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If you're confused about any term used on this website or in any of our documents, here's a handy tool to help you understand the inevitable jargon. If you still confused about ANYTHING, then please contact us and we'll be happy to explain!

Just click on the alphabet letters below to see the jargon and descriptions you're searching for:

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) is a professional and regulatory body for letting agents in the UK.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)

This is the standard tenancy agreement normally used for residential letting. The Assured Shorthold Tenancy (commonly abbreviated to "AST") is a formal legally-binding document that is essentially your "tenancy agreement" and which sets out the terms and conditions, rent amount and frequency etc. as agreed between the landlord and tenant.

Bond (Deposit)

Money paid as a reassurance that the tenant will look after the property during the rental period and which is held by eithe the Landlord or the Agent - and which is to intended to be returned at the end of the tenancy else used for outstanding rent or property damage.

Break Clause

A break clause MAY be defined within a fixed term tenancy (not an Assured Shorthold Tenancy) and is a mutually agreed "break" period which allows both the landlord and tenant to re-evaluate the contract and end it prematurely if required.

Buildings Insurance

Buildings Insurance is taken out by the landlord and is insurance against damage to the actual building itself - it does NOT cover CONTENTS of the tenant!

Buy To Let Mortgage

A "Buy To Let" mortgage is a mortgage which has been taken out on a property purchased specifically for renting.


The process of undertaking the final check of a rented property carried out after a tenant has vacated. The condition of the property and contents is checked against the inventory and the report is used as evidence for the settlement of the deposit.

Contents Insurance

Insurance that covers loss or damage to tenants possessions within the home.

Credit Check

Electronic check undertaken on prospective tenants that identifies and confirms current and previous addresses and whether there are any histories of County Court Judgements

Deposit (Bond)

Money paid as a reassurance that the tenant will look after the property during the rental period and which is held by eithe the Landlord or the Agent - and which is to intended to be returned at the end of the tenancy else used for outstanding rent or property damage.

Deposit Dispute

A dispute (disagreement) arising from the return or withholding of some or all of the Deposit/Bond

Dilapidation Repair

Property repairs that need to be undertaken to put the property back to its original condition prior to rental

Deposit Protection Service (DPS)

The Deposit Protection Service - www.depositprotection.com - the DPS is a one of the largest suppliers specialising in deposit protection in the UK, and offering a choice of custodial or insurance-based protection for both landlords and letting agents.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

An Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) is an asset rating and tells you how energy efficient a building is and its impact on the environment. Properties are rated on a scale of A-G where an A rating is the most energy efficient. The Certificate will also include recommendations on methods by which you can improve your home's energy efficiency, which can save you money and help the environment.

EPCs for commercial buildings (non-domestic) are a two-page certificate rated by Carbon Dioxide emission ratings on a scale of A-G and have a separate recommendations report.

All rented properties must by law have an EPC.

Fixed Term Tenancy

A tenancy with a specified sart and end date.

Gas Safety Certificates

A "Landlords Gas Safety Certificate" is check conducted on the safety of a rental property's gas appliances and associated pipework by Gas Safe Registered Engineers.

Gas Safety Certificates are undertaken annually and is the responsibility of the landlord.


A Guarantor is someone who guarantees that the tenant's rent and general conduct throughout the tenancy will be maintained, else they will be liable for any shortfalls. A Guarantor - for Zed Lettings - will need to be over 25, working or own their own home.

Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHRS)

HHRS is introduced within the Housing Act 2004, and requires landlords or letting agents to conduct a risk assessment on all properties in accordance with a 29 point checklist and to take steps to minimise such risks, whilst recognising we can never eliminate risks completely.

House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

A house in multiple occupation is a property rented out by at least 3 people (Shared Occupancy) who are not from 1 'household' (eg a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. It's sometimes called a 'house share'.

You must have a licence if you're renting out a large HMO. Your property is defined as a large HMO if all of the following apply:

  • it's rented to 5 or more people who form more than 1 household
  • it's at least 3 storeys high
  • tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities

For more information on HMO's - click here

Housing Benefit (HB)

Housing Benefit is a benefit for people on a low income to help them pay their rent. You may be able to get Housing Benefit if you are on other benefits, work part-time or work full-time on a low income. You cannot get Housing Benefit to help with the costs of a mortgage or home loan.


An Inventory is a detailed document which itemises either the fixtures and fittings or furnishings associated with a rental property. The Inventory details the condition of all items and with Zed Lettings, is countersigned by both the Letting Agent and the Tenant on sign-up.

Improvement Notice

Where a property requires remedial work to bring it up to an acceptable living standard, the local authorities (Environmental Health Department) can serve an improvement Notice upon the managing agent or landlord. Failure to act upon such a notice is a criminal offence.

Joint Tenancy

A Joint Tenancy involves two or more tenants defined in the AST, each of which have equal rights and responsibilities "joint and several".


Legal owner of a property which is rented out to tenants.

Let Subject To Contract

"Let Subject To Contract" is a temporary property status which confirms that an application has been taken on a property and subject to the contract (AST) being completed, is Let to the applicant.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a new way of working out Housing Benefit for tenants in private rented accommodation. It will affect new claims or existing claims where you move or have a break in your claim from 7th April 2008. LHA is a new way of deciding rent payments for people receiving Housing Benefit (HB).


An ombudsman or public advocate is usually appointed by the Government or by parliament, but with a significant degree of independence, who is charged with representing the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints of maladministration or a violation of rights.

PCM (Per Calendar Month)

PCM refers to the rental amount required "Per Calendar Month" - as opposed to 4-weekly.

Penalty Clause

Penalty clauses in contracts allow for a party to charge extra money if the other ... fails to follow the terms of the contract, such as a late payment or failure to pay.

Periodic Tenancy

A periodic tenancy is a tenancy which runs from month to month, or less commonly from week to week. Some run from quarter to quarter or even year to year, but the vast majority run from month to month.

Portable Appliance Test (PAT)

An electrical safety check carried out on both small and large electrical appliances. Although not legally required to have a PAT test prior to renting, the landlord must ensure that any appliances provided within the tenancy are safe to use.

Reference Check

Reference Check - Employer: Contacting previous employers of a potential tenant to determine job security and pay scales detailed in tenancy application forms.

Reference Check - Landlords: Contacting previous landlords of a potential tenant to determine details such as previous rental payments made on time, Notices served or any other issues


Payment, usually of an amount fixed by contract, made by a tenant at specified intervals in return for the right to occupy or use the property of another.

Rent Assessment Committee

A rent assessment committee is a tribunal in England and Wales set up under the rent acts whose main task is to assess fair and market rents of properties referred to it. There is a statutory right of appeal to the High Court of England and Wales and thence to the Court of Appeal.

Rental yield

If you divide this into the value of the property, including all the costs associated with buying it, you have the 'true' or 'net rental yield'. So, if net rental income is £10,000 and the property cost £200,000, the net rental yield is simply £10,000 divided by £200,000 which equals 0.05 or 5%.

Schedule of Condition (part of the Inventory)

A Schedule of Condition is prepared prior to completion of the tenancy. It is prepared, almost exclusively for the benefit of tenants, but can also be prepared for landlords.

It is a factual record of the property at the beginning of the tenancy, its purpose is to prevent tenants being made responsible for repairs to elements of the property in poor repair at the start of the lease.

Zed Lettings prepare a Schedule of Condition as part of the Inventory process.

Section 21 Notice

Section 21 notices are eviction notices used by landlords in England & Wales when they want to evict tenants at the end of the fixed term.

Section 8 Notice

Section 8, also known as the 'Section 8 Notice to Quit' and the 'Section 8 Possession Notice', is a necessary pre-requisite where the landlord of an assured tenancy wishes to obtain possession order from the court, and thereby end the tenancy, for a reason based on a circumstance entitling the landlord to possession.

Service Charge

When a rental property is contained in an apartment block or housing development, either the tenant or the landlord may be expected to pay an annual service charge. This charge will usually cover maintenance and repair work in communal areas.

If you are expected to pay a service charge, this will be detailed within your AST.

Shared Occupancy

see HMOs


The leasing of part or all of the property held by a tenant, as opposed to a landlord, during a portion of his or her unexpired balance of the term of occupancy.


The tenancy is the granting of temporary possession of a property to a tenant by a Landlord.

Tenancy Agreement

The tenancy Agreement is a contract between you and your landlord. It may be written or oral.The tenancy agreement gives certain rights to both you and your landlord, for example, your right to occupy the accommodation and the your landlord's right to receive rent for letting the accommodation.

Tenancy Deposit Protection

The landlord or letting agent must put the tenant's deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. In England and Wales your deposit can be registered with:

  • Deposit Protection Service (Custodial and Insured)
  • MyDeposits - including deposits that were held by Capita
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme
  • Your landlord can accept valuable items (eg a car or watch) as a deposit instead of money, but they won't be protected by a scheme.

There are separate TDP schemes in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and they make sure you'll get your deposit back if you:

  • meet the terms of your tenancy agreement
  • don't damage the property
  • pay your rent and bills

For more information on Tenancy Deposit Protection - click here


One that pays rent to use or occupy land, a building, or other property owned by another.

Utility bills

These are normally electricity, gas and water. Under most circumstances the tenant is responsible for paying for these.

Wear and Tear

Wear and tear is damage that naturally and inevitably occurs as a result of normal wear or aging. It is used in a legal context for tenancies.