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Landlords, Letting Jargon


A brief explanation of some commonly used terms

Ancillary Use

A subsidiary use connected to the main use of a building or piece of land.

Apartment Building

A suite of adjoining rooms used for a particular purpose. A place to live within a block of flats. Most Estate Agents offer a choice of apartments for sale.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy

A form of assured tenancy which gives landlords an absolute right to repossession after a fixed term under the ‘shorthold’ ground. New residential tenancies now automatically become ASTs unless otherwise stated. Letting and management agents usually only offer this type of letting agreement to prospective tenants seeking property to rent.


Land which is behind existing development with no, or very limited, road frontage.

Balance Outstanding

The amount of loan owed at a particular time usually on a Mortgage.

Barge Board

Wide board (on older work often carved) fitted below tiles of overhanging verge to gable.


This is required by many letting agencies before a tenant can move into a property. It is a fixed sum which is held by the letting company until the tenant vacates the property. It is returned to the tenant subject to the property being in acceptable condition under the terms of the Tenancy Agreement. If there are any repairs required or items to replace this will be deducted from the bond amount. These are also known as Dilapidations.

Building Preservation Order

A notice under Section 3 of the Planning ( Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 to protect buildings of special architectural or historic interest from demolition or alterations that would affect their interest.

Cavity Wall

An external wall of a property that is made up of two leaves of masonry, bricks or blocks separated by a cavity.

Change Of Use

More correctly referred to as a ‘material change of use’. A change in the use of land or buildings that is of significance for planning purposes, often requiring planning permission.

Chief Rent

An annual charge on freehold property found in certain parts of Britain. The chief rent is payable by the freeholder in perpetuity although the amount cannot be increased.


This is the legal and binding agreement containing all the essential details of the sale. The contract commits both buyer and vendor to the transaction and sale of the property.

Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ)

An area in which all kerbside space is controlled by either waiting or loading restrictions or by designated parking spaces.


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


The carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or land.

Development Area

A priority area for environmental, social or economic regeneration or a combination of these.


These are the damages that must be repaired on a rented property.

Green Belt

Specially designated area of countryside protected from most forms of development in order to stop urban sprawl and the coalescence of settlements, preserve the character of existing settlements and encourage development to locate within existing built-up areas.

Ground Rent

Rent paid to the owner of freehold land by a person who has a Lease.


Someone who guarantees an obligation of another.


This is the list that describes the fixtures, fittings and other items in a rental property. It is given to the tenant at the beginning of the rental period so that any Dilapidations can be highlighted at the end of the tenancy.


A document which grants possession of a property for a fixed period of time and sets out the obligations of both parties, landlord and tenant, such as payment of rent, repairs and insurance. This may also be outlined in the tenancy agreement.


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.

Listed Building

Building or other structure of special architectural or historic interest.

Listed Building Consent

Permission required for the alteration or demolition of a listed building.

Maintenance Charge

A charge (usually levied in flats) 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.


Independent professional bodies that investigate complaints on behalf of customers against estate agents, solicitors and insurance companies.

Public Open Space (POS)

Land provided in urban or rural areas for public recreation, though not necessarily publicly owned.

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, which will be designated either as a footpath, a bridleway, a road used as a public path (RUPP) or a byway.

Ribbon Development

A narrow band of development extending along one or both sides of a road.

Rural Development Area

Priority area for economic and social development.

Sole Agent

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

Special Needs Housing

Housing to meet need arising from homelessness or overcrowding, and purpose-built or supported housing for the elderly or disabled people or those requiring care.


This is the temporary possession of a property by an individual or individuals, it is governed by the tenancy agreement or lease.

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.

Tenants In Common

This is when more than one person buys a property. You become tenants in common and it ensures that if one of you dies their share of the property forms part of their estate and does not automatically pass onto the other party.


A collective term relating to the nature of the vendor’s title to a property i.e. freehold, leasehold or crownhold.

Tree Preservation Order (TPO)

Direction made by a local planning authority that makes it an offence to cut, top, lop, uproot or wilfully damage or destroy a tree without that authority’s permission.

Urban Fringe

Predominantly open land on the edge of an existing urban area.

Urban Regeneration

The re-use or redevelopment of decaying or run-down parts of older urban areas to bring them new life and economic vitality.


Property built between approximately 1837-1901.

Village Envelope

Boundaries defined on a map beyond which the local planning authority proposes that a village should not be allowed to extend.


The income from a rental property calculated as a percentage of its value.

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