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Landlords’ Jargon Buster

Confused by property-related jargon? Let us help with our A-Z Jargon Buster.
Absolute Title

Absolute ownership of property.

Abstract of Title

A summary of all previous dealings in the property including sales, charges and easements.

Affordable Housing

Low cost housing for sale or rent, often from a housing association, to meet the needs of local people who cannot afford accommodation through the open or low cost market, or subsidised housing.

Ancillary Use

A subsidiary use connected to the main use of a building or piece of land.

Annual percentage rate - APR

The total cost of the loan including all fees etc. and is shown as a percentage rate per year. All lenders must quote an APR in addition to the actual rate of interest applied annually to your mortgage.

Apartment Building

A suite of adjoining rooms used for a particular purpose. A place to live within a block of flats. Most Estate Agents offer a choice of apartments for sale.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Area designated by the Countryside Agency or the Countryside Council for Wales where the primary purpose is the conservation and enhancement of natural beauty including flora, fauna, geology and landscape.

Arrangement Fees

Fees charged by some lenders to arrange your mortgage usually applied to special mortgages where there is a fixed rate or capped rate. This is to cover the administration involved in setting up the loan.

Assignment

Legal document transferring a lease of unregistered land. Specialist help from a Solicitor is essential.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy

A form of assured tenancy which gives landlords an absolute right to repossession after a fixed term under the 'shorthold' ground. New residential tenancies now automatically become ASTs unless otherwise stated. Letting and management agents usually only offer this type of letting agreement to prospective tenants seeking property to rent.

Back-land

Land which is behind existing development with no, or very limited, road frontage.

Balance Outstanding

The amount of loan owed at a particular time usually on a Mortgage.

Bank of England base rate

Also known as the Bank of England's 'repo' rate & is announced from time to time by the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee. They set interest rates that Banks and Building Societies use to set their Standard Variable Rate for mortgages.

Barge Board

Wide board (on older work often carved) fitted below tiles of overhanging verge to gable.

Battens

Timber members to which roof tiles are fitted.

Betterment

The amount by which the value of land is increased by development or by the grant of planning permission, or because of the development of neighbouring land into new properties.

Bridging loan

A temporary loan that enables you to complete the purchase of a new home if you have to do this before completing the sale of your existing house. They are not long-term loans and interest rates can be higher than average mortgage rates.

Brown-field Site

Land which has been previously developed, excluding mineral workings or other temporary uses. Many new houses and flats are now being built on such sites.

Buildings insurance

In order to take out a mortgage you must have buildings insurance either with your lender or another insurance company. It protects your property against hazards such as fire, flood and subsidence.

Building Preservation Order

A notice under Section 3 of the Planning ( Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 to protect buildings of special architectural or historic interest from demolition or alterations that would affect their interest.

Buildings survey

Also known as a Structural Survey, this is a full inspection of the property which you wish to buy and will give you comprehensive details of the condition of the property including any structural repairs required, defects or work that is required in the near future. It is conducted by a chartered surveyor and this type of survey is important if you are considering buying an older house or one that has been extensively altered or undergone renovation work.

Built Environment

A part of the environment consisting of buildings and structures.

Built in

Designed or fitted as a fixed or permanent part. Example: Built in wardrobe.

Buy-to-let mortgage

A special mortgage available from some lenders that allows you to buy additional investment property to let to tenants. These types of mortgages have become increasingly popular in recent years due to the increase in property prices and rental incomes available.

Capital and interest mortgage

Also known as a repayment mortgage. Your monthly payments gradually pay off the money (capital) you've borrowed, and also cover interest on the amount outstanding. The best rates can be found by contacting an Independent Mortgage Adviser.

Capital Appreciation

Growth or gain in the value of a property or asset over time.

Capital Gains Tax

A tax on profits above a fixed level made from the sale of financial assets such as a house, flat or shares.

Capped rate mortgage

A mortgage where the interest rate is capped i.e. there is a guarantee that it won't go above a certain level. This means that you can benefit from any interest rate reductions but also have the assurance that the interest rate won't go above the cap and the monthly mortgage payments you can afford.

Cash back

Certain mortgage products offer a cash back lump sum. It is often put in place if you switch mortgage to another lender. These are generally variable rate mortgages where the benefit of lower payments given in discounted rate mortgages are converted into a single lump sum. When you take out the mortgage may be restrictions on how long you have to stay with your lender or redemption fees to move to another lender in the short term.

CAT standard mortgage

The Government has laid down CAT standards that stands for:

  • Fiar Charges
  • Easy Access
  • Decent Terms

It is to help people identify mortgages that meet minimum standards. If a mortgage is described as meeting the CAT standards it doesn't mean that it is 'Government approved' or necessarily right for you. It just means that they have taken the guidelines into consideration.

Caveat Emptor

Let the buyer beware. The buyer is responsible for making sure that a purchase is of reasonable quality - the onus is upon the buyer to discover, not on the seller to disclose.

Cavity Wall

An external wall of a property that is made up of two leaves of masonry, bricks or blocks separated by a cavity.

Chain

In England and Wales buying property can take a long time and it is further compounded by chains that build up. Essentially, if you aren't a first time or cash buyer you will be dependent on the sale of your property to buy your next property. This can get complex if there are many people in the chain in the same situation. This means you must all complete on the same day to make the purchase of each of the properties viable. The government is looking to make changes to the law to make house buying easier and avoid the problems of chains in the future.

Change of Use

More correctly referred to as a 'material change of use'. A change in the use of land or buildings that is of significance for planning purposes, often requiring planning permission.

Charge

A mortgage deed which lenders (building societies, banks etc) require borrowers to sign. It is registered against the property until the loan is repaid and the charge is removed.

Charge Certificate

An official document issued by the Land Registry to the owner of a registered charge as proof of ownership. It includes a copy of the register and the original charge.

Chief Rent

An annual charge on freehold property found in certain parts of Britain. The chief rent is payable by the freeholder in perpetuity although the amount cannot be increased.

Commission

Fee paid to your estate agent, usually following exchange of contracts.

Completion

The point where the contracts have been exchanged and the legal ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer on the receipt of the monies required to purchase the vendors property.

Completion statement

A statement prepared by the buyer or his solicitor detailing exactly how much the buyer should pay, including the sale price, deposit, and other costs.

Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs)

Notice issued by the government or a local authority to acquire land or property for public interest purposes.

Conditions of sale

These are details drawn up by the conveyance solicitor, which establish the rights and duties of the buyer and the vendor. These may be national, statutory, or reside under the Law Society's conditions.

Conservation Area

An area given statutory protection under the Planning Acts, in order to preserve and enhance its character and townscape.

Conservation Area Consent

Consent required from the local planning authority before demolishing an unlisted property in a conservation area.

Contents insurance

These are not mandatory but provide protection for items in your home, including furniture and personal possessions, in case they're stolen, lost or damaged.

Contract

The legal and binding agreement containing all the essential details of the sale. The contract commits both buyer and vendor to the transaction and sale of the property.

Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ)

An area in which all kerbside space is controlled by either waiting or loading restrictions or by designated parking spaces.

Conveyancer

A solicitor or a licensed conveyancer who is a specialist dealing with all legal aspects of buying and selling a property.

Conveyancing

The term used for all the legal work involved in the transfer from one person to another of the legal ownership of property or land. It deals with obtaining the title deeds from the vendor, negotiating and agreeing the contract for buying your home as well as the Mortgage Deed, which legally charges the property as security for the loan.

Council of Mortgage Lenders - CML

The CML is the trade association for mortgage lenders in the UK, and its members undertake around 98% of UK residential mortgage lending. They devised the Mortgage Code and they exist to provide a service to mortgage lending institutions. They help to establish and maintain a favourable operating environment in the residential mortgage and related housing markets in the UK.

Covenant

Rules and regulations that are attached to a property that are contained in the deeds or lease. They may restrict certain activities or businesses to exist on the property. Many are based from years ago when the land may have been used for other purposes. Your solicitor should highlight any potential problems. However, it is important to study covenants carefully before making an offer to purchase property.

Credit check

An enquiry made on your credit history if you are applying for a mortgage it will result in a credit score being assigned to assess your suitability for a loan.

Credit scoring

When applying for a mortgage your lender may run a credit check on your credit history. The result that is returned from the credit reference agency will give you a score that gives an indication of the risk the lender may by undertaking by agreeing to supply you with a mortgage.

Daily interest

A recent addition to the types of mortgages you can now take out. With this method of calculating mortgage interest, it is charged on the amount of mortgage outstanding from day to day. This means lenders take into account any changes in the amount you owe on a day-to-day basis and it can save you interest charges over the term of your mortgage.

Deeds

Also known as Title Deeds. They are the legal title documents that prove ownership of a property. They are transferred to the new owner on the sale of a property and are held by the mortgage lender.

Deposit

The sum of money that is paid to the vendor on exchange of contracts on a property.

Development

The carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or land.

Development Area

A priority area for environmental, social or economic regeneration.

Development Control

The process whereby a local planning authority decides whether a planning application meets the requirements of planning policy, particularly as set out in development plans.

Development Plan

Document (a structure or local plan) that sets out in writing and/or in maps and diagrams a local planning authority's policies and proposals for the development and use of land and buildings in the authority's area.

Disbursements

The fees paid by the solicitor on the buyer's behalf, such as stamp duty, land registry and search fees, also known as Legal Fees.

Discharge fee

You have to pay this to some lenders for releasing their hold over a property once you've paid off your loan. It often applies if you pay off your mortgage early before the standard term has run but not always.

Discounted rate

This is a guaranteed reduction on the lender's variable rate. It is usually only available for an agreed period of time such as two to five years after which the interest rate reverts to the lender's variable rate.

Draft contract

The preliminary, unconfirmed version of the contract that is drawn up when the sale is first agreed. It will set out the conditions of sale and will need to be confirmed by the vendor's solicitor.

Draft Transfer

A legal document issued by the vendor's solicitor to the purchaser's solicitor setting out the terms and conditions of sale.

Early redemption charge

A charge made by the lender if the borrower terminates a mortgage in advance of the terms of the particular mortgage. Normally occurs when the borrower has benefited from reduced payments or cash back in the early period of a mortgage.

Early redemption fee

If you wish to pay off your mortgage in the early years you will be charged to cover administration costs and cover any losses incurred by your lender. The redemption period varies depending on the terms of your mortgage.

Easement

A right given to the owner of one property over an adjoining property, such as a right of way. This should be carefully considered by your solicitor during the purchase of a property.

Edwardian

Property built between approximately 1901 - 1910.

Engrossment

When the draft deeds to a property are approved they are engrossed for the vendor and purchaser to sign.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Under the Town and Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988, proposers of certain scheduled developments are required to submit a planning application with an accompanying environmental statement, evaluating the likely environmental impacts of the development, together with an assessment of how the severity of the impacts could be reduced.

Equity

The difference between the amount you owe on your mortgage and the current value of your property. For example if your house was valued at £80,000 and you have a £60,000 mortgage, your equity would be £20,000. exchange of contracts When the sale contracts that have agreed between a buyer's conveyancer and a vendor's conveyancer are exchanged. Once you have exchanged contracts you are both legally bound to the transaction.

Established use

A use which does not conform to a plan but against which enforcement proceedings cannot be taken, often because of the length of time a use has been in operation.

Established Use Certificate

These were issued by a planning authority before July 1992 where it could be shown that a use of land or buildings had existed since before 1964. It gave immunity from enforcement action. Since July 1992 these have been replaced by Lawful Development Certificates.

Financial Services Authority - FSA

The Financial Services Authority is an independent body that regulates the financial services industry in the UK.

First charge

Most mortgage lenders lending money will require a first charge. This means the lender has first call on any funds available from the sale of the property to clear the outstanding mortgage debt.

Fixed rate mortgage

A mortgage where the interest rate is fixed for an agreed amount of time, usually between two and ten years. It is unaffected by the lenders variable rates and means that during the agreed term you will know exactly how much your monthly mortgage payments will be. At the end of the arranged period you can take a out another fixed rate mortgage or transfer to a variable rate.

Fixtures and fittings

Items that are to be included in the sale of the house and will be detailed in the contracts.

Freehold

The term used to indicate ownership of a property and more importantly land on which it stands. This means that once you have purchased the property you are the absolute owner of the property and the land it's on.

Further advance

A secured loan to release equity in your house for any purpose. Usually used to make home improvements such as extensions or loft conversions. The loan is added to your main mortgage and your payments recalculated.

Gazumping

This occurs when another potential buyer puts in a higher offer for the property after your offer on the same property has been accepted. This can happen as there is no obligation for the vendor to sell their property to you until contracts have been exchanged.

Gazundering

When a buyer lowers their offer after a sale has been agreed. This is usually just before the contracts are due to be exchanged, making it difficult for the vendor to pull out.

Georgian

Property built between approximately 1714-1800.

Green Belt

Specially designated area of countryside protected from most forms of development in order to stop urban sprawl and the coalescence of settlements, preserve the character of existing settlements and encourage development to locate within existing built-up areas.

Green-field Site

An area not previously used for built development.

Gross

A term used in connection with a sum of money from which tax has not been deducted e.g. mortgage interest before tax relief is deducted.

Ground Rent

Rent paid to the owner of freehold land by a person who has a Lease.

Guarantor

Someone who guarantees an obligation of another.

High percentage loan fee

A fee charged by your lender when you borrow more than 75% of the valuation or purchase price of your new property. The fee is used to buy a Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee (MIG).

Home buyers report

The homebuyer's report comments on the structural condition of most parts of the property that are readily accessible, but does not involve in-depth investigation or the testing of water, drainage or heating systems.

Homebuyers survey & valuation

A property survey that includes a valuation and should reveal any major faults in the property. It is not as detailed as a Structural or Building Survey but will give your mortgage lender a valuation of the property you intend to purchase and outline any major structural repairs that may be required.

Income multiplier

The way lenders work out how much you can borrow for your mortgage. It varies from lender to lender depending on the type of mortgage you require but works by multiplying and individual or combined gross annual salary. For example some lenders with lend you 3 times your individual salary or 2.5 times combined salaries if buying jointly. Personal circumstances are also taken into consideration such as deposit amount available.

Independent financial advisor (IFA)

IFAs can give you help and advice on a range of financial products and services. They are regulated by the Financial Service Authority to ensure that they give you impartial and relevant advice.

Independent savings account

ISA Tax efficient shelter for investments in stocks and shares, life assurance and cash. They can be used as a way of repaying an interest-only mortgage. Some mortgages may be linked to an ISA.

Interest only mortgage

An arrangement with the lender where you are only paying off the interest on the loan over an agreed period of time. None of your capital debt is being repaid directly. This capital amount has to be repaid at the end of the mortgage terms. There are a range of investment products such as endowments and ISAs that you can pay into on a monthly basis. This should grow enough to give you a lump sum pay off the capital at the end of the mortgage term so the house becomes yours.

Land Certificate

Land document issued by the Land Registry to the owner of registered land as proof of ownership. It includes a copy of the register and the plan showing the extent of the land.

Land Compensation

Concerns the assessment of compensation where land, or some other interest in land, is being acquired, either compulsorily, or by agreement, by an authority possessing compulsory purchase powers.

Land registry

The official body responsible for recording the ownership of land.

Land registry fee

Fees paid by a solicitor on the buyer's behalf to register ownership of property with the Land Registry. This ensures that once you have purchased the property you are the legal owner of the land (if freehold).

Leasehold

This means you own a property for a set number of years. When the lease expires, the property returns to the freeholder. Flats are commonly sold as leasehold or your house may be built on leasehold land.

Land Search

A formal application for an inspection of the Land Registry register. A certificate is issued showing the current situation of the land in question.

Legal fees

Fees that will be charged by your solicitor or conveyancer in relation to the purchase or sale of your property. They will include professional fees as well as any search and mortgage fees.

Level term assurance

This term is used within life assurance policies that will repay your mortgage if you die during the term of the loan. The amount that will be paid is set as the balance of your mortgage at the start of the loan and doesn't change during the term of the mortgage.

Life assurance

A form of insurance to insure you or your partner's life. Life assurance policies can run parallel with a mortgage, so it will be repaid if you die before the end of the term.

Listed Building

Building or other structure of special architectural or historic interest.

Listed Building Consent

Permission required for the alteration or demolition of a listed building.

Loan to value - LTV

The Loan to Value refers to the size of the mortgage compared to the value of your house (or purchase price) you are considering buying. For example an £80,000 mortgage on a house worth £100,000 would have an LTV of 80%. local authority search Your conveyancer or solicitor will carry this out when you are buying a property. It gives details of issues in the local area that affect the property. It reveals any proposed changes to the local area, such as road improvements and details any planning permission given for the property. It should also include any proposed developments in the local area that may affect the property.

Local Search

A questionnaire sent to a local Authority by a purchaser's solicitor to verify whether a property is affected by planning proposals, tree preservation orders, etc.

Maintenance charge

The charge (usually levied in flats) to cover the cost of repairing and maintaining the external or internal parts of communal part of a building.

Maximum premium advance - MAP

Also known as Mortgage Risk Fee, a charge which some mortgage lenders impose when the LTV is greater than 90% i.e. you are borrowing more than 90% of the value of the property. The premium is usually charged on the amount of the loan above 75% of the LTV. Different rates apply to different lenders.

Mezzanine

Intermediate floor usually in a multi-story building, which does not extend to the full floor area of the whole building.

Mortgage deed

A legal document establishing a mortgage on a property. It contains the terms of the mortgage and the interest the mortgage lender has in the property.

Mortgage indemnity guarantee - MIG

An insurance policy which some lenders require you to take out before they will grant you a mortgage. It protects your lender if you default on your mortgage and your lender has to repossess the property and sell it for less than the outstanding loan. The insurance policy will not protect you if your property is taken into possession and sold for less than the amount you owe.

Mortgage indemnity premium

An insurance policy that protects the lender if you default on your mortgage payments. You pay this premium but it benefits the lender.

Mortgage Offer

A formal offer of mortgage issued by a building society, bank or other lender once the usual formalities such as references and valuation have been carried out.

Mortgage payment protection

An insurance policy which Covers all or part of your monthly mortgage payment, plus an extra amount to cover mortgage related expenses, for up to a stated period of time should you lose your income due to accident, sickness or unemployment.

Mortgage term

The period of time that your mortgage runs. At the end of this term you will own the property in the case of a repayment mortgage or you have to repay the capital in full if you have an interest only mortgage. It is usually 25 years but it can be longer or shorter depending on your requirements.

Mortgagee

A building society or bank that lends money against the security of the property purchased, i.e. the lender.

Mortgagor

A person who borrows money, to buy a property i.e. the borrower.

National House Building Council - NHBC

On newly built houses you can obtain this guarantee from the NHBC via the house builder. It guarantees the house against any defects which may occur in a given time period. This varies from builder to builder.

Negative equity

When the amount you owe on your mortgage is greater than the value of your property. It particularly becomes a problem if you want to move house. This has not been common in recent years, as property prices have continued to rise. However, if there is a drop in house prices some people may experience negative equity.

Net

A term used in connection with a sum of money from which tax has been deducted e.g. mortgage interest after any tax relief has been deducted.

Offer

The sum of money that a buyer offers to buy a property for. The offer can be accepted or declined by the vendor.

Offer of advance

Once your mortgage application has been assessed, your lender will send you an Offer of Advance which will show how much they are prepared to lend and on what terms. A copy of this document will also be sent to your solicitor.

Offer of loan

A formal document approving the mortgage you have requested and detailing the terms and conditions that will apply.

Office Copies Entries

A Land Registry term for copies of registers and plans, they are officially marked 'office copy' and are legally recognised.

Offsetting

Offsetting is offered by some lenders and gives you the ability to reduce the amount of interest you pay on your debt by not receiving interest on any savings you may have with them.

Ombudsman

Independent professional bodies that investigate complaints on behalf of customers against estate agents, solicitors and insurance companies.

Open market value

An opinion of the best price at which the sale of a property would complete unconditionally for cash consideration on the date of valuation.

Out-of-town

An out-of-centre development on a green-field site or on land not clearly within the current urban boundary.

Overpayments

When the terms of your mortgage allow you to pay more than your normal monthly payment, so you can pay off your mortgage earlier if you want and save on interest charges.

Part-possession

The term used when a property is being sold, where a tenant has legal right of occupation.

Payment holiday

Also known as a payment break and available on some flexible mortgages that allows you to stop making payments to your mortgage for a short period of time, usually around 6 months.

Penalties

Types of charges that may be imposed by the lender if you decide you want to switch mortgages or repay your loan early. It will depend on the type of mortgage you have with your lender.

Pension plan mortgage

An interest only mortgage where the loan is designed to be repaid by a lump sum from a pension plan when you retire.

Peppercorn rent

A nominal rent that is charged on leasehold properties. It should be noted in the conditions of sale but it is rarely collected.

Planning Obligations and Agreements

Legal agreements between a planning authority and a developer, or offered unilaterally by a developer, ensuring that certain extra works related to a development are undertaken, usually under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Pre-Contract Enquiries

Enquiries made by the purchaser's solicitor to the vendor's solicitor requiring information relating to the property being purchased prior to exchange of contracts.

Premium

The amount you pay on a regular basis, usually for an insurance policy.

Premium lease

Upfront fee charged by the letting company as rental payment for a property.

Private Treaty

Formal name given to the method by which most estate agents will undertake the sale of residential property. This term covers the whole range of services normally associated with the sale process, culminating in 'exchange of contracts' and 'completion' between vendor and purchaser.

Probate

Legal term applied to the process of proving that a will is valid.

Public Open Space (POS)

Land provided in urban or rural areas for public recreation, though not necessarily publicly owned.

Public Right of Way

A way where the public has a right to walk, and in some cases ride horses, bicycles, motorcycles or drive motor vehicles, which will be designated either as a footpath, a bridleway, a road used as a public path (RUPP) or a byway.

Purchaser

The person buying the property.

Purchase Notice

This requires a local planning authority to purchase an interest in land where a planning decision conflicts with the private interests of landowners.

Quotations

Quotations from different mortgage lenders and insurance companies. Always seek advice from a Mortgage Broker or an Independent Mortgage Adviser.

Redemption fees

See repayment fees re-mortgaging When you move to one mortgage lender to another without moving property.

Regency

Property built between approximately 1800 - 1837.

Repayment fees

With some mortgages you have to pay a repayment fee if certain things happen. For example, if you pay off some or all of your mortgage, or you transfer to a different mortgage lender, these are also known as Penalties or Redemption Fees.

Repayment mortgage

A mortgage where you repay the sum you borrow over an agreed time period. Each month you are pay off both the interest on the loan and the capital you have borrowed. At the end of the agreed term you will have paid off your mortgage and the house will be yours. You usually pay off interest in the early years and then gradually more of the capital debt in later years. Your property will be repossessed if you are unable to keep up the mortgage payments on your property. Most lenders will work with you to avoid this happening if at all possible.

Reservation fee

If you wish to take out a special offer mortgage (fixed, capped or discounted rates), a reservation fee may be charged to cover any extra administration involved and the special arrangements required to secure the funds. This is also known as an Arrangement Fee.

Reserve facility

An option available on some flexible mortgages that allows you to release equity in your property. As an amount is agreed when you take out the mortgage no further approval is required by the lender and you can take out and repay the amount to suit you.

Reserve price

Properties for sale by auction are normally offered subject to a 'reserve' in which case the property is withdrawn if the highest bid does not reach the reserve price.

Retention

If the results of a survey indicate that some building work is required before the lender will release the mortgage the lender will retain the mortgage until this has been satisfactorily completed.

Ribbon development

A narrow band of development extending along one or both sides of a road.

Rural Development Area

Priority area for economic and social development.

Scale fee

Some solicitors or conveyancers charge a scale fee. This is a fee based on the price being paid for a property or the amount being borrowed, rather than the amount of legal work being carried out.

Sealing fee

Sometimes known as a Vacation Fee, a charge levied by the lender for the administration work involved closing your mortgage account. sole agent when a single agent is instructed to undertake a sale or let.

Searches

Procedure undertaken by a solicitor or legal representative during the conveyancing process to establish whether any issues exist which may adversely affect the property which is to be purchased.

Semi detached property

A property joined to a neighbouring building by a shared wall.

Sole agency

The choice of a single estate agent to act on the seller's behalf, incurring a lower fee than multi-agency.

Special Needs Housing

Housing to meet need arising from homelessness or overcrowding, and purpose-built or supported housing for the elderly or disabled people or those requiring care.

Stamp duty

This is a charge levied by the government if you wish to own your own home. You currently have to pay Stamp Duty if you are moving home and your new home costs more than £250,000. The amount is calculated on the whole purchase price and rises as the price of your home increases. Your solicitor will let you know the stamp duty that will be due on the purchase of your new home and will arrange for this to be paid.

Standard variable rate

This is the standard variable mortgage interest rate that is offered by all lenders. It is usually the rate that you will revert to after a fixed, capped or discount period ends. The rate will usually change in line with the Bank of England Base Rate but is not linked to it.

Structural survey

See Building Survey.

Subject to contract

This is when an offer for a property has been accepted and it is sold subject to contract, i.e. contracts have not been exchanged and there is not yet a legally binding obligation to buy or sell the property.

Sui Generis

Uses of land or buildings which do not fall into any of the use classes identified by the Use Classes Order, for example theatres.

Survey

The three main types are: Basic Valuation, Homebuyers Report and Full Structural Survey.

Surveyor

This is a qualified professional who undertakes valuations, homebuyer and structural or building surveys on the property you wish to purchase on behalf of both you and the lender.

Tenants in common

This is when more than one person buys a property. You become tenants in common and it ensures that if one of you dies their share of the property forms part of their estate and does not automatically pass onto the other party.

Tender

In the process known as 'For Sale By Tender' the asking price will not be stated. Instead, written offers will be invited and a closing date for such offers published. All offers are normally opened at the same time, usually with the vendor's solicitor present. Generally, the vendor is not committed to accepting the highest or any offer.

Terrace Property

One of a row of houses separated only by shared dividing side walls.

Title

The ultimate record of ownership of a property, the evidence of which is found in the title deeds.

Title deeds

See Deeds.

Total amount payable

The Consumer Credit Act requires the lender to show the 'total amount payable' on quotations on mortgages. The 'total amount payable' is the total of the mortgage repayments, or in the case of an interest only mortgage, the interest payable over the term plus the final capital payment. It included any fees, valuation fees and an estimate of any likely legal coast and life assurance premiums linked to the mortgage.

Tracker rate mortgage

A Tracker Mortgage is a variable rate mortgage where the interest rate is linked directly to the Bank of England Base Rate. So whenever the Bank of England Base Rate changes, the rate on the tracker mortgage is guaranteed to change by the same amount within a certain number of days depending on your mortgage agreement.

Transfer deeds

The deeds that transfer the property into your name when you purchase a property. They are issued by the Land Registry.

Transfer document

The final document transferring the property from the vendor to the buyer.

Tree Preservation Order (TPO)

Direction made by a local planning authority that makes it an offence to cut, top, lop, uproot or wilfully damage or destroy a tree without that authority's permission.

Under offer

When the vendor has accepted an offer to buy the property from a prospective purchaser it is said to be 'under offer' underpayments With some flexible mortgages you can under pay up to the limit of an previous over payments. You can pay less than your normal monthly mortgage payments for a limited period, but you have to build up a fund of overpayments first.

Unregistered land

Where ownership of land is established by a bundle of deeds but is not registered on the registered land system with the Land Registry.

Urban Fringe

Predominantly open land on the edge of an existing urban area.

Urban Regeneration

The re-use or redevelopment of decaying or run-down parts of older urban areas to bring them new life and economic vitality.

Vacant Possession

A well used estate agency phrase which means that the property being offered will be vacant upon completion of the sale. The property is therefore offered free from any such encumbrances such as a sitting tenant or service tenancy.

Vacation fee

See Sealing Fee.

Valuation

An independent assessment of the value of the property you wish to purchase by an approved surveyor. It is paid for by you and is a very basic survey. This valuation is then used by your lender to decide how much they are prepared to lend you. In addition to the valuation you can also take out a Homebuyers Survey or a more detailed Building or Structural survey.

Variable base rate

See Standard Variable Rate.

Vendor

The person who is selling their property.

Victorian

Property built between approximately 1837 - 1901.

Village Envelope

Boundaries defined on a map beyond which the local planning authority proposes that a village should not be allowed to extend.

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