Jargon Buster

Administration/Application fee
This is a charge levied by the lender to cover the costs of processing a mortgage application. If an application is not completed, the fee may not be refunded

Applicant
The person or party wishing to rent or buy a property.

Arrangement fees
Fees charged to arrange a loan on certain products. Usually applied to loans where a special interest rate applies e.g. fixed or capped rates.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)
The most common type of Tenancy Agreement in the private rental sector setting out the rights and obligations of the landlord and tenant. It is used where the rent is below £100,000 per annum and the tenant is an individual, or group of individuals, rather than a company. The term must be for longer than six months.

Break clause
A break clause gives the tenant or landlord the right to terminate a Tenancy Agreement, under specific circumstances, before the date it is officially due to end. Usually requires written notice.

CCJ
County Court Judgement; any person who has defaulted on payments or has bad debts could have a CCJ taken out against them by the courts, which could prevent that person from obtaining a mortgage offer.

Company Tenancy
This form of Tenancy Agreement is used where a company is the tenant. There is no additional statutory protection – both landlord and tenant are bound only by the terms of the written agreement.

Contractual Tenancy
This form of Tenancy Agreement is used where the rent exceeds £25,000 per annum and the tenant is an individual or group of individuals. The tenant is not given any additional statutory protection and both parties are bound only by the terms of the written agreement.

Credit check
The procedure by which a check is made on the credit history of an applicant, usually conducted by one of the large dedicated credit check agencies. The check will reveal history of credit card repayments, outstanding debts, arrears and County Court Judgments.

Credit history
A record of an individual's or company's past borrowing, including information about late payments and bankruptcy.

Deposit
This is a sum of money required from the buyer when he enters into an enforceable agreement. This is usually on the signing of the contract, and can be between 5 and 10 per cent of the purchase price if buying, or 4-6 weeks rent for tenants.

Dilapidations
These refer to disrepair or damage done to a rented property.

Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
Regulations that require all electrical installation and appliances within the property are maintained in good order and regularly checked for safety by an appropriate registered engineer.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
An EPC measures the energy efficiency of a property using a scale of A-G. It is a legal requirement to have a valid EPC for their property.

Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 & (Amendment) 1993
Regulations that require all domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery in a property to be certified as compliant.

Gas Safety Regulations 1998
Regulations that require that any gas appliances in a property have to be inspected by a gas engineer, who is certified by the Gas Safe Register, before tenants move into a property and annually thereafter.

Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO)
A building of three floors or more which is to be occupied by three or more people and where these people live as more than one household and share facilities such as bathrooms, toilets or cooking facilities.

Inventory
A list describing the condition of furnishings and the contents of a leased property at the start and end of a tenancy, in order that any dilapidations during the tenancy can then be identified.

Landlord
The owner of property that is rented.

Landlord's reference
A reference given by a previous landlord, which confirms an applicant's history of payment of rent and previous conduct as a tenant.

Long let
A long let is a property that is typically let for a period of six months and more.

Maintenance Charge (or Service Charge)
The cost of repairing and maintaining external and/or internal communal parts of a building, which are then charged to the tenant or leaseholder.

National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS)
The National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) is an accreditation scheme for lettings and management agents, offering landlords and tenants peace of mind that they are dealing with a firm that agrees to meet defined standards of customer service.

Offer
A sum of money that the buyer or tenant offers to pay to for a property.

Property Misdescriptions Act 1991
Brought in to ensure agents' descriptions of properties, either written or oral, and room measurements were accurate, and to ensure that agents carry out due diligence at all times.

Renewal of contracts
Opportunity to renew a contract which has or will shortly expire.

Short let
A short let is a property which is typically let for a period of less than six months (subject to local authority restrictions). When renting a property on a short let basis, all utility bills are included in the rent (excluding telecommunications services).

Sitting Tenant
A person occupying a property who is legally protected against being removed.

Tenancy
The temporary occupation of a property by a tenant.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
All deposits being paid by a tenant for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be registered with a recognised deposit protection scheme within 14 days.

Tenancy agreement
A legal agreement designed to protect the rights of the tenant and landlord setting out all Terms and Conditions of the rental arrangements.

Tenant
An individual, group of individuals (up to four) or company who holds or possesses property for a time, in return for the payment of rent.

The Property Ombudsman (TPO)
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) is a free, fair and independent arbitration service that ensures that landlords, tenants, sellers and buyers will receive the highest level of customer service.

Void period
Period of time where the property is empty/unoccupied by the tenant.