Jargon Buster

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Jargon Buster A-Z

(A)

Agent
A letting - rent collection - management agent or other duly authorised person (or company / organisation) who is acting on behalf of the landlord.

AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy)
An assured shorthold tenancy is a kind of assured tenancy, which offers the landlord a guaranteed right to repossess his/her property at the end of the term. (See also Tenancy Agreement)

 

(B)

Bankers Draft
It is similar to a cheque, however the money has been debited to your bank account and it means the person receiving this will know it is safe money.  You will normally need to give a bank in the UK 24 hours notice.  You will normally be charged an administration fee.

Break Clause
Also referred to as a Release Clause.  This is a clause sometimes inserted in a fixed term tenancy, typically if the initial fixed term is for a year or more.  It will not normally be applicable during the first six months of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.  If the initial tenancy is renewed either party will often request a break clause if they do not know if they can continue renting or not.  A break clause will usually be worded in such a way as to allow either landlord or tenant to give two months written notice at any stage after a particular date or period of the tenancy, thus terminating the tenancy earlier than the end of the original fixed term

 

(C)

Credit Search references
References taken up on a tenant applying for rented accommodation.  Many agents and individual landlords use an outside company who for a fee will contact the applicant's employer, landlord and also check out the tenant's credit history.  They will be providing a report on the prospective tenant's financial suitability.  See also references.

Company Ltd
Let to a bona fide company.

Condensation

Condensation is a process where moisture in the air from normal day to day living inside your home condenses into water droplets on cold surfaces. The moisture is absorbed and over time mould black surface pin mould appears.

Condensation is caused by lack of heating and ventilation.  To prevent a build up of condensation maintain a minimum temperature in all your rooms, ideally at 15c or above.

Tips to prevent condensation:

  • Minimise the amount of steam produced when cooking by keeping the lid on saucepans and, wherever possible, opening a window or using an extractor fan.
  • Avoid drying wet clothes on radiators, try to dry them outside or by leaving them on a covered porch, utility room or garage and consider using a dehumidifier.
  • When showering keep the bathroom door closed, open a window and ensure the extractor is functioning to remove excess moisture from the room.
  • Open curtains during the day to allow air to the windows and frames.
  • Ventilate bedrooms by opening a window or use the trickle vents (if fitted).
  • Crystal moisture traps are readily available in all good DIY shops.

 

Council Tax
Local authority tax for England, Wales and Scotland.  In most cases this will be the responsibility of a tenant to pay.

Covenants
The terms of the tenancy agreement - obligations -  "promises" made by either Landlord or Tenant.

 

(D)

Deposit
Amount of money held by the landlord or agent for security against damage.  In Britain approximately the equivalent to six week rental is held

Direct Debit
See section on Standing Orders

 

(F)

Fixtures and fittings
Items usually provided in a letting - curtains, carpets, blinds, light fittings, kitchen units, appliances, (in the case of some lettings there will beds, chairs, tables and other items of fixtures and fittings provided).  It is advisable to always check as to what is provided and not to assume that items will be provided.

 

(G)

Gas safety regulations
The Landlord of a rented property must have a gas safety check carried out prior to a let and then annually.  A copy of the record must be given to the tenant.  An authorised GAS SAFETY Registered engineer can only carry out the check

Guarantor
A person who is prepared to guarantee rental payments and other obligations of a tenancy.  The guarantor will be liable for rental payments if a tenant is unable to pay them, so the guarantor will need to have a regular income. Normally references or credit search references will be taken up on a guarantor.

 

(H)

Holding Deposit
This is usually a nominal amount that will be asked for when a tenant applies for a tenancy of a property.  If the tenancy does not proceed - tenant pulling out - references not acceptable this is then often retained by the agent.

HMO (House in multiple occupation)
House in multiple occupation - Bedsits / flat lets normally self-contained room with either cooking facilities in the room or a shared kitchen or shared bathroom and toilet facilities.  Under the Housing Act 2004 it will cover any property occupied by more than one household that is a converted building even if the flats are not self contained.

 

(I)

Inventory
Listing of the contents of a property.  This can include the state and condition of a property including the garden, the state of a property - clean - dirty etc and also the structural fixtures and fittings - power points - windows etc.  They should be checked in with the tenant at the start of the tenancy and then checked out with the tenant at the end.  It is more and m ore usual that a professional inventory clerk is employed.

 

(J)

Joint & Several Liability
Where there is to be more than one (adult) person living in the property, the tenancy will say they are "jointly and severally" responsible.  This means that, jointly, the tenants are liable for the payment of all rents and all liabilities falling upon the tenants during the tenancy, as well as any breach of the Agreement.  Individually each tenant is responsible for payment of all rent and all liabilities falling upon the tenant, as well as any breach of the Agreement until all payments have been made in full.

 

(L)

Landlord
Is a person, persons, company or body that has a formal interest in the premises and has the right to let the property.

Lease
Often confused with tenancy agreement this is normally a long lease on an apartment (see Superior Lease) where as the actual document governing a rental is normally known as a Tenancy Agreement.

 

(M)

Mould

Black surface pin mould appears on damp surfaces due to a build up of condensation and moisture.   See Condensation above on how to prevent a build up of condensation.

To kill and remove mould wipe down or spray walls and window frames with a specialist mould/mildew cleaner or a diluted a little bleach with warm water.

To present mould appearing ensure that your home is heated and ventilated effectively.

 

(P)

PCM
Rental figure "pcm" - per calendar month.

Propertymark

On the 9th February 2017 the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) launched Propertymark offering new professional standards in estate agency for both sales and lettings.

Propertymark offers consistently high standards, holding their members accountable in order to protect consumers and their money. Consumers know that the Propertymark Protected logo guarantees that they and their money are safe.

Propertymark expect far higher standards than the law demands and they campaign for more laws and enforcement to regulate the sector. Estate agents, letting agents, auctioneers and valuers who display the ‘Propertymark Protected’ logo actively ensure maximum protection for their clients. By using a Propertymark Protected agent, you have the peace of mind that you and your money are safeguarded by Propertymark’s Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme*.

Castles are proud to be members of both the NAEA Propertymark and Association of Residential Lettings (ARLA) Propertymark.  Using Castles sales or lettings you can be confident that we will guide you on your property journey, whether you are buying, selling, renting or letting, working to the highest standards and looking out for you and your money.

*The Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme is a compensation scheme run by Propertymark which provides compensation to landlords, tenants and other clients should an agent misappropriate their rent, deposit or other client funds.

(R)

References
Checking a tenant applicant's suitability to be able to pay the rent and also the applicant's track record in earlier rentals.  This often involves contacting previous landlords, the present employer or accountant if self employed and bank (banks normally charge for providing references) See also Credit search references.

 

(S)

Services
See utilities

Standing Order
Standing order mandate is an instruction that the tenant makes to his/her bank for payment of rent. It can either be set up on a form or on line (by the tenant).  Normally payments are made each month and the instruction will state the number of payments or will continue to be paid until cancelled by the tenant.  A landlord or agent cannot cancel a standing order mandate, only the person whose bank account the fund are coming from. A standing order should not be confused with a Direct Debit.  This is not often used for the payment of rent and is more common for payments that differ each month and the company notifies the bank's customer in advance you are paying money to of the amounts and dates.

Studio apartment/flat
Flat with bedroom/living room all in one either with a separate kitchen or corner of the main room as a kitchen with separate bathroom and toilet.

Superior Lease or Head Lease
This is the lease that the landlord holds.  This is often the case in an apartment/flat where the owner has the leasehold interest, but another individual owns the freehold.  There is then this lease under which the landlord is responsible for the obligations / covenants.  When a property is let out the tenant renting a property then also has to comply with any of these obligations - e.g. not to hang out washing on a balcony etc.

 

(T)

Tenant
A person, persons (company or organisation) who is entitled to occupy a property under the terms and conditions of a tenancy agreement.

Tenancy Agreement
This is a legal binding document containing details about the rental terms. Sometimes known as a rental agreement. It will state the parties - landlord  - tenants the rental price and the property address along with the "Covenants"  / obligations  (promises) of the let.  It should be written in plain clear language

The Term of Tenancy
Length of tenancy - most initial tenancy agreements are for a minimum of six months, they can be shorter and longer.

 

(U)

Utilities
Or Services - These are normally electricity, gas and water. Under most circumstances the tenant is responsible for paying for these.

 

(W)

Water Charges
see utilities

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