Estate agent jargon buster


Whether you are renting or buying a property, there are lots of different terms and phrases used. That's why we've broken down a few below so you can make sure you have a clear understanding when looking to purchase or let!


Letting phrases:

EPC: Energy Performance Certificate is a rating scheme that outlines the energy efficiency in a property. 

EICR: Electrical Installation Condition Report - a certificate that details the safety and overall condition of all the electrical installations in the property. 

Deposit protection schemes: These are third party schemes that look after a tenants deposit. It is a legal requirement to place a tenants’ deposit in the said scheme if they are renting under the assured shorthold tenancy. The three most common schemes are Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) and My Deposit. 

ARLA:  The Association of Residential Lettings Agents. For more information click HERE

PCM: Per Calendar Month - how often the rent is paid

PW: Per Week - how often the rent is paid

Guarantor: This is a person other than yourself who is able to verify that they would be able to pay your rent if you were unable to. The guarantor has to co-sign the tenancy agreement. One of the main requirements for a guarantor’s annual income (before tax) must be 36 times the monthly rental price of the property. 

Tenancy Agreement: A legally binding contract between the tenant and landlord that sets out the legal terms and conditions of the tenancy. 

Tenancy term: The duration a tenant will be renting the property from the landlord.

Holding Deposit: A one-week payment to the landlord or agent to reserve the property to proceed with the tenancy which is later allocated towards the move-in funds.  

Move-in funds: Funds you pay prior to the tenancy commencement date, usually they are 5 weeks security deposit and the first period of rent.

Security deposit: The funds the tenant pays when renting a property that is equivalent to five or six weeks worth of rent and is to be held in a tenancy deposit scheme.

Break clause: The break clause allows both parties to terminate the tenancy agreement prior to the official tenancy end date subject to a relevant notice being served. 

Inventory report: A detailed list of all the items within a property.

Schedule of condition (Check-in/Check-out report): Details the condition of every item in the inventory report at the start and end of the tenancy. An inspection that takes place to note all the current contents and condition of a property.


Buying phrases:


Leasehold: You own the property however the land the property is on is owned by the freeholder. 

Freehold: The owner has outright ownership of the property and land that it is on. 

Chain free: When a property is being sold and the current owner is not relying on another party to be able to move out.

Contract: The law-abiding agreement that is signed. What is included the signers are obliged to follow and keep.

Service Charge: A fee paid by the property owner for communal areas and if relevant the surrounding estate. 

Exchanging contracts: When a vendor and buyer sign a document making the purchase of a property or piece of land legally binding.

Completion: The final stage of the legal process of transferring the ownership of a property and is when the funds are usually paid and documents are dated. 

Handover: When the owner officially takes over the property from the developer. This is where the keys are handed over, metre readings are checked and there is a final property check for snagging.

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