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Lettings Jargon Buster

For additional help, read our step by step Tenant or Landlord guides. If you have any questions or require further information, please call, email or visit us.

A

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.

 

Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements (AST)

This is the agreement which explains tenant and landlords rights and responsibilities and is the most common form of tenancy agreement in the UK.

B

Break clause

This is a clause which can be found in some tenancy agreements which gives the landlord an opportunity to cease the Tenancy Agreement secure possession of the property during or at the end of a tenancy. It also sets out under what circumstances the landlord and the tenant can terminate the contract. Contact us if you have any queries about your tenancy agreement.

 

Building insurance

This is an insurance taken out by the landlord or freeholder of a property to protect it from risks such as fire or storm damage.

C

Central heating

This provides homes with the warmth they need in the UK. Most homes are heated by gas central heating, some by electric and a minority use oil. Thermostats in the UK should be set to a minimum of 15 degrees centigrade.

Check-in

This is the process of settling a tenant into a rental property for the first time. The check-in process should be carried out alongside an inventory which describes in detail the condition of the property prior to the tenant moving in. This cost is borne by the landlord.

Check-out

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 cost is borne by the tenant.

Consents

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.

Contractors

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

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.

E

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.

Extension or 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.

F

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.

G

Gas Boiler

An appliance which supplies gas to heat the home and generate hot water. This appliance should be annually inspected by a Gas Safe engineer.

Gas Safety Certificate

This is a legally required certificate which needs to be renewed on an annual basis to ensure any appliance such as a boiler or a gas fire is operating safely in the property. Gas Safety checks must be carried out by a Gas Safe engineer.

H

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.
Contact your local Savills office or the local council to find out more about the rules and regulations of HMO’s in your area.

I

Identity checks

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.

Inventories

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 borne by the landlord.

L

Land Registry

This is a service in the England and Wales which tracks the ownership and possession of a property and land rights.

Local authority

Provincial government in charge of local services. For example, there are 32 boroughs or ‘local authorities’ in London. Each borough runs services such as schools, collecting waste, and managing the road network. They set the Council Tax which is typically paid by tenants.

M

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 us for more information about money laundering regulations.

P

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 us for more information about PAT.

R

Reference charges

These are charges which a tenant pays the letting agent or landlord for, to carry out checks on the tenants identity and financial situation.

S

Smoke alarms

This is a specialist alarm which sounds when there is too much smoke in a property, typically caused by a fire.

T

Tax

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 MyDeposits.

Tenancy renewal

This may be a clause within the tenancy agreement which allows a tenant the right to renew their tenancy in accordance with the terms of the agreement. Contact us if you have any queries about renewing your tenancy.

Termination of tenancy

A tenancy may be terminated i.e. the tenant moves out in accordance with the terms of the agreement, or additionally, termination can be via the break clause. Contact us if you have any queries about terminating your tenancy.

Tradesman

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

U

Utilities

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.
All of our lettings experts are trained to the highest standard in the industry. If you are renting, letting or considering buying a property to let, then do call, email or visit us and our experts will be happy to help.

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