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Jargon Buster A-Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Administration/Application fee

This is a charge levied by the lender to cover the costs of processing a mortgage application. If an application is not completed, the fee may not be refunded.

Agent

A person or company that is representing a landlord or vendor for renting or selling a property.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The APR is a compound interest rate figure used to compare different mortgages. Defined by law, it includes repayments on the loan plus any mortgage related fees such as booking, arrangement or basic valuation fees. The APR shows the true cost of borrowing over the entire term and should appear on all mortgage illustrations.

Applicant

The person or party applying for a property to buy.

Appraised value

The estimated value of a property, based on a comparable report.

Appreciation

The increase in the value of a property as a result of changes in market conditions.

Arrangement fees

Fees charged to arrange a loan on certain products. Usually applied to loans where a special interest rate applies e.g. fixed or capped rates.

Arrears

Money that is unpaid either in part or full after the time specified in the tenancy agreement.

Article 4 Directive

A Statutory instrument (law) designed to control the amount of HMO properties in a designated area. It means that you have to obtain planning permission to move up from one planning classification to another but not to drop down. The fines for non-compliance can be very high and in certain cases if the wrong property classification is used, the rent may have to be returned to the tenants and tenancies cancelled.

Asset

Any form of property owned by a person, including currency, stocks and enforceable claims against others.

Assignment

The transfer of ownership of an insurance policy or lease etc.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy

This is an agreement for letting a dwelling on a fixed term assured shorthold tenancy under Part 1 of the Housing Act 1988 (as amended). This document is important. It sets out the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords under the agreement. It offers the landlord a guaranteed right to repossess his property at the end of the term stated on the tenancy.

Auction

The sale of a property to the highest qualified bidder.

Banker’s draft

Similar to a cheque, but drawn directly from your bank account to guarantee the amount of money provided. You will normally need to give the Bank 24 hours’ notice and an administration charge is normally taken by the bank for this service.

Block Management

This refers to agents acting on behalf of Freeholders and leaseholders to manage the actual block rather than individual apartments. This normally includes (but is not limited to), the cleaning of the communal areas, buildings insurance and often water rates, gardening etc. and this is completely different to property management.

Break Clause

A clause sometime inserted into a tenancy agreement giving both parties the option to end the tenancy earlier. This is sometimes referred to as a release clause.

Bridging Loan

A short term loan commonly used to cover or ‘bridge’ the overlap between the purchase of a new property and the sale of an old one.

Building survey (formerly full structural survey)

A full inspection of the property, conducted by a chartered surveyor, who will write a detailed report setting out the soundness of a property and any property defects. Suitable for any house, particularly older properties and those that have been poorly maintained as well as properties that have been extensively altered or extended, or any property due to be altered or extended.

Buildings Insurance

An insurance policy that pays the cost of repair or rebuilding in the event your property is damaged or destroyed. Most mortgage lenders will require buildings insurance to be taken out as a condition of their loan.

Buy-to-let Mortgage

A type of mortgage specifically designed for people buying a property with the intention of letting it out.

SEARCH FOR A PROPERTY: Search for a property, our property list derived from our available property search engine covering existing property plus any New Homes & developments

Buyer

A person or body (ltd company etc.) who is buying a property.

Capital

The amount of money either put into buying a property or the deposit placed on a property. Also known as equity.

Capped-rate Mortgage

A capped-rate mortgage sets a maximum rate of interest that the lender can charge, but only for a specified period.

Chain

The situation that occurs when a buyer is reliant upon completion of the sale of their existing property in order to complete on the purchase of the new property.

Cleared Funds

This refers to money that has been cleared by the banking system and has been acknowledged as leaving the owners bank and safely received in your bank account and acknowledged and accepted as paid.

Client account

A bank account specifically set up for the safekeeping and recording of their client’s money.

Commission

The agent’s fee for selling the property.

Common areas

Areas of land or buildings, such as gardens, hallways, recreational facilities and parking areas, where more than one resident shares access. In apartment blocks this is usually referred to as communal space.

Common Household

Where a residential household is shared and let as a whole household by two or more tenants. These tenants are normally jointly and severally liable under an assured shorthold tenancy agreement.

Company Let

Where the property is let to the company and the people staying there are permitted occupiers. This is a contractual tenancy and falls outside the assured shorthold tenancy terms and conditions.

Comparable Report (Sales)

A search that looks at the actual sale values of similar properties in the same area as your property over a specific period in time. It shows what properties has been marketed, at what price, how long they were marketed for and if sold what price they achieved.

Comparable Report (Lettings)

A search that looks at what similar properties have been marketed in the same area at what rents and how long they took to rent. This is to ensure your property is marketed at the right price for you.

Completion Date

The completion date is the day on which money is transferred from the buyer’s to the seller’s solicitor. It is the date that the buyer becomes the legal owner of the new property.

Conditions of Sale

The details that determine the rights and duties of the seller and buyer. These may be national, statutory or the Law Society’s conditions.

Contents Insurance

Insurance that covers the contents of a home, including electrical goods, carpets, furniture and curtains.

Contract

A legal agreement between the seller and buyer of a property, which binds both parties to complete the transaction.

Contractual Term

A fixed period of time stated in a contract, referring to the time that the contract will last.

Converted flat

A flat or apartment that has been created by the subdivision of a larger property.

Conversion

The sub division of a property in to residential or commercial units (offices, flats, apartments etc.).

Conveyancer

A qualified individual such as a solicitor or licensed conveyancer who deals with the legal aspects of buying or selling a property.

Conveyancing

The legal process surrounding the transfer of ownership of a property from seller to buyer.

Conveyancing Fee

the charge made by a solicitor or conveyancer for undertaking the legal process necessary for the transfer of ownership of a property.

Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML)

The Council of Mortgage Lenders devised the Mortgage Code to ensure lenders treat customers fairly.

Council Tax

A local authority tax for residential properties in England, Scotland and Wales. This tax is normally paid by the tenant although there are exceptions and exemptions (i.e. students are exempt but require an exemption form obtainable from the council).

Covenants

Rules and regulations governing the property, contained in its Title Deeds or Lease. An agreement to refrain from or engage in any specified actions.

Credit Check

The procedure by which a check is made on the credit history of an applicant, usually conducted by one of the large dedicated credit rating agencies. The check will reveal history of credit card repayments, outstanding debts, arrears and County Court Judgments.

Credit History

A history of an individual’s open and fully repaid debts. Checking a credit history helps a lender to assess the likelihood that a prospective borrower will maintain their mortgage repayments.

Credit Search References

References required for tenants who are renting a property. These can include bank checks, credit searches, previous landlord references, Employment references etc.

Deeds

Legal documents proving ownership, generally held by the mortgage lender.

Deeds release or discharge fee

The fee charged by lenders at the end of a mortgage term to cover the administrative costs of transferring the property ownership documents to the borrower.

Deflation

A situation in which prices are falling (the opposite situation to inflation).

Dilapidations

Damage to a property and / or its contents which exceeds normal wear and tear

Deposit (Sales):

A sum of money paid by the buyer on exchange of contracts.

Deposit (or Tenancy Deposit) (Lettings)

A sum of money taken from tenants and held as ‘insurance’ to protect against any breaches of the tenancy agreement e.g. damage to furniture or breach of tenancy. The amount is usually a minimum of one month’s rent and must be paid before the tenancy begins. The money is repaid at the end of the tenancy, less any deductions.

Depreciation

The decline or reduction in the value of a property caused by changes in market conditions (the opposite of appreciation).

Detached

Term used to describe a property that stands alone and is separated from all others.

Development

A newly built residence or an older property that has been refurbished and modernised.

Disbursements

Fees paid by the buyer’s solicitor on the buyer’s behalf such as stamp duty, land registry and search fees.

Discharge

Paying off a mortgage.

Discount Mortgage

Mortgages charged at a rate discounted from the published bank standard variable rate for a set period of time. The rates are variable and are subject to go up or down in line with any changes to the Bank of England base rate.

Down Valuation

When the lender restricts the amount you can borrow after the surveyor’s valuation report indicates the property is not worth the sum sought.

Draft contract

Preliminary version of the contract

Due Diligence

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

Duty of Care

An obligations owed to others specifically landlords and tenants to provide the correct advice regarding lettings and ensure the wellbeing and safety of those who may visit the property.

Early Repayment Charge (ERC)

A charge levied by the lender as a penalty if a mortgage is paid off within a specified period.

Electrical testing

(Renting) The Housing act says your property must be safe and the electrical system must be safe. There is no statutory requirement for an electrical certificate (unless you have a licensable HMO where it is part of the process). However the only way you can be sure the electrical system is safe is to have a certificate. Our legal team have suggested that should there be a deficiency in the electrical system and it hasn’t been properly checked then the penalties are likely to be high. We recommend that all rental properties have a five year fixed wiring check and an annual visual check and these are carried out on our managed properties.

Endowment mortgage

Interest-only repayments combined with monthly premiums into an endowment policy designed to pay off the loan at the end of the term.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An EPC measures the energy efficiency of a property using a scale of A-G. It is a legal requirement to have a valid EPC commissioned before a property can be marketed.

Equity

The amount of money either put into buying a property or the deposit placed on a property which exceeds the amount of any money borrowed against the property. Also known as capital.

Excess

The initial sum paid on an insurance claim.

Exchange of contracts

The point at which signed contracts are physically exchanged, legally binding the seller and buyer to the sale and purchase of a property at the agreed price.

Extensions

Tenancy agreements are for an initial fixed term and not all tenants or landlords want to have a periodic period so it is possible at the end of a fixed term to renew for a further fixed term. If paperwork is undertaken then fees will be charged.

Financial Services Authority (FSA):

An independent body that regulates the financial services industry in the UK.

Fixed rate mortgage

A mortgage in which the interest rate is set for an agreed period of time.

Fixed Term

The initial term of the rental contract (i.e. 6,12 months etc.), after which the tenancy automatically turns into a periodic tenancy (month by month). The fixed term is the minimum time you would rent the property for.

Fixtures and fittings

All non-structural items included in the purchase of a property.

Flexible Mortgage

An arrangement whereby you can increase or decrease your mortgage.

Flying freehold

A flying freehold exists when one part of a property extends over, or under, a neighboring property.

Freehold

Where the owner of the property also owns the land on which it is built.

Gas safety certificate (CP12)

Every rental property with gas requires an annual gas safety certificate (CP12) awarded each year subject to a satisfactory inspection. This is the responsibility of the landlord or managing agent. They should advise the tenant(s) of the date a Gas Safe registered engineer will visit to carry out the necessary checks. The current statutory body (February 2017), that provides these certificates through their membership who inspect is Gas Safe.

Gazumping

When a seller accepts a higher offer from a third party on a property that they have already agreed to sell to someone else prior to exchange of contracts.

Gazundering

When a buyer reduces their agreed offer prior to exchange of contracts.

Ground rent

The annual charge levied by the freeholder to the leaseholder.

Grounds for possession

The reasons for applying to the courts for the repossession of a property.

Guarantor

“Deed of Guarantee” A guarantor is an individual, often a close relative, who agrees to take on the financial liabilities of the tenant if the tenant fails to do so. These can include rent arrears, damage to the property and other liabilities under the tenancy. These obligations are set out in the Deed of Guarantee but also the AST the tenant has signed.

Handover

The time when tenants are allowed the occupation of the property.

Higher lending charge

An up-front, one-off fee paid to the lender to protect them against the borrower defaulting on the loan. Usually charged on mortgages over 75% of the house value.

Holding deposit

A holding deposit is an amount of money paid by a tenant to a landlord or letting agent to “hold” a property, off the market, so nobody else can take the property, whilst references are obtained and whilst the landlord decides to agree to the tenancy. It is usually non-refundable and demonstrates the tenant’s commitment to a tenancy before it has started. In addition it is not an additional fee, i.e. If the total amount to be paid is for example £1250 and the tenant has paid a holding deposit of £250 then the tenant will only pay the balance of the monies owed (£1000) as the balance plus the holding deposit (already paid), makes up the total due.

Homebuyer's survey and valuation

This is a survey report, which is not as detailed as a structural survey, carried out by a chartered surveyor to assess the state of a property and its value.

Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO)

An HMO is a property with three or more unrelated tenants forming more than one household and who share kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities. If the property houses five or more unrelated tenants, from more than one household and the property is over three floors, it requires a local authority licence. As a tenant, you do not need to do anything differently. All this means is that your landlord or managing agent has to comply with certain regulations in terms of safety and structure (smoke alarms, heat detector, fire resistancy etc.).

Housing Act 2004

There have been many housing acts since 1925 that have dealt with renting. This is the latest and supersedes all previous acts of Parliament

Household insurance

An insurance policy that protects against loss or damage to the property caused by fire, some natural causes and acts of vandalism. Also see Buildings insurance and Contents insurance.

IFA

Independent Financial Advisor.

Individual Savings Account mortgage (ISA)

An interest-only mortgage linked to an Individual Savings Account fund, which is designed to pay off the loan at the end of the period.

Inflation

The general rise in prices over time.

Interest charges

The charges that banks make on a loan, calculated as a percentage of the amount borrowed.

Interest-only mortgage

A type of mortgage in which the borrower only repays the interest on the loan for the duration of its term and repays the full loan amount at the end of the mortgage period.

Initial term

The first phase of the tenancy normally referred to as the “Fixed term”.

Inventory

A schedule of items and conditions of the property including the building (walls, flooring, ceilings, radiators etc.). As well as the furniture fixtures and fittings if present. It is sometimes referred to as a schedule of conditions and is used as a guide to protect and ensure the safe return of the tenants deposit bond. The tenant has to sign for the inventory at the beginning of the tenancy to confirm it is correct and then the tenant will be checked out against the same document to ensure fairness for all parties concerned (Both tenants and landlord).

Joint income

The total gross income of the two borrowers in a joint mortgage.

Jointly and Severally Liable

If a group of people rent a property, they need to sign a ‘joint and several’ tenancy agreement. This means they are all equally responsible for the monthly rental amount, even though each pays their share on an individual basis. It also means they are jointly liable for all clauses and obligations within the tenancy agreement. NB. Although a guarantor is “in principle” only guaranteeing their own tenants liability, the tenant is jointly and severally liable.

Joint tenants

A form of ownership for two parties whereby if one of them dies, their share of the property will automatically transfer to the remaining party, giving them full ownership (regardless of the terms of the deceased owner’s will).

Landlord

The owner (individual or company) of a property who rents out their property.

Landlord Reference

A reference supplied by a landlord for tenants moving to a new property with a different landlord.

Let only

Tenants deal directly with the landlord during their tenancy for both payment of rent and any maintenance issues. The lettings agency is only responsible for the initial viewings and paperwork in setting up the tenancy.

Land registration

The process of registering the legal title of an area of land with the Land Registry, typically handled by a solicitor.

Land registry fee

The fee payable for the above.

Lease

A legal document by which the Freehold (or Leasehold) owner of a property lets the premises or a part of it to another party for a specified length of time, after the expiry of which, ownership may revert to the Freeholder or superior Leaseholder.

Leasehold

A type of ownership in which a person owns a property, but not the land on which it is built. The owner of the Freehold will grant a lease on the property for a specified length of time.

Lender

The party, typically a bank, building society or mortgage company, offering the loan.

Lender's arrangement fees

Charge passed on to the buyer by the lender for arranging a loan.

Lessor

Refers to the person responsible for granting a lease. Usually the landlord.

Listed building

A building officially listed as being of special architectural or historic interest, which cannot be demolished or altered without prior local government approval.

Loan to value (LTV)

The proportion of the value of the property on which the lender is prepared to loan.

Local authority search

Procedure whereby a buyer’s solicitor checks with the local council regarding any outstanding enforcement or future development issues that might affect the property or immediate area.

Managing Agent

A professional person or company, responsible for the management and maintenance of the property during the tenancy

Managed Property

Tenants deal with the lettings agency for all matters during their tenancy. The lettings agency looks after the property on behalf of the landlord.

Maintenance charge (or service charge)

The cost of repairing and maintaining external or internal communal parts of a building charged to the tenant or leaseholder. In lettings, the standard (but not exclusive) practice is to incorporate the service charge into the rent so it is not a separate item.

Maisonette

A self-contained apartment (usually on two floors) in a larger house with its own entrance from the outside, or above a shop or another flat still having a separate entrance.

Mineral rights

Quite rare but sometimes encountered when land was originally owned by the crown or by major landowners and in particular aristocrats (i.e. The Duke of Northumberland, Duke of Westminster etc.). The land still remains with the freeholder (owner of the property), but should minerals or mineral deposits (Gold, Iron ore, coal, precious metals diamonds etc.), be present and found on this land then they remain the property of the previous owner who retained the mineral rights when selling the property. This information is stated in the deeds of the property / land.

Mortgage

An amount of money advanced by a lender such as a bank or building society on the security of a property and repayable over a long period of time.

Mortgage Payment Protection (MPP)

This is an insurance designed to pay your monthly mortgage for a limited period, usually a year if you are unable to work through illness, disability or redundancy.

Mortgage broker

Someone who advises buyers on the types of loans available and helps to process any subsequent application.

Mortgage deed

The legal document that confers ownership or title to a property.

Mortgage rate

The standard variable interest rate quoted by all mortgage lenders which normally varies in line with the Bank of England base rate. All discounted rates are based on this mortgage rate.

Mortgage term:

The period of time over which a mortgage loan must be repaid (i.e. 10,25 years etc.)

Mortgage type

This may be a fixed, variable, capped, discount, tracker or another type of mortgage.

Mortgagee

The lender of a mortgage (i.e. bank or building society).

NHBC scheme (National House-Building Council)

A type of building guarantee available on some newly built homes under which defects occurring within a specified time after construction are remedied.

Negative equity

A situation in which the value of a property has fallen to below the level of the loan secured on it.

Non Housing Act

Residential tenancies that do not meet the criteria of the Housing Act 1988 and tenancies Act 1996 are known as Non Housing Act tenancies (e.g. Company lets).

NRL1

A non-UK resident landlord scheme form which has to be sent to the Inland Revenue annually.

Notice Period

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

Occupancy Rights

These are contained within the tenancy agreement.

Offer

A sum of money that the buyer offers to pay for a property. N.B. proof of funds are normally required at this stage of the buying process please see next item.

Offer of a loan

A formal document approving the mortgage you have requested and detailing the Terms and Conditions that will apply. This is often referred to “Proof of Funds”.

Office copy entry

An official document from the Land Registry confirming ownership of and borrowings against a property.

Open market value

The price a property should achieve where there is a willing buyer and willing seller.

Owner Occupier

The person who owns the property who is, has been and will be living in the property as his sole or principle residence.

Parties

Landlord and tenant (and possibly guarantors), who come together to sign a tenancy agreement are collectively known as parties to the agreement.

Payment break/holiday

An option on flexible mortgages that allows you to stop making mortgage payments for up to six months.

PCM (Per Calendar Month)

The rent calculated on a 12-monthly basis. This is the weekly rental amount, multiplied by 52 (number of weeks in the year) and divided by 12 (number of months in the year). This gives an equal amount for each calendar month. (This is not the same as multiplying the weekly rent by four, as this would only give 48 weeks of the year.)

Penalties

A specified charge that is levied by the lender under certain circumstances, usually for full or part repayment within a specific period linked to a discount, tracker, fixed or other product type.

Peppercorn ground rent

A nominal periodic rent usually paid annually.

PPPW (Per person per week)

The normal and preferred way of marketing student rents as often each tenant (or their guarantor) will be paying their proportion of the rent only. The rent calculated on a weekly basis. This is the monthly rent multiplied by 12 and divided by 52 then divided by the number of bedrooms or people named on the agreement.

Periodic Term

The second phase of an assured shorthold tenancy, which comes directly after the fixed term. During this phase of the tenancy agreement, the tenant may leave having given once months’ notice in writing from the next rent date and the landlord may do the same by issuing a section 21 notice and giving two months’ notice from the next rent date.

Pied à Terre

A property kept for temporary, secondary or occasional occupation.

Planning Classifications

Of particular interest especially in an Article 4 area and of great interest if you are purchasing property to rent out. C3 – up to two unrelated sharers or a family. C4- Three or more unrelated sharers.

Power of attorney

A legal document giving a third party an absolute or limited right over the principle’s property and assets.

Premises

A parts or parts of a building which may include land and boundaries, fences, gardens and outbuildings belonging to the landlord unless they have been excluded from the tenancy. When the tenancy refers to part of a larger building the premises include the use of common access, ways and facilities.

Prescribed Information

Housing Act 2004 section 213 (5) – (6) and the Housing (Tenancy deposit) (Prescribed information) order 2007 required to be provided to the tenant within 14 days of the deposit being received.

Private Rented sector

The industry concerned with the letting of residential property owned by landlords. Most local authorities have a Private Rented department to support local private landlords. I.e. Newcastle Private rented Project

Public Liability Insurance

An insurance policy that aims to protect members of the public, who are injured or are affected by an accident or occurrence.

Property Management

The managing of a rental property by either a landlord (owner) or an agent (either amateur) or professional accredited agency. Please note at all times the name on the tenancy agreement is the person responsible for all aspects of a let, regardless of who manages the property. To safeguard themselves all property owners should use a professional accredited property Management Company or they could fall foul of the law and end up with excessive fines and possible custodial sentences for non-compliance. At the last count there are in excess of fifty acts of parliament and a further seventy plus regulations that have to be adhered to and most carry large fines for non-compliance.

Re-mortgage

Refinancing a property by either switching a mortgage from one lender to another or by taking out a second mortgage to take advantage of any equity gained by a rise in value.

Redemption

When a mortgage is fully repaid.

Reference

Allows a landlord to check (vet) the suitability of an applicant for a tenancy to be able to pay the rent and also the applicant’s track record in previous rented accommodation. This often involves Bank or a financial credit referencing agencies, previous landlord and employment checks. If the applicant is self-employed normally a reference from their accountant is required.

The Relevant Person

The person who provides the money for the deposit (not necessarily the guarantor. This person must be named on the prescribed information and receive a copy of the prescribed information within the set timescale. Failure to do so results in a mandatory fine of minimum one times the deposit plus the deposit to maximum three times the deposit plus the deposit. All fines go to tenant.

Rent

The agreed monthly amount to rent the property, usually paid by standing order, in advance, on a monthly basis.

Repayment mortgage

A mortgage in which monthly charges are used to repay the interest and reduce the outstanding capital.

Repossession

When the mortgage lender takes possession of a property due to non-payment of the mortgage.

Resident Landlord

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

Retention

The ability of a lender to hold back (retain) part of a mortgage until certain conditions are met.

Ring fenced

Refers to money held in such a way that it can only be used for a specific purpose. i.e. The monies collected and held as a tenancy deposit, can only be used as stated in the tenancy agreement and not used for any other purpose i.e. rent.

SMS

Short Message Service. Commonly known as text messages.

Search

A request or enquiry for information concerning the property held by a local authority or by the Land Registry

Semi-detached

A property which is joined to one other house.

Share of freehold

Where the freehold on which the property stands is owned by a limited company and the shareholders of that limited company are the owners of the property.

Sign up

The payment of a holding deposit, completion of a standing order form and signing of a contract to secure a tenancy and remove the property from the market.

Sole agent

When a seller chooses and is contracted to only one estate agent to sell their property exclusively.

Sole occupancy

A property that is occupied (lived in) only by the mortgage applicant(s) and their direct family.

Solicitor

A legal expert handling all documentation for the sale or purchase of a property.

Stamp Duty

A government tax paid by the buyer of a property, which ranges between 0% and 12% depending on the value of the property. N.B. At the time this glossary was compiled (February 2016), there is a government consultation to add an additional 3% SDL for purchasers of second homes or additional properties which has not yet been enacted. This is due to come into force in April 2016 but as yet has not been confirmed.

 

Standard variable rate

Mortgage lender’s standard rate of interest, which may be increased or decreased periodically by the lender depending on prevailing economic conditions.

Standing Order Mandate

A form authorising a bank to pay a regular amount from a customer’s account to a recipient. In a tenancy situation, it authorises the tenant’s bank to pay the monthly rent to the landlord or lettings agency for the duration of the tenancy.

Statutory Obligations

Requirements and obligations placed on landlords and / or their agents by acts of parliament i.e. The law of the land.

Structural survey

This is based on a detailed inspection of the property and reports on the general structural condition.

Studio flat

A flat consisting of one main room or open-plan living area incorporating cooking and sleeping facilities and a separate bathroom/shower room. This style of accommodation is completely self-contained.

Subject to contract

Legal terminology that indicates an agreement is not yet legally binding and depends upon the terms yet to be agreed within the contract.

Sublet

The action of a tenant letting accommodation to be occupied by another person for a lessor term. NB. This action is normally excluded from most tenancy agreements.

Superior Landlord

A person or legal body to whom the property might revert to at a later stage. i.e. An apartment / Flat with a 99 year lease.

Superior lease or Head lease

A lease that the landlord holds, where the owner has a leasehold interest but another individual owns the freehold. There is then a lease with the freeholder under which the landlord id responsible for obligations / covenants. When a property is let out, the tenant who is renting, also has to comply with any and all of these obligations. i.e. Not to hang out washing on a balcony or not to keep animals / pets on the premises etc.

Surveyor

A professional person qualified to estimate the value and condition of land and property.

Tax Exemption

An exemption number issued by the Inland Revenue Office to your agency, approving the passing of rents to the landlord without tax deduction. This is normally (but not exclusively), to landlords who are based or live in other countries.

Tenant

A person, persons, company or organisation, who is entitled to pccupy a property under the terms and conditions of a tenancy agreement.

Tenancy Agreement (Assured Shorthold Tenancy)

This is the contract between a tenant and their landlord. It sets out the legal terms and conditions of the tenancy. The most common form of tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, also known as an AST or Shorthold Tenancy.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

All landlords and letting agents are required to use a Government-authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme so that deposits cannot be wrongfully used by landlords or letting agents. There are three schemes: Deposit Protection Service (DPS); My Deposits; and Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). Acorn use the DPS for their managed properties. For let-only properties, it may vary. At the end of the tenancy, the deposit is returned, subject to an inspection by the agent or landlord dependent who is managing the property.

Tenants in common

A form of ownership by two or more people in which if one of them dies, their share of the property forms part of their estate and does not automatically pass to the other(s).

Tenure

Conditions on which a property is held (i.e. length of lease).

The Term of Tenancy

This refers to the length of a tenancy. Most tenancy agreements are six or twelve months although they can be shorter or longer.

Termination

This refers to the ending of a tenancy.

Terraced house

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

The Property Ombudsman (TPO)

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) is a free, fair and independent arbitration service which provides sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants with an assurance that they will receive the highest level of customer service. Acorn are enrolled into this service.

Title Deeds

Documents showing the legal ownership of a property.

Title insurance

An insurance policy which a buyer can take out to allow a sale to complete where there is a potential problem with the documentation in proving legal ownership of some part of the land they are buying.

Title search

An investigation carried out by a conveyancer or solicitor into the history of ownership of a property. The search will check for liens, unpaid claims, restrictions or any other problems that may affect ownership.

Tracker mortgage

A type of mortgage whereby any changes in the rate of interest charged follow exactly (‘track’) another, specified, interest rate or index. Typically a tracker mortgage will track the Bank of England base rate.

Transfer Deeds

The Land Registry document that transfers legal ownership from seller to buyer

Under offer

The status of a property for sale when a seller has accepted an offer from a buyer, prior to exchange of contracts.

Utilities

These are Gas, Water, Electricity and Council Tax and are normally paid for by the tenant.

Valuation

A basic survey of a property to estimate its value for mortgage purposes. Mortgage lenders will insist on this before lending.

Value

The price of a property under normal conditions, i.e. when the buyer is not forced to buy and the seller not forced to sell.

Variable base rate

The basic rate of interest charged on a mortgage. This may change in reaction to market conditions so monthly payments can go up or down.

Vendor

The person selling a property.

Viewing

Part of the process of finding your new home, whether buying or renting. The agency, landlord or vendor, shows prospective purchasers or tenants around a property or selection of properties with a view to either buy or rent.

Void (Selling)

An empty area or space. (I.e. Roof void)

Void (Letting)

A period where the property has no tenants (is unoccupied) and therefore is not achieving any rental income.

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Yield

Often referred to as Gross Yield i.e. the calculation of the price of the property versus the annual rent will give you the gross yield normally expressed as a percentage (i.e. this figure is before any deductions such as service charge, maintenance, management charges etc.) So it is the annual income from a property calculated as a percentage of its value.

Jesmond Office

59 St George's Terrace, Newcastle, NE2 2SX

0191 212 2020

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Durham Office

6 Old Elvet, Durham, DH1 3HL

0191 212 6970

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