Rental Property Jargon

From searching for a rental property in St Albans to signing the Tenancy Agreement, it’s likely that you will come across a variety of rental terms and property jargon which can be unfamiliar and confusing. Below we explain all the important property rental jargon you need to know.

Tenant: A tenant is the person who pays to rent the property from a landlord.

Landlord: A landlord is the owner of the property being rented by the tenant.

Tenancy Agreement: This is a contract agreed between the landlord and tenant that lays out the legal terms and conditions of the proposed tenancy. It will detail everything from the start date and rental costs, to maintenance and health and safety responsibilities. A tenancy agreement is either determined on a weekly or monthly basis, or for a set period of time.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST): In most cost cases a tenant will be provided with an AST agreement for a fixed period of 6-12 months. Once the AST comes to an end the tenant can remain in the property under a periodic tenancy.

Renewal: Once a fixed term tenancy has come to an end, both tenant and landlord can decide whether or not to renew the tenancy for another fixed period. While doing so offers more security for both tenant and landlord, it is not an essential requirement. A renewal may be proposed by the landlord if they want to change the terms of the tenancy.

Break Clause: This should feature in a tenancy agreement to allow either a tenant or landlord to terminate the tenancy early.

Absent Landlord: An absent landlord is one who is uncontactable during the tenancy. In this instance, the managing or letting agent will deal with all enquiries.

Credit Search Reference: The landlord or letting agent will run a credit search before you are able to sign a tenancy agreement. In most cases this involves them using an external credit referencing agency to check your credit file to ensure you can afford the rent. They will also run checks with your employers and previous landlords to verify income and suitability.

PW: Seen in a property listing after a monetary figure (£500pw) to state how much payment is required per week.

PCM: Similar to PW, except it stands for per calendar month.

Guarantor: A guarantor acts as financial security during the tenancy if you are unable to meet the required payments, covering the costs on your behalf. They will also undergo relevant credit and affordability checks, and be asked to sign the tenancy agreement.

Deposit/Security Deposit: Renters in England will be asked to pay a maximum of five weeks rent to cover any future unpaid rent or potential damage to the property.

Holding Deposit: You can provide this to the landlord or letting agent to reserve a rental property before the tenancy agreement has been signed. This is always refundable, except if you withdraw your tenancy application. Instead of being given the money back directly, it will be deducted from the first month’s rent.

Inventory and Schedule of Condition: Before moving in the tenant will be given a list that itemises the contents and the current condition of the property. This is to ensure that when the tenant leaves, the condition of the property and its contents remain the same. It covers all fixtures and fittings and needs to be signed by the tenant and landlord before moving in and when moving out.

Client Money Protection (CMP): This is a scheme designed to protect money paid by tenants to their landlord or letting agent. It is a legal requirement that must be provided by every agent and landlord.

Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP): A scheme that protects the deposit money paid by a tenant to their landlord or letting agent. Within 30 days of payment it must be registered with one of three government-authorised schemes (Deposit Protection ServiceMyDeposits or Tenancy Deposit Scheme). The tenant must also be given full details of the scheme, along with a Tenancy Deposit Protection Certificate that details how to claim the money back once the tenancy ends and how to raise a dispute, if needed.

Sublet: If a tenant lets part or all of their property to another party this is called subletting. The tenant must receive permission from their landlord before this can happen. If not, they could be deemed as being in breach of their tenancy agreement which could lead to legal action.

House in Multiple Occupation (HMO): A HMO is a property which contains two or more households that share facilities such as a toilet, kitchen or bathroom. Properties with more than two floors and four households are classed as a large HMO and also require a licence.

Common Parts: This relates to any part of the property, land or premises that allows shared usage, such as an entrance or garden.

Managing Agent: The landlord may hand over maintenance and management of the property to a professional company or agent. All properties offered to let via Daniels are fully managed by Daniels.

Fixtures and Fittings: Kitchen units and appliances, carpets, curtains, light fittings etc. are all examples of fixtures and fittings. It may also include furniture, although this should be highlighted before the start of the tenancy.

Dilapidation: General wear and tear is seen as acceptable, but dilapidation relates to any damage caused to the property or its contents that are deemed excessive.

Notice Period: The tenancy agreement will lay out the period of the time the tenant or landlord must give in order to end the tenancy.

Arrears: Any rent owed is referred to as arrears.

ARLA Property Mark: The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) is the UK’s largest professional body for letting agents. This professional body can be referred to by tenants to deal with landlord disputes. All letting agents must sign up to a property redress scheme in order to provide this option to tenants using their service.

Tenancy: When a tenant moves into a property under the terms of a signed tenancy agreement.

Gas Safety Record: A yearly check that must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and pipework are in working order. This is a legal requirement for every landlord.

Share of Freehold: A limited company owns the freehold of the property, with its shareholders also the owners of the property. This tends to be for flats and apartments in the building.

Rental Valuation: A monetary value given to a rental property by an estate agent when assessing its worth on the market.

Property Ombudsman: A free and independent service that helps to resolve disputes between tenants, buyers/sellers and sales and letting agents.

If you are looking for property to rent in St Albans or would like more information on the points above, get in touch with our friendly letting agent team today who will be happy to help.