Jargon Buster A to J
Agent of necessity
Where an estate agent acts beyond their normal authority in an emergency. The agent must act reasonably to be deemed to have such authority
In marketing, adverts should initiate awareness, interest, desire and action
Includes a spouse (husband or wife, former spouse or common law spouse) or relative (brother,sister,uncle,aunt, nephew, niece) lineal ancestor (parents and grandparents, including step-parents etc) or Lineal descendants (children and grandchildren, including illegitimate children etc) or business associate, e.g. director, controller or partner of a business
A method of selling property, usually held in public at a designated time and place, where buyers make competitive bids for the property
Abstract Of Title
A document prepared by the Vendor’s solicitor which relates to unregistered land proving the Vendor owns the land, and that any previous mortgages have been paid settled.
Additional Security Fee
An upfront one-off fee paid to the lender, in order to protect them against the borrower defaulting on the loan. Also known as a Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee.
The person appointed by the courts to manage the affairs of a deceased person who died without specifically naming someone in their will to carry out that work.
A restrictive covenant preventing certain work to a property which may have been imposed hundreds of years ago. It can be possible to take out insurance against such a covenant being enforced.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
The total cost of a loan, which includes the costs, interest charges, and arrangement fees.
A certificate provided by an architect, which confirms their overseeing of the construction of a building. Building societies are unlikely to lend on a new-build house in the absence of either an architect’s certificate or an NHBC Guarantee.
A shaped moulding which frames door and window openings.
The Association of Residential Letting Agents.
The transfer of ownership of an insurance policy or lease.
The sale of a property to the highest bidder, provided the amount exceeds any reserve. Buyers are required to sign a contract and pay a deposit immediately.
Three main types are used for house building, common bricks, facing bricks and engineering bricks
A long section of timber used to face the edge of a pitched roof at the point where it meets the gable end.
Basic Variable Mortgage Rate
The mortgage lender’s standard rate of interest which may be increased or decreased, depending on prevailing economic conditions.
A length of timber to which roof tiles are fixed.
A person for whose benefit property is being held by trustees, executors or administrators.
A tar like substance which when heated becomes liquid, and then hardens after cooling. Generally used for joining both layers of a flat felt roof.
A temporary loan, which allows a buyer to complete on the purchase of a property before selling their previous property.
Prior to the owner of a property carrying out extension work, alterations or structural changes, building regulations need to be obtained from the local authority giving their approval for the work to commence.
Buy To Let Mortgage
A type of mortgage specifically for investors buying a property with the intention of then letting it out.
A window which has hinged opening sections (casements)
The law which covers non-criminal activities between organisations and individuals
A separate bank account in which money not belonging to the estate agent (e.g. deposits paid by proposed buyers) is deposited, separately from the normal firms account. This is a requirement of the estate agency’s act 1979
Code of Measuring Practice
This code, published by the RICS sets out the accepted way to measure residential and non residential property
Common law refers to law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals (called case law), rather than through legislative statutes or executive action, and to corresponding legal systems that rely on precedential case law
Commonhold is a system of property ownership in England and Wales. It was introduced in 2004 by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 as an alternative to leasehold, and is the first new type of legal estate to be introduced in English law since 1925
The legal term for payment (one of the essential parts of a legally binding contract). The consideration does not always have to be money; it can be property or goods, for example. Also the consideration does not have to reflect fair value
The deposit paid by the buyer, usually at exchange of the contracts. This is normally 10% of the purchase price and is held by the sellers solicitor (see also Pre-contract deposit)
Where brickwork is stepped out and width of a wall is increased, to give further support to a building
Course (of bricks)
A single horizontal line of bricks
Law covering any activities thought to be detrimental to the state or society
The estate agents employer or owner (for an employee), any employee (for an employer or owner) or any asso
Capital Gains Tax
A tax upon any profit realised on the disposal of an asset. Owner occupied properties are generally exempt from Capital Gains Tax.
Is provided by lenders with an upper limit on the interest rate, normally agreed for a fixed period of time.
County Court Judgement, any person who has defaulted on payments or has bad debts could have a CCJ taken out against them by the courts, which could prevent that person from obtaining a mortgage offer.
A legal term covering a registered claim against a property as security for money owing.
Chattels is one of those quaint old English words much loved by the legal profession, which in modern-day language means any of your moveable property or possessions, other than freehold land and buildings.
Chemical Damp Proof Course
A form of damp proof course using a chemical compound injected into the brickwork.
The date of payment of the balance of the purchase money, when the buyer is entitled to take possession of the property.
The lack of adequate ventilation in a room causes an accumulation of moist air, which when it meets a cold wall or window deposits moisture in the form of condensation. Can easily be cured by an increase in ventilation and improving insulation.
Conditions Of Sale
The details that determine the rights and duties of the buyer and seller.
A legally binding written document of agreement between two parties approved by both sides' solicitors, and setting out the agreed terms by which both sides are committed to proceed to completion.
This occurs when two parties have made an offer on the same house, usually at the same price. The vendor will sell to whichever party exchanges contracts first.
Is either taken to mean the act of transferring ownership of a property, or alternatively the legal document which effects the transfer.
Generally a “flat” stone used to cap the top of parapet walls or garden walls.
A binding promise in a deed to do or not to do something i.e., maintenance of a fence, or restrictions to trading from a premises.
A remedy under common law. The party awarded damages will be put in the same position as if the contract had been performed. Damages claimed have to be reasonable
Damp proof course (DPC)
A moisture barrier inserted into a wall to stop moisture from the soil below ground level being transmitted up through the brickwork. Many properties were built without DPCs. DPCs were originally formed in slate or bitumen. Most modern properties have a PVC damp proof course (see also damp proof membrane)
The carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations is, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change of use in any buildings or other land, as defined in Section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990
The treatment of one group of people less favourably than another group
An extra layer of glazing used in windows and glazed doors to help prevent heat loss, or for sound insulation
Double pitched roof
A roof that slopes on two sides. Types of double pitched roofs include close couple roofs, purlin and rafter roofs and trussed rafter roofs
A form of wood rot which thrives on a high humidity and leaves the timber dry and brittle with cracks both along and across the grain
Display Screen Equipment
A possible defence against conviction under the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991. To avoid prosecution, an estate agent must show that they look all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence to ensure an offence did not occur, e.g. good checking procedures, recording procedures and staff training (see also Reliance on information provided)
Damp Proof Membrane
A sheet of polythene or other impervious material incorporated in a solid floor to prevent rising damp.
Deed Of Variation
See "Defective Lease" below.
A badly drafted lease. If this is serious, the vendor may have to obtain a “deed of variation” getting the freeholder’s permission to change the original terms of the lease.
This is a sum of money required from the buyer when he enters into an enforceable agreement. This is usually on the signing of the contract, and can be between 5 and 10 per cent of the purchase price.
These refer to disrepair or damage done to a rented property.
These are fees paid by the buyer’s solicitor on the buyer’s behalf, such as stamp duty, land registry fees, and search fees.
A window which projects outwards from a pitched roof.
This is a preliminary unconfirmed version of the contract, prepared by the vendor’s solicitor.
This is a method of finishing to walls whereby they are lined with plasterboard rather than layers of wet plaster based coats. After which, a thin finishing coat of plaster is then applied. This method of finishing an interior wall ensures that the plaster dries significantly quicker (hence the name).
The original meaning refers to an auction in reverse, where an offer price is announced and the auctioneer gradually reduces it until a bid is made. However this meaning has been lost, and a Dutch auction now refers to the informal bidding that takes place when two or more potential buyers are outbidding each other for a property.
A property built between approximately 1901 and 1918
The side or face of a building. Elevations can be front, side or rear
A legal document, written in its final form
A matter derived from equity which owes its origins to common law
A person or persons appointed in a will to carry out the wishes of a deceased person which may involve the sale of property
Where a seller gives an estate agent the authority to act through a contract between them. The contract must be in writing, to comply with the Estate Agents Act 1979
A term given to a right which someone may enjoy over another property. These can be rights of way, drainage rights, or more likely access to a neighbour’s land in order to carry out repairs to their own property.
The underneath section of a roof overhang.
A liability imposed on the owner of a property, which is then binding on subsequent owners.
These are not as popular as they were, and involve both building society and an insurance company. Repayments to the building society are in respect of interest only. The capital sum outstanding remains constant throughout the term, and is repaid by means of an endowment policy taken out with the insurance company when the policy matures or in the event of death of the policy holders.
Deeds are usually drawn up in draft form for approval by each party’s solicitors. When the deeds are approved, sometimes after amendments, the final drafts are then engrossed for all parties to sign.
The difference between the value of a property and the amount of mortgage owed.
Is a roof that slopes to one side with a pitch of approximately 10degree. The minimum pitch for a flat roof is 2degree
A method of property sale where all interested parties are invited to submit sealed bids by a given date and time. There is strict adherence to the tender process with no discussion between the sellers and bidders at to matters of negotiation or price
The structure below a damp proof course level which supports the building. The most common types are strip foundations, raft foundations and ground beams supported on piles
Fixtures And Fittings
All non-structural items included in the purchase of a property.
Thin sheets of lead or similar material used to form a waterproof join at the point where two structures of differing angles meet, normally on a roof. In Victorian times these were often made with cement, and generally need to be replaced.
This can occur when first floor accommodation forming part of one freehold is located over ground floor accommodation forming part of another freehold. The first floor freeholder does not own the land beneath the property, and is then said to own a “flying freehold”.
Forced Sale Value
A price one would expect to obtain for a property on the open market without delay, assuming that a normal or reasonable amount of time is not available in which to market that property.
The front boundary of a property.
A property built between approximately 1714 and 1830
The price the auctioneer is hoping to achieve at the auction
A horizontal channel, usually fixed to the eaves, which collects rain water from a roof to discharge via downspouts and down pipes into drains or the soil
This is the side wall of a house when it extends upwards into the inverted “V” of a pitched roof.
In the event of two people wishing to purchase the same property, one buyer may offer more than the other to tempt the seller into proceeding with him. This is despite the fact that the seller may have already accepted the other buyer’s offer, subject to contract. There is no legal obligation to the first buyer, only a moral one.
This is similar to gazumping, except on this occasion it is the purchaser reducing his offer prior to exchange of contracts. It probably goes without saying that gazumping is prevalent in an active market, and gazundering in a slow market.
When a person lets land to another and he then subsequently builds on the land, the rent passing is in respect of the land only and is therefore known as ground rent.
A mortgage lender may require a borrower to appoint a guarantor. This is someone who promises to pay the borrower’s debt if the borrower defaults, could for example be a parent taking personal responsibility should their child default on payments.
The Health and Safety at work etc Act 1974
A roof that slopes on all four sides, meeting at a central ridge
Where the moisture content of the soil increases under a building. Also known as ‘heave’
Home information pack
Information about a property which is commissioned before the property goes onto the market
A small water storage tank normally placed in a roof, which is required to replace water lost in a hot water system due to expansion.
Home Buyers Survey And Valuation Report
This is a survey report which is not as detailed as a full structural survey and is carried out by a chartered surveyor.
Stands for Home Information Pack which must be obtained before the marketing can commence on a property.
Where one group of people cannot comply with a certain condition which is applied to all groups, or were only very few of that group can comply
A remedy under equity, where the court orders a party not to carry out a certain act
A material used to reduce the rate of heat loss from a building, e.g. fibreglass, polystyrene, sheets, mica beads, which can be installed in roof spaces, flat roofs, cavity walls and as inner linings to solid walls
Clay or concrete roof tiles manufactured to incorporate grooves along the sides of the tiles so that they interlock with the adjoining tiles
Invitation to treat
An invitation by a seller to buyers to negotiate on the price of a property
Independent Financial Advisor.
Building societies operate in accordance with the Building Societies Act. This provides that the maximum advance they can make on a property without additional security is 75% of the purchase price or surveyor’s valuation for pre 1919 properties, and 80% for post 1919 properties. When a society lends in excess of this percentage, the excess is guaranteed by an indemnity policy. A single premium is payable by the purchaser when the mortgage is taken out.
Interest Only Mortgage
An interest only mortgage stays the same throughout the mortgage term. When choosing an interest only mortgage, the purchaser is responsible for ensuring that they have sufficient funds available to repay the mortgage at the end of the term.
A list describing the condition of furnishings and the contents of a leased property at the start and end of a tenancy, in order that any dilapidations during the tenancy can then be identified.
Requires competing buyers to submit their best bids by a specific time and date. It is not a legally binding contract.
A form of ownership for two parties whereby if one of them dies, their share of the property will automatically transfer to the remaining party, giving them full ownership (regardless of the terms of the deceased owner's will
The sides of a doorway or window opening
Joint sale agency
Where two agents work jointly on behalf of a seller on a collaborative basis, no other agent being instructed during the joint sole agency period
Horizontal lengths of timber used in the main structure of floors for ceilings
A method of deciding about new cases by referring them back to decisions in old cases