Lettings Jargon Buster

Below you can find a number of terms that we feel can assist you when it comes to renting property:


Assured Shorthold Tenancy


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

Break Clause:

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

Buy to let:

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

Common Household:

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.

Contractual Obligation:

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

Contractual Term:

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


Your customer is the Landlord. They sign the contract with your 'company' and you act for them.


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.

Due Diligence:

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

Duty of Care:

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.

Execute (a tenancy):

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.


Financial Intermediaries and Claims Office - an Inland Revenue department administering tax for your overseas Landlords.


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.

Gas Safety Registered:

The trade organisation for registered gas fitters.

Grounds For Possession:

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


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.

Head Landlord:

A person or organisation that owns the freehold of a property which has been let out (and may be sub-let).

Housing Act Tenancy:

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

Initial Term:

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 articles. This should incorporate a Schedule of Condition.

Schedule of Condition:

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

Jointly and Severally:

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.

Landlord’s Gas Safety:

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

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.


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

Leasehold Consent:

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.


The Landlord.

Managing Agent:

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

Multiple Occupation:

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.

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 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.

Occupancy Rights:

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

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 (relevant to Ground 1).


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.

Periodic Tenancy:

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.

Power of Attorney:

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

Public Liability Insurance:

An insurance policy designed to protect members of the public injured or affected by an accident or occurrence.

Resident Landlord:

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

Social Housing:

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.

Stamping Tenancy:

Required under the Stamps Act 1891. On payment of duty, the amount of money detailed in the Act, due to the Inland Revenue.

Statutory Obligations:

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

Subject to Contract:

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.

Tax Exemption:

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.

Term of Contract:

An expression referring to stipulated rights or responsibilities expressed in a contract.


The ending of a tenancy.

To Clear Monies:

To pass through the banking system. To ensure money, other than cash or bankers’ drafts, is secure in your account and available for use

Lettings Jargon Buster

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