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Tenancy Agreements Glossary

Agricultural property relief
Only relates to Inheritance Tax. Either a 50 per cent or 100 per cent reduction in the value of the agricultural property in the UK, Channel Isles or Isle of Man can be applied when listing the asset values for probate or valuing lifetime gifts.
Assured shorthold tenancy (AST)
In England & Wales, a type of Assured Tenancy which guarantees the tenant security of tenure during the time specified in the tenancy agreement. The landlord may obtain possession of the property by the service of a Notice Requiring Possession giving at least two months’ notice expiring at the end of the term of the tenancy or later. Since the coming into force of the 1996 Housing Act, most new tenancies created will be Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs).
Assured tenancy
A tenancy of a dwelling-house granted to an individual as their principal or only home on or after the commencement date of the Housing Act 1988, and being a tenancy to which the Housing Acts 1988 and 1996 apply in England & Wales, whereby the landlord may only regain possession of the property subject to the Assured Tenancy upon establishing one of the grounds for possession contained in the 1988 Housing Act (as amended) and the tenant therefore has the benefit of full security of tenure protection. In Scotland, the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 applies.
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.
Common law tenancy
A tenancy which isn't covered by either the Rent Act 1997 or the Housing Act 1988. These are generally tenancies of self-contained accommodation in the property where the owner lives, properties let at a high rent (currently over £100,000 per annum) or at a low rent (£1,000 per annum in Greater London or £250 per annum elsewhere), and company lets.
Common parts
For leaseholders, the parts of the building used by all residents, such as the front entrance and lobby, common staircase and common hallways. For tenants, the parts of the property shared with other tenants or a lodger shares with the owner of the property, such as the bathroom, toilet, kitchen and sitting room.
The determination of a tenancy is the ending of a tenancy.
To end or cease. A tenancy is determined when it's ended.
A home. It can include such units as flats and bedsits; a unit of property that can become the subject of security of tenure.
The recovery of property from the person in occupation of it.
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.
Fixed term tenancy
A tenancy for a fixed or certain period of time specified in the terms of the tenancy agreement.
A landlord’s common law right to re-enter the property if the tenant is in breach of a covenant in a tenancy agreement. A right to forfeiture can only arise if expressly provided for in the tenancy agreement. There are substantial statutory restraints on the landlord’s power to exercise their right to forfeiture, including the need to serve certain eviction notices and obtain a court order. Note that possession proceedings based on forfeiture can no longer be used for assured and assured shorthold tenancies.
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.
A person who promises the performance of contractual obligations by one party to the other in a contracted 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
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.
Term used to describe an occupier occupying accommodation on a licence in the residence of the landlord and typically sharing some accommodation with the landlord.
A debt secured by a document (called a ‘mortgage deed’) which gives security to the lender for the debt. The mortgage deed must be returned at the time of settlement of the debt.
The lender of a loan secured by property.
The borrower of a loan secured by property.
A formal and (usually) written warning of an event that is to happen that is delivered in advance of the event by one contracting party to the other contracting party. Many notices have to be in a special form prescribed by statute.
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.
Actual and physical control or occupation of property.
Regulated tenancy
Residential tenancy created prior to 15th January 1989. The rent may be registered by the Rent Officer at a fair rent.
Rent-a-Room relief
Special relief for individuals who let rooms to lodgers in their homes.
Resident landlord
A landlord who lives in the same building as their tenant and where that building was originally constructed for occupation by one household.
Schedule of condition
See Inventory.
Security of tenure
The right of a tenant to remain in occupation of property that they don't own, but which they have been granted or have acquired a legal right to occupy. This can sometimes be against the wishes of the legal owner.
Short assured tenancy (SAT)
In Scotland, a type of assured tenancy which guarantees the tenant security of tenure during the time specified in the tenancy agreement. Short assured tenancies were replaced by Private Residential Tenancies on 1 December 2017 and cannot be created since that date. The landlord may obtain possession of the property by the service of a Notice to Quit and Notice to Terminate (Section 33 Notice), giving at least two months’ notice expiring at the end of the term of the tenancy.
An Act of Parliament.
The arrangement or agreement under which the tenant occupies the property. A tenancy doesn't have to be in writing, but oral tenancies have many disadvantages, particularly for the landlord, and should be avoided.
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.
Without prejudice
A much-used legal phrase that means ‘without affecting any existing rights or remedies’.


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