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Useful Rental Terms

Lettings don't have to be difficult so here are a list of useful rental terms to help you through the jargon.


An authorised person or company that acts on behalf of a landlord.  They may be involved in the letting, collection of rent, and management of the property.  If the property is advertised by an agent they are legally bound to include the letting fee within the advert.


Rental that remains unpaid at the end of the tenancy agreement.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy

This gives the landlord the right to repossess their property at the date stated on the tenancy agreement.

Buy to let mortgage

A mortgage for people buying a property that they intend to rent out.


A written agreement that is enforceable by law.

Contractual Term

A fixed period of time which states when the tenancy begins and finishes.

Credit Check

A check run on a tenant who is applying to rent a property.  This will check a tenant’s credit history.


Monies held by the agent or landlord as security against damage to the property.  Normally one and a half months rent.  These funds are held in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme, if an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.  The agent or landlord is legally bound to register these funds.  At the end of the tenancy these funds are returned to the tenant so long as the property has been left in an acceptable condition.


Damage to a property or contents that exceeds acceptable wear and tear.


Contracts to let residential property are for a fixed term. On expiration of that term an extension may be negotiated, which can be referred to as a renewal, for a further fixed term, or month-by-month statuary periodic tenancy.

Fixtures and fittings

Items usually provided in a property that may include curtains, carpets, light fittings, kitchen units, and appliances. In some cases it may also include furniture.

Gas Safety Regulations

The Landlord must ensure that a gas safety check is carried out prior to letting, and then annually after that. An authorised engineer must carry out the check and a copy must be given to the tenant.


A person who guarantees the rental payments.   The guarantor is liable to pay the rent if the tenant is unable to do so.

Holding Deposit

A sum of money to secure the property whilst the agent does checks on the prospective tenant.  If the tenancy doesn’t go ahead this money is often retained by the agent.  If the tenancy does go ahead it is normally deducted from the deposit.

Initial Term

The first period of the tenancy.


Detailed list of the condition and cleanliness of the property and all its contents.  This should be checked when taking over a property.  It should also be checked when vacating the property.


The person or company that has the right to let the property. 


An agreement to let a particular property.

Maintenance Charge

A charge payable covering the cost of repairing and maintaining the external or communal parts of a building.

Managing Agent

A professional or company responsible under an agency agreement for the maintenance and management of the property.

Notice Period

The amount of notice that the Landlord must give the Tenant to end the tenancy, and vice versa.

Owner Occupier

The person who owns the property and lives there. 


This term, after any monetary figure, stands for Per Calendar Month.

Private Rented Sector

The letting of residential property owned by private landlords.


Written statements from employer, previous landlord, etc that state a tenant is of good character, has been a trouble free tenant in the past, and is able to pay the rental on the property.

Studio apartment/flat

An apartment where the living space is combined.

Subject to Contract

A verbal agreement has been reached but the contract is in the process of being drawn up ready to be signed.  At this stage neither party is legally bound.


Where an existing tenant lets part of the property to another person.


A person, persons, company, or organisation that is entitled to occupy a property under the terms and conditions of a tenancy agreement.

Tenancy agreement

A legal binding document containing details about rental terms, name of landlord and tenant, address of property - along with terms of living in the property.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

A landlord is bound by law to protect the deposit.  It has to be lodged with a deposit scheme. 

The Term of Tenancy

This refers to the length of a tenancy. Most initial tenancy agreements are for a minimum of six months.


The end of the tenancy.