Letting Agency Jargon Buster

Our A-Z guide will help you to make sense of all the jargon before you leap into the world of property.

If you’re looking to rent or let a property for the first time, you’ll probably come across some new words or phrases. Even long-time landlords and tenants will need to get their heads around new terms as legislation changes.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)
The most common form of tenancy agreement between a landlord and tenant. This sets out the legal obligations of both sides and gives the tenant the right to live in the property for a certain period of time.

When you fall behind with your rent payments to your private landlord or letting agent.

Break clause
A provision in an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) which enables either the tenant or landlord (or both) to end the lease early.

An investment property that is purchased to be let out to tenants.

This is the point when the sale of a property is finalised, all monies are handed over and you can move in.

The money you’ll need to pay upfront when buying or renting a home. If you’re purchasing a property, the remainder is due upon completion. If you’re renting a property, a deposit will usually be payable as security against any damage or unpaid rent. This amount can’t exceed the equivalent of five weeks’ rent. Legally, this money needs to be protected in one of three government-authorised schemes. Read more about TDP here.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
This document shows the energy efficiency of a property rated from A-G (best to worst) and gives an indication of running costs.

Gas Safety Certificate
A certificate that confirms all gas appliances within a property are safe. Landlords must make sure a certificate is produced every year by a gas safe registered engineer.

Ground rent
A fee which is paid by the leaseholder to the freeholder on an annual basis.

A person that assures rent payments will be made if the tenant in situ cannot.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
If a home has at least three tenants which form more than one household and the facilities are shared, it’s classed as an HMO. Landlords who let these properties have extra responsibilities.

A person who has a lease from the freeholder to own the property for a fixed period of time.

Market appraisal
An estate agent will visit your property in order to estimate its current market value before it goes on the market (for sale or to let).

If you’re looking at renting a property, a letting agent or landlord will conduct a series of background checks. This may include a reference from an employer or previous landlord.

Service charges
Otherwise known as a maintenance charge. These are fees owed by the tenant or leaseholders to a landlord for the upkeep of communal areas, such as hallways or gardens.

A qualified expert (usually by RICS) will assess a property and complete a report outlining its condition.

A survey conducted by a qualified surveyor to estimate the current market value of a property.

The income generated from a rental property as a percentage of the property value.

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