Managing your Tenancy Glossary

Abandonment
Where tenants vacate a rental property without giving any notice, verbally or in writing, to the landlord and without returning the keys.
Adverse credit
A term used in official financial documents to describe bad credit, i.e. someone who is considered to be a high risk to lenders because they have experienced financial difficulties in the past, has missed payments or had debt recovery proceedings started against them.
Arbitration
The reference of a dispute for decision to a person or persons other than a court. This may be by agreement between the parties or because it's required by legislation. The procedure is private but, unlike mediation, the arbitrator's decision is binding and they are bound to conduct themselves as a judge would in court.
ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents)
A body that regulates letting agents. Membership is voluntary; agents don't have to subscribe. The ARLA provides protection for both tenants and landlords.
Breach of statutory duty
A failure to carry out duties or to fulfil obligations imposed by legislation.
Break clause
A clause included in some tenancy agreements that allow landlords and tenants to give notice to each other during the period of the fixed term. Break clauses  are often found in tenancy agreements that have had a tenant in occupation for some time and are designed to give flexibility to both parties.
CO2
Carbon Dioxide - a poisonous gas.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
A tax charged on profits from the disposal of assets, unless the disposal is in the course of trade when the profit will be taxed as income.
County Court Judgment (CCJ)
An order issued by a court to a person who hasn't satisfied payment to their creditors. The order is for an amount agreed between the debtor and creditor, or for an amount stipulated by the court. Unless the full amount of the judgment is paid within one month, the CCJ will be recorded on the Register of County Court Judgments for six years. This information is then used by lenders to decide whether someone should be given a loan or other credit. Incorrect information can be removed from the Register and once a debt has been paid, the entry can be marked ‘satisfied’. The Scottish equivalent of a CCJ is a ‘decree’.
CO
Carbon Monoxide - a very poisonous gas associated with fuel burning heaters.
Credit reference agency
There are three credit reference agencies that collect and collate information about the borrowing habits of adults in the UK. The information is used by lenders to check people’s identity, their credit history and ongoing credit commitment, so that they can decide whether or not to lend them money or offer credit. Information is obtained from various sources, such as local authorities, banks, building societies and other lenders. By law, credit reference agencies must provide you with your statutory credit file, when asked, although they will request a payment for doing so.
Deposit
(a) A sum of money put up as security for the performance of some commitment, as at exchange of contracts for the purchase of a property. (b) An interest earning bank account. (c) Colloquially, the cash sum needed from a purchaser of property to make a mortgage advance cover the purchase price.
Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations
Under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations, landlords are legally obliged to provide safe appliances and electrical checks of fixed electrical installations have to be carried out every five years for HMO properties (‘houses in multiple occupation’).
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Certificate which which tells you how energy efficient a home is on a scale of A to G. The most efficient homes - which should have the lowest fuel bills - are in band A.
Energy Saving Trust (EST)
A non-profit organisation that addresses the damaging effects of climate change. Provides impartial information and advice.
Fair rent
The rent determined for a regulated tenancy under the provisions of Section 70 of the Rent Act 1977; usually below the market rent.
Fixed term
This is where the overall term of a tenancy is laid down in the tenancy agreement; for example, 6 months or 52 weeks. It's best to specify the fixed term as a certain number of the periods of the tenancy. Don't say that the term is 6 months, but the period is weekly. Rather the term is 26 weeks for a weekly tenancy or 6 months for a monthly tenancy.
Gas safety certificate
In compliance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 all gas appliances supplied to tenants must be checked by an engineer that is registered with Gas Safe (previously Corgi). A gas safety certificate must be obtained by the landlord and given to the tenant the day they move in and every year afterwards before the certificate expires.
Gurantee
An undertaking to be responsible for the performance of another person's legal obligations. A bank may ask the directors to guarantee a company's overdraft. A landlord may ask a tenant to find a guarantor that the rent will be paid and the tenant's covenants performed.
Guarantee agreement
In a guarantee agreement, a guarantor agrees to pay the rent and meet all the obligations and duties of the tenant, should the tenant default, and also pay for any loss or damage caused by the tenant’s breach of the tenancy agreement.
House in multiple occupation (HMO)
In simple terms, a house which is occupied by three of more unrelated persons, who don't form a single household
Housing association
An organisation, body of trustees or a company that provides or manages housing and that doesn't operate for a profit. A registered housing association means an association that is registered with the Housing Corporation.
Impaired credit
Occurs when a borrower has experienced credit problems and is disqualified from using the products of mainstream lenders. An impaired credit mortgage is a specialist loan available for people with a history of credit problems. These can also be known as ‘adverse credit loans’.
Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA)
An IVA enables a person who is in debt to come to an agreement with their creditors by paying off a percentage of the debt over a specific period of time, thus avoiding bankruptcy or repossession. A regular payment plan is drawn up by a specialist practitioner who decides how much an individual can realistically afford to pay each month.
Inventory
An Inventory and Schedule of Condition is a single document that details the items contained within a rental property. A property inventory also records their condition as well as that of the décor and fittings. Whether the property is furnished or unfurnished, a detailed Inventory and Schedule of Condition should be made prior to the commencement of any tenancy.
Joint tenancy
If a landlord has two or more tenants signed up to the same tenancy agreement, all occupants must be considered as a single unit, i.e. ‘joint and severally liable’. This means that if either party wishes to vacate the property, they must all offer notice to terminate concurrently.
Notice of Abandonment
When a tenant has abandoned a rental property, the landlord can post a Notice of Abandonment to the main access points of the property, confirming their status as owner of the property and declaring their intent to reclaim possession within the stated timeframe (usually 14 days from the date of the notice) unless the tenant contacts them to advise otherwise. Note: a Notice of Abandonment isn’t a legal document and isn't supported by any legal framework.
Payment in advance
Payment of a regular sum, like rent or salary, at the beginning of the period to which it relates.
Payment in arrears
Payment of a regular sum, like rent or salary, at the end of the period to which it relates.
Period
The period of a tenancy is the time interval used to specify the rent payments, usually a week or a month.
Periodic tenancy
In England & Wales, the tenancy which arises after the end of the contractual term of an Assured Tenancy. The period will be weekly or monthly, depending on how the rent is paid.
Quarter days
The usual quarter days for rent purposes are 25th March, 24th June, 29th September and 25th December. These are convenient dates to specify as rent days in the case of a quarterly tenancy.
Registered rent
A rent that has been registered with the Rent Officer Service. Normally only applicable to a Regulated Tenancy.
Rent Assessment Committee (RAC)
Now called the Valuation Office Agency and the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). A committee that hears appeals in connection with Registered Rents.
Rent book
A book recording rental payments made by a tenant which landlords are required by law to provide to tenants who are renting on a weekly basis. 
Rent officer
An official of the Valuation Office Agency (formerly Rent Officer Service).
Schedule of condition
See Inventory.
Schedule of Rent Arrears
Schedule of Rent Arrears is a legal form that must be used by landlords when they are evicting tenants through the courts. Landlords in England & Wales can use this tenant eviction form to claim for rent arrears through the courts and the Schedule of Rent Arrears should be attached to a Section 8 Notice to show to the court which payments are outstanding.
Section 13 Notice
A Section 13 Notice is a statutory notice used in England & Wales by landlords to increase the rent during a statutory periodic tenancy.
Section 213 Notice
See Tenancy Deposit Protection Form.
Statutory periodic tenancy
A periodic tenancy that comes into operation on the expiration of an assured tenancy for a fixed term unless that tenancy is terminated by a court order or surrender of the tenancy.
Tenancy application
When letting out property, a tenancy application form asks a potential tenant to provide all the relevant information so that landlords can carry out as thorough a tenant referencing procedure as possible.
Tenancy Deposit Protection Form
A legal form (also known as a Section 213 Notice) ensuring that landlords give tenants the right information at the start of the tenancy agreement concerning their Tenancy Deposit Protection (in compliance with the Housing Act 2004 in England & Wales).
Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme
Designed to improve methods of handling tenant deposit money and promote the use of property inventories. Landlords must clearly demonstrate where a tenant has caused damage or loss to the property if they are to be successful in retaining money from the deposit. There are three government-authorised Tenancy Deposit Schemes: (1) The Tenancy Deposit Protection Services at www.depositprotection.com; (2) Tenancy Deposit Solutions at www.mydeposits.co.uk; (3) and The Dispute Service at www.tds.gb.com.
Term
The term of a tenancy is the overall length of time for which a tenancy lasts, from the date when the tenant first takes up the tenancy to the date when the tenancy ends. See also Fixed Term.

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