Guide to the Jargon in the UK Property Market - Sales and Rentals

Property Insights
June 26, 2023

Navigating the UK property market for sales or rentals can feel like learning a new language. To help you on this journey, we've created a glossary of terms.

Glossary of Key Terminologies in the UK Property Market

Absent Landlord: A landlord who is difficult or impossible to contact.

Acceptance: Agreement by the seller to sell to a specific buyer under certain terms.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): A yearly rate charged for borrowing or earned through an investment.

Arrangement Fees: Fees charged by a lender to organise a loan.

Assign: Transfer of a lease or other legal rights from one person to another.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST): Most common type of tenancy in the UK, granting the tenant a period of 'security of tenure'.

Base Rate: The Bank of England's officially recognised interest rate.

Break Clause: A provision in a contract allowing either party to end the agreement early.

Bridging Loan: Short-term financing used until a person secures permanent financing.

Building Inspection/Structural Survey: In-depth property inspection for potential structural issues.

Capital: Wealth in the form of money or property.

Chain: Sequence of linked house purchases, each dependent on the preceding and succeeding purchase.

Closing Date (Scotland only): The final date for submission of offers on a property.

Completion Statement: Final breakdown of the financials of a property transaction.

Completion: The point at which property ownership transfers to the buyer.

Conditions of Sale: The specific terms by which the buyer agrees to purchase the property.

Contract Race: When two or more potential buyers are given draft contracts, and the first one to return them gets to buy the property.

Contract: The legally-binding agreement detailing the terms of a property sale.

Conveyancer: A legal professional specialising in property transactions.

Conveyancing: The legal process of transferring property ownership.

Covenants: Rules governing the use of a property, outlined in the title deeds or lease.

Credit Search References: Credit checks are carried out by landlords or agents to assess if a tenant can afford the rent.

Date of Entry (Scotland only): The date a buyer can move into a property.

Deeds: Legal documents proving ownership of a property.

Deposit: Money paid upfront as security and to confirm a transaction.

Dilapidations: Any damage to a rented property that goes beyond reasonable wear and tear.

Disbursements: Additional costs in the conveyancing process, such as Land Registry fees.

Disposition (Scotland only): The legal document transferring ownership of a property.

Draft Contract: Preliminary version of the sale contract before it's agreed and signed.

EPC: Energy Performance Certificate, rating a property's energy efficiency.

Easement: The right to use another person's land for a specific purpose.

Enquiries: Questions asked by the buyer's solicitor to the seller's solicitor.

Equity: The amount of property the homeowner truly owns outright.

Exchange of Contracts: The point at which the property sale becomes legally binding.

Fixed Price (Scotland only): The price at which a property is available to be purchased, not subject to negotiation.

Fixtures and Fittings: Items included in the sale of the property, such as curtains, carpets, etc.

Freehold: The outright ownership of a property and the land it stands on.

Gas Safety Record: A certificate that states gas appliances and fittings meet legal safety standards.

Gazumping: When a seller accepts a higher offer from a different buyer after accepting a preliminary offer.

Gazundering: When a buyer lowers their offer for a property shortly before the exchange of contracts.

Ground Rent: Annual charge leaseholders pay to freeholders.

Home Report (Scotland only): A pack of documents about a property for sale in Scotland.

HomeBuyer Survey/Report: A survey giving information about the property's condition and value.

Inventory: A list of the contents of a rental property, usually including the condition of each item.

Land Registry Fee: A fee paid to the Land Registry to register ownership of a property.

Land Registry: The government office that records who owns land and property in England and Wales.

Lease: Legal contract granting the use of a property for a specified period in exchange for rent.

Leasehold: The right to use and live in a property for an extended period, but not own the land it stands on.

Listed Building: A building of special architectural or historic interest.

Local Authority Search: A search to discover planning consents affecting a property.

Maintenance Charge or Service Charge: Costs for repairing and maintaining common parts of a building.

Maisonette: An apartment on two levels with its own entrance.

Missives (Scotland only): Formal letters exchanged between buyer's and seller's solicitors agreeing on the terms of a property sale.

Mortgage Valuation: Assessment of a property's value for the purpose of providing a mortgage.

Multiple Agent Instructions: When several estate agents are instructed to sell a property.

NAEA Propertymark: The National Association of Estate Agents, a professional body for estate agents in the UK.

Negative Equity: When the outstanding mortgage is higher than the property's market value.

Note of Interest (Scotland only): A note submitted by a potential buyer indicating their interest in a property.

Open House (or Open Viewing): A set time when potential buyers can view a property for sale.

Open Market Value: The likely selling price of a property if sold on the open market.

Peppercorn Rent: A nominal rent, often just a token sum.

Preliminary Enquiries: The initial questions asked about a property being sold.

Property Auctions: A public sale where properties are sold to the highest bidder.

Purchaser: The person buying the property.

Repossession: When the lender takes back a property due to the borrower's failure to meet mortgage payments.

Searches: Checks to identify anything that might negatively affect the property's value.

Share of Freehold: When the freehold of the property is owned by a number of people, usually flat owners.

Sole Agent: One estate agent is appointed to sell a property.

Sole Selling Rights: One agent is appointed and will receive commission, even if the owner sells the property privately.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT): A tax paid by the buyer when purchasing a property or land over a certain value.

Subject to Contract: The agreement is not legally binding until the contract is signed.

Survey: A check on a property's condition carried out by a surveyor.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS): A scheme where a tenant's deposit is held to ensure it's returned, providing the terms of the tenancy agreement are met.

Tenancy Agreement: A contract between a landlord and tenant outlining the terms of the rental agreement.

Tenancy: The temporary possession of a property by a tenant.

Tenant: The person who has the right to occupy a property under agreed terms and conditions.

Tenure: The conditions under which property or land is held or occupied.

The Deposit Protection Service: A scheme authorised to protect tenants' deposits.

The Property Ombudsman: An agency providing free, impartial service for resolving disputes between consumers and property agents.

Title Burdens (Scotland only): Obligations or restrictions tied to the ownership of a property.

Title Deeds: Legal document showing the chain of ownership for land and property.

Transfer Document: Legal document which transfers the ownership from seller to buyer.

Under Offer: A term used when a seller has accepted an offer on the property but contracts have not yet been exchanged.

Valuation (or Market Appraisal): An estimate of a property's worth.

Vendor: The person selling the property.

This is just a glimpse of the vast jargon used in the UK property market. Although it may seem daunting at first, with a little time and patience, it's possible to get to grips with it all. Now, with this guide at your disposal, you're ready to dive into the world of property!

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