Renting Jargon – What Does it all Mean?

Updated: March 9, 2019

Residential Lettings can, at times, be a bit of a confusing minefield and sometimes we forget that not all our readers are experienced with all the technical terms and abbreviations.

So we have decided to create this list of rental jargon busters for Landlords, Tenants and Letting Agents.

Renting Dictionary


Jargon terms and their meanings

  • Accelerated Possession Procedure – This is a quicker and cheaper way of obtaining possession of a property which is created under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy if a Section 21 notice has already been served and has expired. The conditions of this procedure are that the tenant must be the original tenant and the landlord must not be claiming any rent arrears.
  • Appointed Representative – When a Lettings Agency is regulated and monitored by a chosen principal firm, and offers a certain insurance product.
  • Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) – This is a type of assured tenancy under the Housing Act 1988, granted for a fixed or periodic term. Giving the tenant only limited security of tenure. The AST is now the automatic default tenancy created between a landlord and a tenant of the residential property. A landlord must give at least two months’ notice to end an AST. Tenants have security for the fixed period or six months, whichever is longer.
  • Break Clause – A break clause is when either a Landlord or Tenant wishes to exercise an option to terminate a tenancy agreement during a fixed-term lease. This may be exercised after a certain period or on the occurrence of a specific event.  A break clause would be written into the agreement before both parties signed.
  • Clawback – Clawback is a method of retrieving overpayments of housing benefit, for example, if a tenant makes a fraudulent claim. Overpayments cannot be recovered if they are due to an administrative error by the local authority.
  • Consideration – Consideration is used in Law to describe the legal term for (rent) payment. Consideration does not necessarily have to be money — it can be goods or property. A tenant skilled in boat making may offer to build the Landlord a Boat in return for 6 months accommodation. The consideration does not have to reflect fair value.
  • Contract – An agreement recognised in law that can be enforced by the courts. It may be written, spoken, a mixture of written and spoken or implied by the conduct of the parties involved. Contracts in Lettings are commonly referred to as Licences or Leases.
  • Dilapidations – The word, dilapidations, is a technical term meaning ‘disrepair’ or ‘damage’. It is usually the letting agent’s role to assess dilapidations at the end of a tenancy. Allowances must be made for fair wear and tear.  If a Landlord manages their own property, the landlord may employ an inventory clerk to assess the damage but only if there was an inventory drafted at the start of the tenancy.
  • Due Diligence – Due diligence may often be used by Landlords or Letting Agents as a defence against prosecution.  For example, under the plugs and sockets etc (safety) regulations 1994, if an agent or landlord can prove they have taken all reasonable precautions to make sure furnishings are safe, they have not committed an offence.
  • Exclusive Possession – A tenant’s sole right to live in a property, or part of it, which makes them a lawful tenant. Exclusive possession is one of the three key elements of a tenancy (along with rent and a time period). This was established by the court case of Street v Mountford in 1985
  • Fixed-Term Lease – Meaning a tenancy that lasts for a predetermined amount of time, e.g. 12 months. Fixed term leases can’t be ended early. At the end of a fixed term lease, it will become a periodic lease.
  • PCM Rent – Meaning Per Calendar Month Rent. This abbreviation is commonly found on adverts for rental properties.
  • Periodic Lease – Unlike a fixed term lease, a periodic lease last indefinitely until either the landlord or tenant decide to end the lease.
  • POA – Another abbreviation that is often seen on property adverts. It means Price On Application. So, you would have to make an enquiry to the Landlord Or Letting Agent to obtain the price.
  • Section 8 Notice – A legal notice used by landlords to end a tenancy early in circumstances where the stipulations of a tenancy agreement have been broken.
  • Section 21 notice – A notice served by a landlord to a tenant to start the process of eviction or repossession of a rental property. More information on when you can or can’t issue a section 21 notice can be found here.
  • Rent Arrears – Rent arrears are the total amount of unpaid rent on a current tenancy agreement. In 2019 it is expected that over 120,000 private renters will fall into arrears. Protect yourself from rent arrears with our rent on time package.

Download our 30 point checklist for first time landlords.  It’s packed with useful information to help first time landlords getting ready to rent out a property.

If you would like to contribute to our renting jargon buster, or have any terms you’d like us to explain, please use the comments fields below.

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