Jargon Buster

Applicant

An individual person applying to rent a property.

ARLA

The Association of Residential Letting Agents.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)

Is a formal tenancy which gives permission for a Tenant to reside in a property for a certain duration of time subject to the terms of the tenancy being adhered to.

Block management

Agents who act for the freeholders and leaseholds for block of apartments and flats. Normally will organise internal cleaning, garden maintenance, arrange the insurance and arrange re-decoration.

Break clause

Also referred to as a Release Clause. This is a clause sometimes inserted in a fixed term tenancy, typically if the initial fixed term is for a year or more. It will not normally be applicable during the first six months of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.

Building insurance policy

Insurance against the damage or destruction of the permanent structure of a property.

Building insurance premiums

The money paid to insurance companies at specified intervals to maintain the building insurance policy.

Buy to let

A term used for a property bought with the intention of letting it out.

Buy to let mortgage

When Buyers intend to purchase a property in order to let it out, this type of mortgage is offered by the Lender.

Check out process

When a Tenant vacates a property under any circumstances, the Agent / Landlord and Tenant must follow certain steps. Usually a written set of vacation instructions are given to a Tenant prior to the last day of the tenancy and an appointment is made for a check of the property.

Clause

A tenancy agreement is constructed of a number of clauses. These are instructions and promises given by one party to the other which must be obeyed or fulfilled during the tenancy.

Client monies account

These are monies that are paid to an Agent from a Tenant which are due to the Landlord. These monies do not belong to the Agent. The Agent must keep these monies separate to their own business trading money. These monies must be forwarded to the Landlord.

Communal area

A shared living space, which no-one has sole right over such as the stairwells or gardens.

Company let

Let to a bona fide company.

Contents insurance

Insurance to cover any loss or damage to your possessions within the property.

Contract

A document which is made between two parties and which binds both parties to complete the transaction.

Council tax

Local authority tax for England, Wales and Scotland. In most cases this will be the responsibility of a tenant to pay.

Covenants

The terms of the tenancy agreement - obligations - "promises" made by either Landlord or Tenant. When a Landlord sublets their property to a Tenant, these terms are in the main 'restrictive' meaning things that you cannot do such as keep pets or hang towels over a balcony.

Credit reference

A search conducted via a specialised company to ascertain if an individual has CCJs or a bad payment history.

Credit referencing fee

A fee charged for the credit reference search process.

Damage Disputes

When a dispute arises about who is responsible for property damage.

Deposit

A sum of money (usually a minimum of one month's rent in advance) paid to the landlord (or agent) of the property, which is returned at the end of the tenancy, subject to the condition of the property.

Dilapidations

Any disrepair or damage to a property that the Tenant is responsible for.

Direct debit

A pre-authorised debit on the payer's bank account initiated by the recipient (payee).

Discrepancies

When documents presented do not conform to the terms and conditions of an agreement or contract.

DPS

Deposit Protection Service: www.depositprotection.com. The custodial tenancy deposit protection scheme.

Early release

When a Tenant asks for permission to end a tenancy before it is due to expire.

Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

Governs the safety of electrical equipment provided by the Landlord to a Tenant.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are a compulsory set of tests which must be conducted on a property prior to letting in order for the applicant to see how energy efficient if is. This came into force in October 2008.

Factors

These are the Scottish equivalent to service and lease charges made in England. They are monies which are paid for the upkeep of communal areas or parts of a building.

Fire safety regulations

These specify certain acts which must be undertaken by a Landlord or a Tenant. www.communities.gov.uk/fire/firesafety/firesafetylaw

Fixtures and fittings

Items usually provided in a letting - curtains, carpets, blinds, light fittings, kitchen units, appliances.

Freeholder

A person, body or company who owns a building and who then leases out parts of the building to another person - a leaseholder.

Fully managed service

A service provided by an Agent to a Landlord where the Agent will undertake many aspects of the lettings process on behalf of the Landlord to include receiving the rent and being a point of contact for the Tenant for the duration of the tenancy.

Furnishings

Furniture or other items provided by the Landlord at the property when letting. In the case of some lettings there will beds, chairs, tables and other items of fixtures and fittings provided. It is advisable to always check as to what is provided and what is not.

Gas safety regulations

This governs the safety of gas appliances and associated pipework. www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1998/19982451.htm

Ground rent

The annual charge to the leaseholder by the freeholder.

Guarantor

Person who is prepared to guarantee rental payments and other obligations of a tenancy. The guarantor will be liable for rental payments if a tenant is unable to pay them, so the guarantor will need to have a regular income. Normally references and/or credit checks will be carried out.

Head leases

These are the terms of possession provided by a freeholder to a leaseholder. Certain aspects of this head lease will be applicable in the event of a leaseholder subletting their part of the building. These are usually the restrictive covenants.

HMO

Houses in Multiple Occupation. These are properties which are occupied by a number of people which must then comply to further legislation. www.communities.gov.uk

HMRC

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs: www.hmrc.gov.uk

Housing (Scotland) Act 2006

housing legislation governing Scotland: www.opsi.gov.uk/.../scotland/acts2006/asp_20060001_en_1

Housing benefit

A state benefit within the social security system which is paid to employed and unemployed people on low incomes to help them pay their rent.

Indemnity

Is protection from loss or damage claims filed by another person.

Inventory and schedule of condition

A list detailing every item including fixtures and fittings contained within a rental property and the condition each listed item is in, usually checked by all parties on the day the tenant moves in and signed by all parties.

Joint Tenancy

A tenancy where there are two or more tenants who all have equal rights and responsibilities during a tenancy. Joint and several - As joint tenants of a tenancy, the tenants have joint and several liability. This means that the landlord can recover the whole amount.

Landlord

Person who allows use of his property by another in exchange for rent and subject to conditions set out in a tenancy agreement or contract.

Landlord and Tenant Act 1985

This act covers items such as information to be given to the tenant and repairing obligations. www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts1995/ukpga_19950030_en_1

Lease

An agreement, in the context of a purchased property, between landlord and tenant setting out the terms and conditions of occupation.

Let Agreed

A tenancy subject to contract has been agreed with the landlord by tenants.

Let as Seen

Means renting the property as it is seen at a viewing.

Letting Agent

A person or company engaged to perform, on behalf of the landlord, some or most of his duties to the tenants, in return for payment.

LHA

Local housing authority.

Liable

Legally responsible.

Maintenance Charge

See service charge.

Maisonette

A property arranged over more than one floor (ie: a portion of the house).

Market appraisal

Assessment of the expected rent which may be achieved for a property.

Mesne profits

Sums of money paid by an occupant to the owner of the property where no permission has been given for that occupation.

Meter readings

Data collection from meters which display the amount of usage of a utility such as electric, gas or water.

Multiple occupancy

Properties that are occupied by more than one person and fall into the category of HMO (see HMO).

NALS

National Approved Lettings Scheme.

Notice

Notification by either party of any events such as notice to end a tenancy.

Ombudsman

An independent organization that investigates professionals such as letting agents, or solicitors when complaints are made by their customers.

Option

Option to renew a tenancy usually written into the original tenancy agreement which allows the Tenant to continue the tenancy for a further term equal to the initial terms subject to fulfilment of the terms of the tenancy.

PCM

Rental figure, means per calendar month.

Penalties

A fee or charge for violating terms.

Penthouse

An apartment located on the top floors of a building usually with exclusive access.

Pied a terre

A property kept for occasional or temporary secondary occupation.

Policy excess

The pre set amount you will have to pay if you make a claim on your insurance policy.

Premium

The money paid to insurance companies at specified intervals to maintain cover.

Premium lease

A lease where the payment of rent for the full term or majority of the terms is made in advance - usually for a company let.

Property portal

A website that collates properties from a number of different sources for viewing.

Proprietor

Means the person(s) registered at present as the business owner.

Reference

Checking an applicant's suitability as a proposed Tenant, their ability to be able to pay the rent and also the applicant's track record in earlier rentals. This often involves contacting previous landlords, the present employer or accountant if self employed.

Rent

Payment made by a tenant at intervals as specified on the tenancy agreement in order to occupy a property.

Rent guarantee

A form of Landlord insurance where, for a relatively small annual fee, landlords can protect against loss of rent due to a breach of the tenancy by a Tenant.

Rent receipt service

A service provided by an Agent to a Landlord where the agent will undertake the necessary steps to find a suitable Tenant, make arrangements to commence the tenancy and to ensure that the rent is regularly receipted. The day to day management of the tenant is the landlord's responsibility.

Rental assessment

See Market Appraisal.

Rental yield

Rental yield is the amount of money a landlord receives in rent over the course of one year, expressed as a percentage of the amount of money invested in the property.

Renting

Renting is an agreement where a payment is made for the temporary use of a property owned by another person.

RICS

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors - www.rics.org

Routine maintenance

Includes day-to-day duties carried out at the expense of the Landlord in order to maintain the Landlord's property only maintenance which is the responsibility of the Landlord will be carried out at their expense. Maintenance required due to the negligence.

Schedule of condition

A Schedule of Condition is carried out in conjunction with the inventory in order to determine the condition including cleanliness of a property prior to a tenancy beginning.

Security deposit

see Deposit

Service charges

A charge to the Leaseholder for the maintenance and repair of commonly shared internal and external parts of the building / premises.

Shared occupancy

see Multiple Occupancy or Joint Tenancy.

Smoke Detectors Act 1991

This act governs the necessity for hard wired smoke detectors to be installed into all newly built properties since 1991. www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1991/Ukpga_19910037_en_1

Statute

The primary legislation, made by parliament, of the UK. Examples of statutes are the acts such as Landlord and Tenant Act, Housing Act.

Studio flat

A studio flat has one bathroom/shower room and an open-plan living area that incorporates kitchen, lounge and bedroom facilities.

Sub-let

A tenant reassigns part or all of the property they are renting to another tenant. This terms can also be used for a leaseholder who lets their property to another person.

Tenancy

The tenancy is the granting of temporary possession of a property to a tenant by a Landlord.

Tenancy administration fee

A fee which is collected by an Agent to a Tenant in order to commence the necessary tasks to create a tenancy.

Tenancy agreement

The Tenancy agreement legally identifies the rights of both tenants and landlords by detailing all the terms and conditions of the rental arrangements. Statue will always dictate certain rights and responsibilities regardless of what or whether it is stated within the tenancy agreement.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

There are three tenancy deposit schemes which run in accordance with the Housing Act 2004, Tenancy Deposit Protection. They have been officially appointed by the government and are the only persons legally able to register and protect Tenant's deposits.

Tenancy renewal fee

A fee which is payable to by Tenant to the Agent in order to effect a renewal of the tenancy for a further term. This fee is usually split between the Landlord and the Tenant.

Tenant

The Tenant is the person / party legally entitled to temporary possession of a property.

The Housing Act 2004

(c.34) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It introduced the tenancy deposit protection scheme and also significantly extended the regulation of houses in multiple occupation by requiring HMOs to be licensed by local authorities.

Turnaround

The period of time in which a property is made available to rent.

TV licence

A compulsory fee paid to the BBC for ownership of a television or radio in a property.

Utility bills

These are normally electricity, gas and water. Under most circumstances the tenant is responsible for paying for these.

Viewing

An appointment where an agent shows applicants around an available property.

Void periods

Where a property available for rent remains vacant.

Warranty

Written assurance that some product or service will be provided or will meet certain specifications.

Wear and tear

The day to day deterioration of a property through normal use.

White goods

Usually kitchen and utility appliances, including: washing machine and fridges.

Yield

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

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