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Lettings jargon buster

You may come across some uncertain phrases during your experience in the renting or letting of a property. We want to make you more aware and our Jargon Buster will help simplify some of these terms for you.

  The Assured Shorthold Tenancy is a default tenancy for most accommodation in England.

Arrears: Payments that are owed by the tenant past the date set out in the contract.

Break Clause: This is a contract clause that allows either party to break the agreement.

Buy to let: The procedure that involves a landlord purchasing a property and then renting it out to an occupant.
Common Household: When a property is inhabited by more than one tenant, then all of the tenants under the contract are liable.

Contractual Obligation: The parties mentioned in the contract are bound to the conditions previously set out.

Contractual Term: The time period in which the agreement will last, as outlined in the contract.

Deposit: To secure the tenancy, you must first put down a sum of money which has been previously agreed between the landlord and tenant.
Dilapidation: The word given to excessive damage to a property or the contents included.

Duty of Care: To keep both tenants and landlords informed at all times, there is a responsibility in which you must supply the correct recommendations regarding lettings.

Execute (a tenancy):  The tenancy becomes legally valid through the exchange of contracts on this day

Extensions:  At the end of the designated time period there might be a possibility to renew or extend the contact, either on a monthly or longer term basis. However, most residential property agreements are for a fixed term and this might not be an option.
FICO: Financial Intermediaries and Claims Office. This is the department which governs overseas landlords

Freeholder: A landlord that owns both the land on which the building stands and the property itself.

Gas Safety Registered: A trade organisation for gas fitters.

Grounds For Possession: The motive behind applying for a repossession of a property.

Guarantor: An outside party who agrees to take responsibility for the obligations of the tenant.
Handover: When tenants are allowed occupation of a property.

Head Landlord: The party that owns the freehold of the property, allowing it to be let and sub-let.

Housing Act Tenancy: Only applies to tenancies falling between the Housing Act 1988 & Housing Act 1996.

Initial Term: The first fixed period of the tenancy.

Inventory: The document containing all the contents of the property that come as part of the letting, including all fixtures and fittings. Any damages will be taken out of the deposit.

Jointly and Severally: Where two or more tenants are contracted to the property. All parties in the agreement can be held liable.

Law of Contract: Law of Contract Tenancy/ Tenancies outside the scope of the Housing Acts of 1988 and 1996 and subject to the standard provisions of contracts.

Lease: The lease details the rights and responsibilities of the tenant(s) and landlord, detailing both the length of the contract and the money involved.

Leasehold Consent: Leasehold owners are usually required to obtain consent from their landlord before they are able to sub-let.

Lessee: The tenant.

Lessor: The landlord.

Managing Agent: The individual or business responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the property.

Multiple Occupation: When a number of tenants share accommodation but in private rooms. For example, student accommodation.
Non-Housing Act: Residential tenancies which do not meet the criteria of the Housing Act 1988 and Tenancies Act 1996 are collectively known as Non-Housing Act Tenancies.

NRL 1: Non- Residence Landlord Scheme form, which must be sent to the Inland Revenue.

Notices: Written statements that formally propose changes and amendments to the agreed contract.

Occupancy Rights: The tenant assumes the right to occupy the property.

Owner Occupier: The owner of the property who intends to use it as their principle residence.

Parties: The different people involved in the tenancy agreement.

Power of Attorney: The ability to give a third party the right over the property and the assets involved.

Public Liability Insurance: A policy that can be taken out to insure against any accidents or occurrences which may cause injury.
Resident Landlord: The landlord will reside in the house but still accommodate tenants.
Schedule of Condition: The state of the property and contents prior to the tenancy.

Social Housing: Mainly Local Authority, Housing Association or Trust property.

Stakeholder: The stakeholder holds the deposit on behalf of the landlord, often as a third party, and distributes it at the end of the tenancy.
Stamping Tenancy: The amount of money due to the Inland Revenue, as stated under the Stamps Act 1891.

Statutory Obligations: The laws passed in parliament which states the obligations and duties of the landlord and their agents.

Subject to Contract: Often used on pre-contract documents, this term ensures that the article does not constitute a contract.

Sublet: When a tenant lets the property to another person for a shorter term.
Tax Exemption: A number that can be obtained through the Inland Revenue which passes the rent to the customer without a tax deduction.
Term: The length of the letting period.
Term of Contract: The rights and responsibilities outlined in the contract.

Termination: When a tenancy contract ends.

To Clear Monies: Once the money has passed through the bank and has arrived in the designated account ready for use.


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