Landlord and Tenant Dispute – Glossary


Assured Tenancy

The term ‘assured tenancy’ applies when a tenant is granted a certain level of tenure as part of their tenancy agreement. Such agreements are usually issued by a housing association or housing trust. Assured tenancy typically means that for as long as the tenant doesn’t breach any of the rules of the agreement, they can reside in the property indefinitely. The Housing Act 1998 introduced the concept of assured tenancies to England and Wales for the first time.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy

This is the most common type of tenancy agreement issued by landlords in the UK, which grants the tenant a finite period of residency under the condition that they abide by all terms and conditions set out in the tenancy agreement.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Service (ADR)

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Service is responsible for resolving disputes and disagreements between tenants and landlords regarding deposits. The jurisdiction of the ADR only applies in instances where a recognised Deposit Protection Scheme has been used, which is now a legal requirement meant for all landlords upon taking deposits from tenants. In all instances, the decision reached by the ADR service is considered final and legally binding.


The amount of rent outstanding due to the tenant having failed to meet their agreed payment obligations.


Individuals or groups thereof who oversee the letting, selling and buying of properties – aka estate agents.


A formal evaluation of the current value of a property, carried out by an estate agent prior to listing the property for sale.


The Association of Residential Letting Agents is the professional and regulatory body for letting agents in the UK.



Individuals authorised by UK courts to enter the homes of debtors and repossess assets to cover the costs of outstanding debts.



Another word for ‘permission’ – to be granted consent is to be given permission to do something.


The amount left on a mortgage from which interest is calculated.


The term ‘chain’ refers to the market for property buyers and sellers, who are linked by their different stages in the buying or selling process. A buyer is looking to purchase a property, the owner of the property they wish to purchase is selling their property with the intention to move to a different property, and so the chain continues.


An entity with the legal authorisation to carry out business activities in the UK.


A conveyancer handles the legal aspects of transferring property ownership from the seller to the buyer.


The legal aspects/ of buying and selling homes.


The full terms and conditions set out in a tenancy agreement, which govern the property for the duration of the tenant’s residency. 

Custodial Deposit Protection Scheme

Landlords who use custodial deposit protection schemes are obliged to pay deposits collected from tenants into such schemes no later than 14 days after collecting the funds. The scheme is offered at no charge to the landlord or the tenant – the deposit is released in full at the end of the tenancy agreement.



The ‘deed’ on a property is a legal document that specifies who has legal ownership over it. A deed is used to transfer ownership of a property, signing it over from one individual to another.


The vast majority of landlords and letting agents require deposits from tenants before allowing them to enter into tenancy agreements. It is a legal requirement for deposits to be formally protected and for landlords to ask for sensible deposits – usually to the value of one or two months’ rent.


One or more aspects of a property (or a property as a whole) that is in poor condition and requires maintenance/repairs.


Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) indicates the energy efficiency of a building or property.


The combined assets (possessions and property) of a deceased individual.

Estate agent

An established and registered professional (or group thereof) specialising in the listing, letting, selling and buying of properties.

Exchange of Contracts

The physical exchange of documents to transfer legal ownership of a property from one individual to another.


Formal proceedings enforced to remove tenants and their possessions from rented properties.


Any action taken against another party (initiated by a landlord or a tenant) must be supported with sufficient evidence and formal documentation. Examples of which may include tenancy agreements, photographs, receipts, overdue bills, witness statements and so on.


First-time buyer

A buyer who intends to buy a property for the first time.

Fixed Tenancy

Fixed tenancy refers to a tenancy agreement that is valid for a finite period – typically six months or one year. A fixed tenancy agreement may be renewed at the end of the term if both parties are able to reach a suitable agreement.


Absolute ownership of property and land.

First – Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)

Appeal body that handles objections to rent officers’ registered rents.


Guaranteed Possession

In the case of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, the landlord reserves the right to repossess the property after the initial agreed period (typically six months, in accordance with the Housing Act 1988).


An individual who guarantees the rent payments on behalf of the tenant, should the tenant be unable to fulfil their obligations set out in the tenancy agreement. The guarantor may also be held liable for costs incurred due to damage, theft and other issues that arise during the tenant’s period of residency.

Guide Price

The approximate price of a property at the time it goes to market.



A House in Multiple Occupation, which may be as follows:

  • a single property split into multiple smaller bedsits
  • a shared home where separate tenancy agreements are issued to each individual tenant
  • a hostel used for general residency, rather than vacation stays
  • a bed and breakfast used for general residency


The UK’s Health and Safety Executive is responsible for ensuring that businesses and service providers make reasonable and demonstrable efforts to reduce health and safety risks to their employees and members of the public alike.

Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System refers to an official procedure for monitoring and measuring health and safety risks in residential properties in England and Wales. The register incorporates a total of 29 different hazards, which give an indication of the overall safety or otherwise of the property.


A habitable property is a property that is fit for purpose and considered safe to occupy. It is the legal obligation of the landlord and/or letting agent to ensure that their properties are habitable.


Insurance Based Deposit Protection Scheme

The Insurance Based Deposit Protection Scheme requires all landlords to register deposits collected from tenants no later than 14 days following collection. In this instance, the landlord retains the funds throughout the tenancy, though is legally obliged to return the deposit in full at the end of the term if the tenant is entitled to it.


Joint Tenancy

Applies when two or more people own or rent a property together.



The individual or business that owns a property and rents it to another individual, individuals or business.


Leasing a property is similar to renting a property, in that a temporary rental agreement (usually lasting six months or one year) is entered into and can be renewed at the end of the term if required.

Lock out 

It is illegal for landlords or letting agents to lock their tenants out of their properties as a method of self-help eviction. All types of DIY eviction without proper legal process are prohibited.


Applies when a person shares a property with its owner as a paying tenant.

Land Registry

The Land Registry of England and Wales is the formal register that contains information of land ownership and deals with the transference of land ownership as part of any property transaction.

Laws of Intestacy

Laws of Intestacy determine who inherits a property in the event that its legal owner dies and hasn’t prepared a formal will and testament.


The ownership of a lease.


An individual or business that loans money over a specified period of time at an agreed rate of interest. All major banks offering mortgages, personal loans and credit cards are considered lenders.

Lender’s Arrangement Fee

An additional charge imposed by the lender for setting up and authorising a loan agreement.


A person who leases a property as a tenant.


A person who grants a lease of property as a landlord.



General housekeeping and repairs required to keep a rental property in adequate condition.


The inclusion of a neutral third party to help settle a dispute where the parties involved in the dispute are unable to bring a matter to an amicable conclusion.



Applies when a potential buyer makes an offer on a property, which is almost always lower than the formal asking price.


Refers to the purchase of a property that is under construction, or when construction work has not yet commenced.

Oral Tenancy Agreement

Also referred to as a Verbal Tenancy Agreement, this is a legally binding agreement between a tenant and landlord reached verbally and without the use of a written contract.


Peaceful Enjoyment

The term ‘peaceful enjoyment’ essentially guarantees no unnecessary disturbance or intrusion on the part of the landlord. The tenant is assured that they will have complete peace and privacy for the duration of their tenancy, without undue interference.

Periodic Tenancy

Periodic tenancy applies when a tenancy agreement is issued in the form of a ‘rolling contract’. The agreement could roll from month to month, or even from week to week.

Public Liability Insurance

Insurance coverage for tenants or any other individuals in or around a property, in the event of injury or death.



An official document that serves as formal evidence of a transaction or activity of any kind. Examples of which include birth certificates, marriage certificates and so on.


When a mortgage is paid off in full.

Regulated or “Protected” Tenancy

A form of tenancy (now largely outdated) that provides the tenant with a range of protections against eviction and excessive monthly rent payments.


The amount of money the tenant agrees to pay on a monthly or periodic basis to reside in the property.

Rent Assessment Committee

A Rent Assessment Committee incorporates a lawyer, a property valuer and a lay person, who together reach a decision on the fair rental price of a property, in accordance with current market conditions and demand. If a tenant believes they are being overcharged, the matter can be taken to a Rent Assessment Committee for formal mediation.

Rental Agreement

The legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the tenant and the landlord/letting agent, also known as a tenancy agreement.


The process of a lender taking possession of a borrower’s home in the event that they fail to meet their contractual obligations regarding repayment.


Section 8 Notice to Quit

Formal notification on the part of a landlord or letting agent of the intent to regain possession of a property during the fixed term of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, in the event that the tenant has failed to meet their contractual obligations set out in the tenancy agreement.

Section 21 Notice to Quit

Formal notification on the part of a landlord or letting agent of the intent to regain possession of a property at the end of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.

Sole Agent

Applies when one agent alone takes responsibility for selling a property.

Stamp Duty

A form of taxation payable upon the purchase of a property, calculated in accordance with its value.

Statement of Terms

A Statement of Terms can be requested by a tenant in the event that a verbal or oral tenancy agreement is entered into. The Statement of Terms serves as written proof and formal evidence of the most important terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement.


The individual or group thereof who assesses the general condition and state of repair of a property, as part of the formal valuation process.


Tenancy agreement

The legally binding agreement entered into by the tenant and the landlord/letting agents, which outlines all terms and conditions that must be met by both parties.


The period of residency (always temporary) granted by a landlord or letting agent to another person or persons.

Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme

Introduced as part of the Housing Act 2004, the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme provides tenants with certain protections to ensure they receive their deposits back if they are entitled to them.


An individual who has the legal right to reside in a property, having been granted tenancy on a temporary basis by a landlord or letting agent.


Valuation Survey

The formal process of evaluating the market value of a property, in order to ensure its value covers the cost of a mortgage secured against it.

Verbal Tenancy Agreement

A legally binding agreement between a tenant and landlord, entered into verbally with no written contract.

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