Message Service)

Commonly known as text messages.

Sole Agent

When a vendor uses only one Estate Agent to sell their property (often resulting in cheaper commission).

Sought After Location

An area within a town, that is popular for potential buyers.

Standing Order

An instruction that the tenant makes to their bank for payment of rent, normally the same day every month.

Studio Flat

A property consisting of one main room incorporating cooking, living and sleeping facilities, usually with a separate bathroom/shower room.

Subject to Contract

The term used to confirm a property purchase is not yet legally binding.


A qualified person to estimate the value of property and complete structural surveys.



The temporary occupation of a property by a tenant.

Tenancy agreement

A legal binding document to protect the rights of the landlord and the tenant setting out the terms of the rental arrangements.


A person who rents a property and pays an agreed monthly rent to the landlord.


Refers to the ending of a tenancy.

Terraced house

A property that forms part of a connected row of houses.

Town House

A property laid out over three floors, often with the lounge on the first floor.


Under Offer

The term given to a property which has had an acceptable offer made, but prior to exchange of contracts.


These are normally electricity, gas and water and may be referred to as services which, under most circumstances, the tenant is responsible for paying.



A name given to a property where there are no current occupiers.


A basic survey of a property to estimate its value.

VAT (Value Added Tax)

A legal charge levied against some goods and services.


When a potential tenant physically attends a property to look around.

Void period

Period of time when a property is empty/unoccupied by a tenant.



Income from a property calculated as a percentage of its value.

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