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Lettings Verbiage And Vocabulary Explained

Published: 03/11/2021

What is an Assured Shorthand Tenancy? Our blog will help you get to grips with some of the common jargon thrown around when renting a property.

ACCELERATED POSSESSION PROCEDURE
This is a fast and effective way of claiming possession of a rental property. It is created through an Assured Shorthold Tenancy when a Section 21 notice has already been served but has expired. With this procedure, the landlord isn't claiming any rent arrears, and the tenant must be the original tenant of the rental property.

APPOINTED REPRESENTATIVE 
This refers to a letting agency regulated and monitored by a selected principal firm and where insurance exists.

AREARS
In simple terms: outstanding rent. These arrears may be the total amount for a rental period or in part.
AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy). This is the most commonly used tenancy agreement.

BANKER'S DRAFT
This is a secure form of payment that can't bounce if there is a lack of funds in a bank account. When the bank receives cash, they produce a cheque for the same amount to give to the payee. Banks usually require 24 hours to provide a banker's draft, and a fee is payable. A landlord often requires a new tenant to pay the deposit, and the whole month's rent, with a banker's draft.

BREAK CLAUSE
A break clause is a clause often included in a fixed-term tenancy agreement. This clause is often included if the initial fixed term is for a year or more.

CLAWBACK
If a tenant submits a fraudulent claim, clawback provides a way to retrieve overpayments of housing benefits. If the overpayment has occurred due to an administrative error by the local body, the overpayment cannot be carried out.

CLIENT MONEY PROTECTION INSURANCE (CMP)
This is a type of insurance for letting agents which protects the rental money that a tenant pays to the letting agent, which is then passed onto the landlord. The purpose of CMP is to safeguard the funds if an agent attempts to use the money fraudulently.

CONSIDERATION
Consideration is the legal term for the rental payment, and it doesn't have to refer to money; it can apply to goods or property.

CONTRACT
A contract can be spoken, written, or a combination of both, and it refers to an agreement that courts would enforce. Concerning the letting industry, contracts are often known as leases or licences.

COUNCIL TAX
This is a local authority tax and is usually the responsibility of the tenant to pay.

COVENANTS
These are terms that a tenant agrees to as part of the tenancy agreement. They may state what a tenant can't do while occupying the property and set out the landlord or tenant's promises during the tenancy.

CREDIT SEARCH REFERENCES
Before a tenancy agreement is signed, a tenant will be referenced by the agent or the landlord. Specialist referencing companies are often used to contact the tenant's employer (or an accountant if self-employed), the current landlord, and check the tenant's credit history to see if they can pay the rent.

DEPOSIT
New tenants are required to pay a tenancy deposit to cover damage or unpaid rent. This deposit is usually the equivalent of six weeks' rent; however, the landlord can set the deposit at any amount.

DILAPIDATIONS
Dilapidations refer to damage or disrepair, and it is commonly used when discussing the condition of the property after the lease. While an allowance must be made for everyday wear and tear in a rental property, there will often be a debate about what constitutes wear and tear.

EXCLUSIVE POSSESSION
Exclusive possession refers to the tenant's right to live in the whole or part of the property, allowing them to be recognised as a lawful tenant. The length of time, rent, and exclusive possession are the three main aspects of a tenancy.

ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATE (EPC)
All rental properties require EPCs to provide a rating of a property's energy efficiency, running costs, and environmental impact rating (carbon emissions) based on the property's condition on a given date. They are similar to the energy graphs when a new appliance is bought.

FIXED-TERM LEASE
A fixed-term lease is a set and fixed length of time for the contract, say 12 months. Fixed-term leases can't be concluded early, and when the fixed-term lease period ends, the tenancy becomes a periodic lease.

FIXTURES & FITTINGS
These are the contents of a rental property that may include window dressings, light fittings, carpets, kitchen units, and white goods, and if it is a furnished property, it may also include furniture.

GAS SAFETY REGULATIONS
The landlord's legal responsibility is to ensure that a gas safety check is carried out before letting a property and then every year after. An authorised CORGI registered engineer must carry out the inspection, and a copy of the record is given to the tenant.

GROUNDS FOR POSSESSION
This is the reason for applying to the Courts for repossession of a property.

GUARANTOR
This is a person who agrees to sign a tenancy agreement guaranteeing that they will undertake the full obligations, under the tenancy agreement, on the tenant's behalf if the tenant cannot pay the rent for some reason.

HOLDING DEPOSIT
This is an amount of money paid to a landlord or letting agent to reserve a rental property before signing a tenancy agreement. A holding deposit is usually non-refundable if the tenant were to withdraw their application for the tenancy. If the tenancy does proceed, the holding deposit is deducted from the rent.

HOUSE IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION (HMO)
If at least three tenants live in a rental property, forming more than one household, and share a toilet, bathroom, or kitchen facilities. This legislation applies to a building, or part of a building, occupied by people who do not live as a single household.

INVENTORY
This lists the contents of a property, including the state and condition of a property and the garden. It logs whether the property is clean or dirty and the state and repair of the fixtures and fittings, i.e., power points, furniture, windows, etc. When a tenancy commences, there should be a "check-in" inventory and, at the end of the tenancy, a "check-out" inventory. Agents and landlords may use a third-party inventory clerk to carry out the inventory.

LIABILITY
When more than one adult lives in the property, the tenancy agreement will state that they are 'jointly and severally responsible. This means tenants are liable for the payment of the rent by all the other tenants.  

MANAGING AGENT
Under an agency agreement, an agent is responsible for the maintenance and management of the rental property. Not all properties, however, are professionally managed.

NOTICE PERIOD
This is the notice period that a tenant or landlord must give to end the tenancy agreement.

PERIODIC TENANCY
This tenancy continues for successive periods until the tenant gives the landlord notice that they want to end the tenancy. When an AST ends, it becomes a periodic tenancy unless the tenant signs a renewal agreement.

PCM
This is a short form referring to the rental amount paid per calendar month.

PRESCRIBED INFORMATION
Landlords are legally required to make certain information regarding the tenancy deposit protection scheme protecting the deposit and specified tenancy-related information available to the tenants.

RENEWAL
When the fixed term ends, tenants and landlords can renew the tenancy for another fixed term giving the tenants a bit more security. Landlords may ask the tenant to sign a renewal if they want to change the tenancy agreement terms, including raising the rent.

SECTION 8 NOTICE
A Section 8 Notice is a legal notice where the landlord aims to conclude the tenancy early due to the agreement's stipulations not being upheld.

SECTION 21 NOTICE
A Section 21 notice is a legal notice where a landlord aims to initiate eviction or repossess the rental property.

STANDING ORDER
This is an instruction for an account holder to their bank to make regular fixed payments to a particular person or company. This method is often used to pay rent, usually every month, and can be set up to end by a specific date or continue until the tenant cancels. A standing order is different from a Direct Debit, a payment method used when payments change from month to month.  

STATUTORY OBLIGATION
These are the requirements and obligations of the landlord or lettings agent acting on their behalf, as set out by Acts of Parliament.

SUBLET
When a tenant lets all, or part of the property, to someone else, this is known as subletting. A tenancy agreement may say that subletting is not allowed or may state that permission from the landlord must be sought before subletting. If a property is a sublet without permission, the landlord may take legal action against the tenant.

TENANCY AGREEMENT
A tenancy agreement is usually agreed upon and signed before a property is let. The contract between a landlord and a tenant(s) sets out the terms and conditions of their rental agreement.

If you need help in understanding terms, please contact us, and we will be delighted to help you. Call 020 3 137 7877 or email info@circalondon.com

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