Jargon Buster!

Published: 26/01/2024

Industry Jargon    

There is a lot of industry jargon in the world of buying, selling, letting, or renting a home. Here's a jargon guide to help you understand common terms used:

Buying Terms  

Stamp Duty: A tax paid by the buyer when purchasing a property above a certain value. The rates vary depending on the property price and whether it's a primary residence.
Conveyancing: The legal process of transferring property ownership from the seller to the buyer, conducted by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer.
Leasehold: A property ownership arrangement where the buyer owns the property but not the land it sits on. Leasehold properties typically involve paying ground rent to the landowner.
Freehold: A property ownership arrangement where the buyer owns both the property and the land it sits on without any time limit.
Exchange of Contracts: The stage in the conveyancing process where both the buyer and seller are legally committed to the transaction, and a deposit is usually paid.
Gazumping: When a seller accepts a higher offer from another buyer after already accepting an offer from someone else but before the contracts are exchanged.
Completion: The final stage of the property purchase process where ownership officially transfers, and the buyer takes possession of the property.
Land Registry: The government office responsible for keeping records of land ownership in England and Wales.

Selling Terms  

Estate Agent: A professional hired to market and sell a property on behalf of the owner.
Valuation: An estimation of a property's market value, usually conducted by an estate agent or a professional appraiser.
Sole Agency Agreement: An exclusive agreement between a seller and one estate agent for a specified period. If the property sells during this time, the agent is entitled to a commission.
Joint Agency Agreement: An agreement where a property is listed with more than one estate agent. The commission is typically split between the agents.
EPC (Energy Performance Certificate): The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of a property and gives an indication of the fuel bills. It is displayed as two graphs – the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the property. Each is graded from A (the best) to G (the worst).
Chain: A series of property transactions linked together, where the sale of one property is dependent on the purchase of another.
Vendor: Another term for the property seller.
Retention: A portion of the sale proceeds held back by the buyer's solicitor until certain conditions are met, such as repairs or outstanding bills.

Understanding these terms will help you navigate the UK real estate market more confidently, whether you're buying or selling a property.

Letting Terms  

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST): The most common form of tenancy agreement in the UK. It provides certain rights and protections for both landlords and tenants.
Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS): A government-backed scheme that protects a tenant's deposit throughout the tenancy. Landlords must use an approved scheme and provide prescribed information to the tenant.
Guarantor: A person who agrees to pay the rent or cover any other financial obligations of the tenant if the tenant fails to do so.
Holding Deposit: A payment made by a tenant to reserve a property before the signing of the tenancy agreement. It is usually refundable or goes towards the first month's rent.
Right to Rent Check: Landlords are required to check the immigration status of their tenants to ensure they have the right to live in the UK.
Inventory Check: A detailed list of the property's contents and condition, often accompanied by photographs, conducted at the beginning and end of a tenancy.
Notice Period: The amount of time required to be given by either the landlord or tenant before ending a tenancy. The length of the notice period can vary.
Break Clause: A clause in the tenancy agreement that allows either the landlord or tenant to end the tenancy early under certain conditions.
Rent Arrears: Unpaid rent owed by the tenant. Landlords may take legal action to recover rent arrears.
Section 21 Notice: A notice served by a landlord to regain possession of their property at the end of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. It can be given without providing a reason.
Section 8 Notice: A notice served by a landlord to regain possession of their property during the fixed term of the tenancy or due to tenant breaches. Requires specific grounds for possession.
Council Tax: A local tax on residential property that helps fund local services. The responsibility for paying council tax may lie with either the landlord or the tenant, depending on the agreement.
Service Charge: Additional charges paid by the tenant to cover the costs of maintaining communal areas or providing services in a property or development.
Rent Review: A periodic assessment of the rent amount, often conducted annually, to determine if an increase is warranted.
Assured Tenancy: A less common form of tenancy that provides greater security of tenure for the tenant compared to an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.
ARLA Propertymark: The ARLA Propertymark (formally the Association of Residential Letting Agents), is the UK’s foremost professional body for letting agents.

Understanding these terms will help both landlords and tenants navigate the letting process in the UK more effectively and ensure a smoother tenancy experience.

Your Local Agent  

Our teams at Palmer & Partners have a wealth of knowledge and expert experience locally in Essex and Suffolk, and within the property business. We are friendly and approachable, passionate about our customers and always work professionally.

Contact Us  

Please feel free to contact us in Colchester, Ipswich, and Clacton.
We look forward to hearing from you, and helping you find your new home - and everything else in between!