HP Jargon Buster

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Jargon Buster for Residential Lettings

When purchasing or selling a home, many of the terms used by estate agents, mortgage advisors and solicitors can be a little unfamiliar when you first hear them. Here we have identified which ‘Jargon’ you may come across and have provided a useful explanation of its meaning.

Assured shorthold tenancy is the most common type of agreement used by landlords to let residential properties to private tenants.

Money unpaid by the tenant in whole or in part after the due date specified in the tenancy agreement.

A clause in a tenancy agreement allowing either or both parties to follow a set procedure to break the agreement.

A scheme for investment Landlords to finance and purchase a property to be let. 

Where a residential property is self-contained and shared as a whole house by two or more tenants. The tenants are usually jointly and severally liable under the tenancy.

A binding obligation imposed on a party to a contract and which, if not complied with, breaches the contract.

A fixed period of time stated in a contract or agreement as being the time for which the contract will last.

A sum of money agreed between the parties and paid to the Landlord or his agent by the tenant as security for the satisfactory completion of the tenancy, its terms and as a guarantee of performance.

Damage or excess ‘wear and tear’ to a property or contents.

A process in the performance of your duties to the generally accepted professional standard.

An obligation you owe to others, in particular Landlords and tenants, to provide the correct advice regarding lettings and to ensure the well-being and safety of all those who visit the property.

The procedure to complete a legally valid tenancy by dating the Original (signed by the landlord) and the Counterpart (signed by the tenant) and then exchanging them. The date is legally considered to be the date on which the agreement was made.

Contracts to let residential property are for a fixed term. At the expiration of that term an extension is negotiated (renewal) for a further fixed term, month-by-month or quarterly basis.

Freeholder (or superior landlord). With leasehold property, there will be a superior Landlord and/or a freeholder who owns the land on which the building stands AND who has ultimate responsibility for the building itself.

The trade organisation for registered gas fitters.

The reasons for applying to the courts for repossession of a property and the basis of a case. These could be mandatory or discrectionary

A third party who undertakes to be responsible in whole or part for the obligations of a tenant who subsequently breaches a Tenancy Agreement, by means of deed or enjoining on the Tenancy Agreement.

When tenants are allowed occupation of a property.

Currently applied only to tenancies which fall within the scope of the Housing Act 1988 & Housing Act 1996.

This describes the first term period of the tenancy.

An inventory is a list made prior to the letting, detailing all fixtures, fittings and free standing items. This should incorporate a Schedule of Condition.

This describes the state of fixtures and fittings and free standing articles and that of the property itself.

A legal expression where two or more persons are held responsible under one tenancy. Each can be held responsible for the whole of the tenancy as well as his share.

Commonly called the ‘Gas Certificate’, issued by Gas Safe registered contactor.

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

A legal estate for a term of years. The lease sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

Owners of property which is ‘Leasehold’ may find that their lease requires them to apply for consent to sublet from their head Landlord.

The tenant.

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

A property occupied by more than one tenant and not used as a single home, e.g. individual and private rooms which may be locked but where tenants share facilities. Also, any residential property which is occupied by separate tenants under individual agreements.

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.

Non- Residence Landlord Scheme form which is sent to the Inland Revenue.

Formal written statements to a party to a tenancy specifying certain statements and proposals. Formal documents issued at certain points during a tenancy.

Contained within the tenancy agreement giving the tenant right to occupancy of the property.

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

Either Contractual Periodic – a tenancy which is contracted by agreement to run from month to month or Statutory Periodic – when a fixed term comes to an end and the tenant remains, by agreement, in the property under the same terms and conditions as the original agreement and runs from month to month or quarter to quarter, depending upon the basis on which the rent is paid.

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

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

Mainly Local Authority, Housing Association or Trust property.

A third party or agent whose responsibility is to hold the deposit and distribute at the end of the agreement by mutual consent.

Requirements and obligations placed on Landlords and/or their agents by Acts of Parliament – i.e. Law of the Land.

A Legal term placed as a heading on pre-contract letters to make it clear in law that the contents of that document do not constitute a contract.

The action of a tenant in letting the accommodation to be occupied by another person for a lesser term.

An exemption number issued by the Inland Revenue Office (FICO) to your agency approving the passing of rents to the customer without a tax deduction.

The period shown in the Tenancy Agreement as the length of the letting.

The ending of a tenancy.

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