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Jargon Buster


An individual or company who lets or manages property on behalf of its owner. Association of Residential Letting Agents ARLA The Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) was formed in 1981 as the professional and regulatory body for letting agents in the UK.


Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) is the usual form of letting for an individual tenant renting from a private landlord;


  1. the annual rent does not exceed £25,000
  2. the tenancy began on or after 15 January 1989
  3. the house or flat is let as separate accommodation and is the tenant's main home in England & Wales

Client account

Means an account set up in a bank, building society or other financial institution specifically to hold money held on behalf of clients.

Client Money Protection / Bonded scheme

The agent has arranged and maintains, usually through a professional body, Client Money Protection Insurance. This insurance will reimburse the public in the event of fraudulent or dishonest misappropriation of clients' money; and that the extent of cover meets the minimum criteria set from time to time by the Board of The Dispute Service.

Break clauses

A break clause gives the Landlord or tenant an option to give notice (usually 2 months) during the fixed term of the tenancy. Although notice under a break clause can be given at anytime during the fixed term the tenant's statutory right to remain at the property for a minimum of 6 months means that they are normally put in to give both the Landlord and tenant some flexibility after the initial 6 months'.

Buy to let mortgage

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


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


Rules and regulations governing the property, contained in its title deeds or lease.


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


Any sum collected from the tenant at the start of the tenancy, as prescribed in the tenancy agreement and held by the agent on behalf of the tenant. A deposit is security against performance of obligations under the tenancy agreement, any damage to the property and/or non-payment of rent during the tenancy period.


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


The carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations.


Any disrepair or damage to a rented property.

Draft contract

Preliminary, unconfirmed version of the contract.

Economy 7

Offers you seven hours of low cost electricity at night. All the electrical appliances you use during the seven hour off-peak period will cost less than half the cost to run compared to using them on the standard daytime rate. During the day, all the electricity you use will cost slightly more than the standard rate.

Fixtures and fittings

Include references to any of the fixtures, fittings, furnishings, or effects, floor, ceiling or wall coverings.


Technical word for the ownership of the property, meaning that it belongs to the owner without limitation of time.

Ground rent

The annual charge from the freeholder to the leaseholder.


Someone who guarantees an obligation of another.

Head lease

This sets out the promises the landlord has made to his superior landlord. The promises contained in this head lease will bind the tenant if he has prior knowledge of those promises.

Holding Deposit

A holding deposit is paid by a prospective tenant so that a property can be removed from the market while references are taken up. A holding deposit is generally non-refundable if you change your mind about taking a property or if your references fall short. It will be refunded if the Landlord changes their mind about letting the property.


HMO stands for House in Multiple Occupation. The definition is now split into a number of areas. See – “Westminster Housing”


Independent Case Examiner of The Dispute Service Ltd.

Inventory also know as Schedule of condition

An inventory is a record of the contents and condition of the fixtures & fittings in the property at a certain date. Your Landlord should provide you with an inventory at the commencement of your tenancy. Ideally it will contain a set of photographs. It is important that you take the time to go through the inventory in detail and point out any inaccuracies. The sooner that you do this the better. Many inventories will contain a clause stating that if you do not request amendments within a fixed time period you are deemed to have accepted the contents of the document.

Investors in People

This is a national award for organisation who wishes to improve their business by investing in developing their workforce. Candidates for the award are assessed against a number of indicators of good practice which cover things like planning, communication and training.


An individual or company who lets property.


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. Once a lease has expired ownership may revert to the freeholder or superior leaseholder.


To be given ownership of a property but not the land it is built on. This normally requires payment of ground rent to the landlord.


Person responsible for granting a lease – normally the landlord.


An agreement to let a property.

Listed building

Building or other structure of special architectural or historic interest.


A property arranged over more than one floor ie a portion of a house such as the upstairs levels.

Maintenance/service charge

A charge to cover the cost of repairing and maintaining the external or internal parts of communal part of a building.


Intermediate floor usually in a multi-story building, which does not extend to the full floor area of the whole building.


The lender of a mortgage such as a bank or building society.


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.

Notice period

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

Pimlico District Heating Undertaking (PDHU)

Supplies combined heat and power which is generated by gas boilers and diesel engines to buildings in Pimlico

Public right of way

A way where the public has a right to walk and in some cases ride horses, bicycles, motorcycles or drive motor vehicles. A right of way is usually designated as a footpath, bridleway, a road used as a public path or a byway.


Any part or parts of the building boundaries, fences, garden and outbuildings belonging to the landlord unless they have been specifically excluded from the tenancy. When the tenancy is part of a larger building the premises include the use of common access ways and facilities.

Periodic Tenancies

If no notice is served and the tenant remains at the property beyond the end of the fixed term the tenancy becomes “periodic”. Periodic means that there is no fixed term but rather continuous periods, those periods being defined by the time between rental payments.
The Landlord is still required to serve two months' notice during a periodic tenancy but the expiry of the notice must coincide with the end of a period.

Prescribed information

Information which the Housing Act 2004 Sections 213 (5) – (6) and The Housing (Tenancy Deposits) (Prescribed Information) Order 2007 require to be provided to the tenant within 14 days of the deposit having been received.

Private rented sector

The industry concerned with the letting of residential property owned by landlords.

Professional body

An organisation which acts in some form to regulate or supervise the activities of its members.

Registered Social Landlord (RSL)

Independent housing organisations such as Housing Associations that are registered with the Housing Corporation.

Right to Buy

Law which allows secure tenants to apply to buy their home at a discounted price, as long as they meet certain criteria. This does not apply to all properties such as specially adapted properties and sheltered accommodation.

Ring fenced

This is where money is held in such a way that it can only be used for a specified purpose. So in the case of a tenancy deposit you can only use it for the purposes set out in the tenancy agreement.

Secure tenant

A secure tenant cannot be evicted without a court order. Secure tenants also have certain rights such as the right to repair, the right to buy, the right to claim compensation for improvements.


A property which is joined to one other house.

Service Level Agreement

An agreement between 2 parties, one providing a service and one receiving it. It lists what the service is, how much it will cost, when and how it will be delivered and any monitoring.


A third party who holds the deposit on behalf of both parties and who cannot release it without the consent of both parties

Sole agent

When a single agent is instructed to undertake a sale or let

Studio flat

A flat consisting of one main room or open-plan living area often incorporating cooking and sleeping facilities and a separate bathroom/shower room.

Subject to contract / Without Prejudice

Words to indicate that an agreement is not yet legally binding.

Superior landlord, head lessor or freeholder

A person who owns the interest in the premises which gives him the right to possession of the premises at the end of the landlord's lease of the premises.

TDS or the Scheme or the statutory scheme

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme run by the company for the protection of tenancy deposits and the resolution of disputes between landlords, agents and tenants concerning the return of deposits at the end of tenancies. This has been set up in accordance with the Housing Act 2004.

The Dispute Service, TDS Ltd

The Dispute Service Limited, a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with registered number; 4851694.


An individual or company who holds or possesses property for a time in return for the payment of rent.

Tenancy agreement

A legal document outlining the terms and conditions of the tenancy and is used to protect the rights of both the tenant and the landlord.

Tenant Management Organisation (TMO)

A tenant-led organisation that manages the council stock on behalf of the council.

Terrace property

One of a row of houses separated only by shared dividing walls.

Victorian period property

Property built between approximately 1837 -1901.


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

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