Rental Property Jargon Guide

When you are renting a new property there is a lot to take into consideration to ensure you get the very best deal. You will also come across a lot of new rent-related phrases that you may never have of heard before. Read through our rental property jargon guide below to help you understand what it all means.

Tenant: The person who pays rental costs to the landlord each month.

Landlord: Owner of the property being rented by the tenant.

Tenancy agreement: A formal agreement between landlord and tenant that contains the legal terms and conditions of the tenancy. This includes things such as address, contact details, rental costs, tenancy start date, payment terms, tenant and landlord responsibilities. Agreements are either periodic (weekly/monthly) or fixed-term (for set period).

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST): Commonly used tenancy agreement that lasts between 6-12 months, detailing the same details as listed above. Once the initial contract has finished, if both parties wish to continue and no new agreement is signed, the tenant can remain in the property using a periodic tenancy.

Renewal: Once the initial fixed-term agreement has ended, the landlord can arrange for the tenant to sign a renewal contract. While this is not usually required, it will be needed if there is a change in rent or any of the other tenancy conditions.

Break clause: A condition in the tenancy agreement that allows either landlord, tenant, or both parties to end the tenancy before the initial end date.

Absent landlord: This is an uncontactable landlord during the tenancy, with the letting agent given responsibility for managing the property.

Credit search references: When applying to move into a new property, tenants are required to undergo a credit check. This involves use of external agencies to ensure applicants are financially stable enough to maintain rental payments throughout the duration of the tenancy.

PW: Stands for Per Week – used when referencing payment terms for rent.

PCM: Stands for Per Calendar Month – used when rent is paid on a monthly basis.

Guarantor: A guarantor offers financial back-up for tenants who may need to provide extra assurances regarding their financial stability. The guarantor signs the tenancy agreement and agrees to undertake the terms of the contract in the event the tenant is no longer able to – this includes payment of rent each week/month.

Deposit: Before moving into a property the tenant is required to pay a lump sum for any potential property damage or unpaid rent that may occur during the tenancy. This is limited to 5 weeks’ deposit in England and Wales for annual rents under £50,000. For annual rents over this amount a total amount of 6 weeks can be requested.

Holding deposit: This is used to demonstrate the seriousness of your enquiry and to reserve the property so it cannot be taken by other applicants. It is paid to either the landlord or letting agent and is deducted from the first month’s rent. If you withdraw your interest, the holding deposit may not be refundable.

Inventory and schedule of condition: Before moving in, a checklist of all the property’s contents is made to verify their condition. This is done at the start and end of the tenancy so the condition can be compared for any potential deductions to pay for repairs etc. This includes fixtures and fittings, furniture, windows and more.

Client money protection (CMP): if the tenant pays money to the landlord/letting agent this scheme offers protection of the funds. It’s a legal requirement that all landlords/agents must sign up to. Always look for an ARLA Property Protected member for added guarantees.

Tenancy deposit protection (TDP): By law, deposits paid by tenants must be put into one of three-government backed schemes (Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits or Tenancy Deposit Scheme) within 30 days of receiving it. The tenant must also be provided with details of the scheme, along with information about how they will receive the money at the end and advice about disputes related to the amount returned.

Redress: A redress refers to the Property Redress Scheme that deal with any disputes between landlord and tenant. All letting agents in England and Wales must sign up to the scheme and become members of The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services or the Property Redress Scheme.

Sublet: When a property is sublet it involves the tenant renting some or all of the property to another party. However, this can only be done if the landlord gives their authorisation. Failure to do so could breach the tenancy agreement and lead to legal action.

House in multiple occupation (HMO): A HMO is a property that has at least two households sharing facilities such as a bathroom and kitchen. Licences are needed for HMOs that have more than 2 floors and 4 people).

Common parts: Shared facilities such as the entrance or garden are classed as a common part – it can be related to any part of the property, land or premises.

Managing agent: Letting agents or companies who take care of the property on behalf of the landlord during the tenancy. This typically covers maintenance and repair issues, although responsibilities can vary depending on the arrangement between landlord and letting agent.

Fixtures and fittings: This relates to items in the property such as carpets, blinds, light fittings, curtains, kitchen units, appliances and sometimes furniture.

Dilapidation: Any damage beyond normal wear and tear caused to the property during the tenancy is called dilapidation.

Notice period: A notice period is the length of time either the tenant or landlord must give if they want to end the tenancy.

Property Ombudsman: A free and independent service that can be used by tenants and property buyers to resolve disputes with letting agents who are members of The Property Ombudsman.

ARLA Propertymark: Formerly known as the Association of Residential Letting Agents, the ARLA Propertymark is the primary professional body for estate agents.

Gas Safety Record: An annual check that must be carried out by law by landlords, ensuring gas appliances, flues and pipework are safe to use. Checks must be carried out by a CORGI-registered engineer.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC): A certificate provided to the tenant at the start of the tenancy to demonstrate the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of the property. This will give an indication of energy bill costs during the tenancy. By law, the minimum energy performance rating is E for any property.

Rental Valuation: A financial figure associated with a rental property following an evaluation made by a professional letting agent. This usually sets the initial rental price on the property market.

If you are thinking of renting property in Willesden Green or the surrounding areas and would like further information on any of the terms above, please get in touch with our expert letting agent team on 02084592530.

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