An in depth UK buying and renting glossary.

Administration Fee

This is a charge to tenants by letting agents to cover the cost of preparation of paperwork to let a property, for example a contribution towards the tenancy agreement

Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)

This is a the professional and regulatory body for letting agents in the UK

Assured Shorthold Tenancy

Type of agreement or contract drawn up between landlord and tenant, created by the housing act 1988, specifying terms and conditions of let


If you live in the country in the UK you may not have access to public sewers so a cesspit captures sewerage from the property. Cesspits are typically emptied on a monthly basis.


This is the process of settling a tenant into a rental property for the first time. The check-in process should include an inventory which describes in detail the condition of the property prior to the tenant moving in.


This is the process of moving the tenant out of the property and includes making sure the property is being returned in the same condition as it was originally let to the tenant at check-in.


This is permission given by various parties during letting a property. For example landlords securing consent from the mortgage lender and insurance company to let the property or tenants giving consent for referencing checks.

Contents Insurance

This is insurance which a tenant should consider to protect their belongings such as furniture, jewellery, pictures and items of value against fire, damage and theft. You should ask that it includes cover to re-house you in the event of fire or flood damage rendering the let property uninhabitable


This is a generic term given to people who would typically work on your property such as electricians, plumbers, gas engineers or builders


Conveyancing is a legal term for the transfer of legal title of property ownership. Conveyancing is carried out in the UK by a trained solicitor or conveyancer. It is possible for an individual to carry out their own conveyancing work, but it is labour intensive and a mortgage provider will almost certainly insist on a licensed conveyancer or solicitor taking on the work.


Council Tax

This is a tax charged to the person living in the property such as the tenant (or property owner if the property is empty). It is a contribution to local services such as police, waste collection and the fire service. The council tax varies depending on the property’s value and is set annually by the individual Local Authority and paid monthly.

Company Let

Rather than letting to an individual a company can take on the tenancy of the property.


Sum of money paid by the tenant at the start of the tenancy. Since 06/04/07 all deposits taken for Assured Shorthold Tenancies must be safeguarded under one of the 3 schemes approved by the government.


General term for costs of damages to property at the end of the tenancy.

Electrical Safety Test

The Electrical equipment safety regulations 1994 These regulations cover all mains voltage household electrical goods. If you let property you must ensure that the electrical system and all appliances supplied are safe – failure to comply with the regulations is a criminal offense and may result in:
o A fine of £5,000 per item not complying
o Six month’s imprisonment
o Possible manslaughter charges in the event of deaths
o The Tenant may also sue you for civil damages
o Your property insurance may be invalidated
o These regulations are enforced by the Health & Safety Executive.
There is no statutory requirement to have annual safety checks on electrical equipment as there is with gas, but we will not move a tenant into any property unless the landlord can show us written evidence that the electrics have been tested and are deemed to be safe.

Energy Performance Certificate

This is a legally required assessment of how energy efficient a residential property is. It is valid for 10 years and is required for all properties which are advertised for sale or rent unless the property is a listed building. EPC explained


Extension of Renewal of Tenancy

This is where a tenancy due to come to an end can be extended or renewed with the consent of both the landlord and the tenant. Extensions and renewals may include a change in rent.

Full Management

Service by letting agent whereby we would supervise the complete tenancy and rent collection on behalf of the landlord.

Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety)

This is a regulation which was introduced to prevent landlords providing furniture and furnishings to tenants which were not fire resistant. It specifies what fire resistant furnishings a landlord has to provide to a tenant in a property.

Gas Safety

Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 and 1996, all gas appliances must be checked by a Corgi registered tradesman. The landlord must carry out such tests annually. As part of our management service we can arrange these inspections on your behalf at the landlords expense prior to the rental of the property and on an annual basis thereafter, the cost being deducted from the rent.

Green Deal

This is a Government scheme which helps fund energy saving home improvements so you can make a rental property more efficient.


Person who agrees to guarantee the rental payment of the tenant (i.e.: pay the rent if the tenant doesn’t)

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

Licensed HMO’s – require a licence to be operated legally – This is a definition of a property which is rented to at least five tenants who form more than two households who share toilet, bathroom, kitchen and other facilities and the property is located over three floors or more, (this can include a commercial premises on the ground floor). You can also have an unlicensed HMO. All HMO’s are required to meet special regulations.

Housing Act

This legislation covers assured and assured shorthold tenancies and came into effect on 15/01/89. The rationale behind it was to give private landlords choice in how much security of tenure they granted to tenants.

Identity Check

These are checks which a letting agent should make on both landlords and tenants to ensure they are who they say they are. Examples include passport, driving licence, bank statements and utility bills of a previous address you have lived at for three or more years. The money laundering regulations govern these checks which an agent is obligated to carry out.

Instruction Manuals

All properties which have appliances such as a dishwasher or cooker will have an instruction manual which explains how the appliance works. These manuals must be left in the property when you check-out.

Introduction Service

Service by letting agent whereby the landlord will deal with the tenant on a day-to-day basis and conduct his own rent collection.


This is an essential service which protects both the tenant and landlord. It details the condition of the property and any items the landlord has left in the property during the tenancy. The inventory is referred to on check-in and check –out and is paid for by both the tenant and the landlord.

Identity Check

These are checks which a letting agent should make on both landlords and tenants to ensure they are who they say they are. Examples include passport, driving licence, bank statements and utility bills of a previous address you have lived at for three or more years. The money laundering regulations govern these checks which an agent is obligated to carry out.


Person who allows use of his property by another in exchange for rent and subject to conditions set out in an agreement.

Landlords Right of Access

The landlord has the right to enter the property for the purpose of inspection or carrying out repairs providing he has given the tenant at least 24hours notice in writing. The reason for access must be reasonable.

Meter Readings

Every property has their gas and electricity usage measured on a daily basis. Some properties have their water usage measured too. Meter readings have to be taken on the day the tenant moves in and the day they move out. This helps to avoid disputes once the tenant has left.

Money Laundering Regulations

These are regulations which mean we are required to make checks on potential landlords and tenants to make sure the property and any rent is being paid from legitimate sources. Contact your local office for more information about money laundering regulations.

Overseas Landlords

Landlords living or working overseas for extended periods (usually in excess of 6 months)

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

This is testing for electrical goods within a property to make sure they are safe, for example a microwave, lamp or kettle. These tests should be carried out by a competent person. Contact your local office for more information about PAT.

Property Inspections

Cursory inspection of property to identify obvious problems/defects. Usually undertaken by letting agent after making a suitably convenient appointment with tenant. Usually carried out once per tenancy on managed properties.


Checks undertaken on tenant to prove suitability for tenancy. Typically: employers, credit check and landlords reference.


Sum of money paid (usually monthly) by tenant to landlord in consideration for living at property.

Rent Guarantee

Insurance product available to all landlords. The product guarantees the rent for the landlord should a tenant move in to a property, not pay the rent and not move out. Court costs/procedures incurred as a result of eviction due to non-payment of rent are also covered.

Security of Tenure

Period of time the tenancy is created for as specified in the assured shorthold tenancy agreement.

Section 8, Section 21 Notices

Notices served by landlord to tenant to re-gain possession of the property.

Statutory Periodic Tenancy

Commonly referred to as a month-to-month contract. At the expiry of an assured shorthold tenancy there may be reasons that both parties do not want to renew the contract for a further fixed period. If this is the case a statutory periodic tenancy can be created.


This is calculated by HM Revenue and Customs in the UK. Under the Income and Corporation Tax Act 1988 we are obliged to disclose the details of the names, addresses and rental income received for all landlords for whom we act on behalf of.
We will require confirmation of your residency status for UK tax purposes as well as being the legal owner of the property. For more help and advice on taxes, we suggest you contact an accountant or property tax specialist.

Tenancy Agreements

These are the legal documents which agree the terms and conditions of letting a property between a landlord and tenant. The agreement explains the rent to be paid, the date it should be paid, the rights and responsibilities of a landlord and tenant and under what circumstances the agreement can be terminated

Tenancy Deposit Scheme – For Assured Shorthold Tenancies

This is a government backed scheme which requires by law the tenants deposit to be protected either with a third party company or via insurance. There are five tenancy deposit schemes and we use the Tenancy Deposit Scheme


Person who holds the property on rent from the landlord.


These are people who carry out repairs or maintenance on a property including a plumber, electrician or builder.


These are services provided to the property such as electric, gas and water. Electricity and gas may be supplied by the same company, water will be supplied by only one company at a local level.

Void Periods

Any period of time between tenancies where the property is not let and therefore not providing a rental income.