Jargon Buster

Always read the small print! Of course, a rental contract is not the most exciting read but it’s important to know what you are signing. The language can be confusing and complex so throughout the ‘take your time to sign’ initiative we will be releasing common words and phrases in context of a contract to ensure you are fully prepared.

Arrears- Late or outstanding rent

AST- Assured Shorthold Tenancy, standard tenancy agreement normally used for residential lettings.

Covenant of quiet enjoyment- The tenant has the right to be able to live in the property in peace without any disturbance from the landlord or anyone acting on his behalf.

EPC- An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) sets out the energy efficiency of a property on a traffic light system of A to G – A being the most efficient.

It can indicate how much it will cost to heat and power a property. It also includes recommendations of energy-efficient improvements.

Fair wear and tear-Wear and tear of materials caused by their use in the ordinary course. This does not include dirt or excessive wear and tear of materials caused by failure to regularly clean the materials or failure to take reasonable care as may be expected of a homeowner.

Fixed Term Tenancy- A tenancy with a specified start and end date.  

Gas Safety Check- Landlords are required to arrange agas safety check annually on rented properties. This must be carried out by a registered engineer.

GSR- Gas safety record, this is a record to show that all gas appliances (including the meter) have had an annual gas safety check. This is a legal requirement.

Guarantor- This is a chosen person who will guarantee the payment of rent for the tenant if they fall into arrears.

HMO- If you are moving into a property where there are three or more people who share facilities and at least one person isn't related to the others it is likely that you are living in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)  

Inventory- The inventory is a legally binding document; it provides an accurate written record of the condition and content of the property at the beginning of the tenancy. (Be sure to check you have this. And create your own one against the existing one).

Joint and several liability- You are all equally responsible for adhering to the conditions of the agreement. As a group, each of you is responsible for ensuring that the whole rent is paid. If one or more of you default on your obligations the remaining tenants are also liable for the rent. However, they may take legal action against that individual.

Schedule of condition- This is a detailed recording of a property's condition which is kept for use later to establish the previous condition of the premises.

TDS- Tenancy Deposit Scheme, a landlord is legally required to put your deposit into a tenancy deposit scheme. This will protect the deposit and will assist with any disputes at the end of the tenancy.