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Our A-Z of property related jargon is designed to help you familiarise yourself with property terminology you might come across during the letting or renting process.

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An agent generally refers to the person that acts on behalf of the landlord who may be involved in the letting, sales, rent collection, property management or any services related to estate agency.

Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)

ARLA is the professional and regulatory body for letting agents in the UK. The Frost Partnership is an ARLA licensed letting agent. ARLA is the only professional body that is solely concerned with the regulation of Letting Agents, and for 25 years has been actively promoting the highest standards across every aspect of residential letting and management. ARLA member firms are required to work within the codes of practice, which covers the key stages of Letting and Management of property.

Break clause

A break clause is an important clause in a lease that provides either or both parties the ability to terminate the lease early on the service of notice.

Buy-to-let mortgage

Generally buy-to-let mortgages require a deposit of 15-25% of the property’s market value and the mortgage lender will base your mortgage off the investment potential of your property not your salary.


Conversion is when a property layout is changed to accommodate self-contained flats, bedsits or maisonettes.


If you live in the country in the UK you may not have access to public sewers so a cesspit captures sewerage from the property. Cesspits are typically emptied on a monthly basis.

Client money protection (CMP)

CMP is an insurance scheme that covers any money handled by your letting agent, whether you are a landlord, tenant or other client. Provided by professional bodies such as ARLA. Please click here for details of The Frost Partnership’s Client Money Protection


The commission is the estate agent's fee for successfully completing the rental of a property.

Common areas

Area of land or buildings, such as gardens, hallways, recreational facilities and parking areas, where more than one resident shares access.

Contents insurance

This is insurance which a tenant should consider to protect their belongings such as furniture, jewellery, pictures and items of value against fire, damage and theft. You should ask for it to include cover to re-house you in the event of fire or flood damage rendering the let property uninhabitable.

Council tax

Tax charged to the person living in the property such as the tenant (or property owner if the property is empty). It is a contribution to local services such as police, waste collection and the fire service. The council tax varies depending on the property’s value and is set annually by the individual Local Authority and paid monthly.


The covenants are rules and regulations governing the property, contained in its Title Deeds or Lease.

Credit check

The procedure by which a check is made on the credit history of an applicant, usually conducted by one of the large dedicated credit rating agencies. The check will reveal history of credit card repayments, outstanding debts, arrears and County Court Judgments.


Term used to describe a property that stands alone and is separated from all others.


At the end of a tenancy a check out will be carried out and a schedule of dilapidations is produced. This details the differences between the condition of the property and its contents at the start of the tenancy and that of the same at the end of the tenancy, save for fair wear and tear.

Draft tenancy agreement

Preliminary version of the tenancy agreement contract.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

The action of selling or letting a property in the UK requires an EPC from the owner or landlord. The EPC assesses the energy performance of a property by reviewing how the building is constructed, insulated, heated, ventilated and the types of fuel used which contributes to its carbon dioxide emissions. An EPC report measures the energy efficiency of a property using a scale of A-G and the report advises owners how to achieve a better EPC rating.

Fixtures and fittings

Fixtures and fittings is a loose term relating to all non-structural items included in the purchase of a property.


A guarantor is a person who promises to pay the borrower's debt if the borrower defaults.

Household insurance

An insurance policy that protects against loss or damage to the property caused by fire, some natural causes and acts of vandalism.


Inventories are created before a tenant moves into a rented property. It is an essential service which protects both the tenant and landlord. Inventories detail the condition of the property and any items the landlord has left in the property during the tenancy. The inventory is referred to before the tenant moves in (check-in) and when the tenant moves out (check out). They are paid for by both the tenant, and the landlord.


A contractually binding agreement that grants a right to exclusive possession or use of property, usually in return for a periodic payment called rent.

Maintenance charge (or service charge)

The cost of repairing and maintaining external or internal communal parts of a building charged to the tenant or leaseholder.

Managing agent

A managing agent refers to the agent that has been instructed to oversee the property. Managing agents may have varying responsibilities, some include property maintenance management services, or others it is landlord and tenant services. The Frost Partnership offers a wide range of property management services.


A maisonette is a self-contained apartment within a larger house with its own entrance from the outside.

National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)

NAEA is the UK's leading professional body for estate agency. The Frost Partnership is a member. Its international members are bound by strict rules of conduct to ensure they offer you the highest level of integrity and service, while the association's entry qualification means you can be sure you are dealing with an professional property agency.

Notice period

The notice period refers to the amount of notice time that the landlord must give the tenant and vice versa.


An offer is a sum of money and terms and conditions that a tenant offers to the landlord, to pay for a property.


The premises are part or parts of a building that may include boundaries, fences, gardens and outbuildings, belonging to the Landlord.

Property Alerts

Property Alert is an automatic email property alert service provided by The Frost Partnership, highlighting properties you might be interested in. Sign up for Property Alerts and be the first to hear about properties you are interested as they come on to the market.


References or ‘reference checks’ allow a Landlord to check a tenancy applicant’s suitability to be able to pay the rent and also the applicant’s track record in earlier rentals. This often involves contacting previous landlords, the present employer or accountant if self employed

Rent review

Generally leases contain clauses providing for a periodical review of the rent, The lease will generally specify the basis of review, which will compared to market value.

Rent guarantee and legal protection

Rent guarantee and legal protection is a type of insurance that landlords can have to protect from loss of rent and towards fees involved with evicting non-paying tenants.

Security Deposit

The sum paid by the tenant in respect of any damage or disrepair occasioned to the property (save for fair wear and tear) including in respect of any rent and claims for damages to the contents or any other obligation contained in the tenancy agreement.


Semi-detached properties relate to properties that are joined to one other house.

Sole agent

When a landlord chooses only one estate agent to let their property.

Studio flat

Studio flats tend to consist of one main room or open-plan living area designed to cook and sleep in with a separate area for a bathroom or shower room.

Subject to contract

Subject to contract is a legal terminology indicating an agreement is not yet legally binding and depends upon the terms yet to be agreed within the contract.


A tenant is a person, or number of people, a company or organisation who is entitled to occupy a property under the terms and conditions of a tenancy agreement.

Tenancy agreement

This is the legal document that agrees the terms and conditions of letting a property between a landlord and tenant. The agreement explains the rent to be paid, the date it should be paid, the rights and responsibilities of a landlord and tenant and under what circumstances the agreement can be terminated. The assured shorthold is the most common agreement used in the UK.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

Run by the Company for the protection of tenancy deposits and the resolution of disputes between landlords, agents and tenants concerning the return of deposits at the end of a tenancy. The TDS is a mandatory scheme that has been set up in accordance with the Housing Act 2004. The Frost Partnership register all deposits held on behalf of tenancy agreements with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).

Terraced house

Terraced houses refer to a property that forms part of a connected row of houses separated only by shared dividing walls.


Termination is the coming or bringing to an end of a lease, by mutual agreement, by the passing of time, or by the exercise of a right of one of the parties.


Utilities normally refer to electricity, gas and water and may be referred to as services that under most circumstances – in most, if not all leases the tenant is responsible for paying all the utility services.


Refers to income from a property calculated as a percentage of its value.

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