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Jargon Buster

Absolute Ownership : Unconditional ownership.
Abstract of Title : A summary of the title deeds and documents which proves ownership of unregistered land. Often an Epitome of Title is used instead.
Adverse Possession : Often referred to as "squatters' rights" and is the occupation or possession of property without the permission of the owner, which if it has continued for 10 or in some cases 12 years openly without challenge and has excluded everyone else from using the land or property then the owner may be prevented from claiming it back.
Adverse Rights : Rights which someone other than the owner may have over land, such as a right of way.
Alienation Clause : Provision in a lease which restricts the tenant's rights to assign or sub-let.
Appurtenant : A right benefiting a piece of land (for example a right of way to get to it over other land) can be said to be 'appurtenant' in that it directly relates to and is the benefit of the land in question.
Arms Length : A transaction between parties who are not related or otherwise associated in any way.
Assent : A document used to transfer land or buildings to a beneficiary of a Will by the Personal Representatives of the deceased owner.
Assign : To transfer a right in property to someone else. Usually used to refer to the transfer of a lease.
Assignee : The person who receives the property being assigned.
Assignor : The person who transfers the property.
Attestation Clause : The words at the end of a document, such as a Deed or Will where the parties to the document and their witnesses sign to signify their involvement in the document.
Attorney : A person who has the formal authority to act on behalf of someone else either by a formal granting to them of that power or by an Order of the Court.
Base Rate : The interest rate set by the Bank of England from time to time.
Beneficial Joint Tenants : People who own the whole of the property jointly rather than in separate and distinct shares. If one dies, their share passes to the survivors automatically.
Beneficiary : A person entitled to all or part of an estate under a trust which may have arisen under a settlement, a Will or intestacy, an insurance policy and similar arrangements.
Breach of Contract: A failure by someone who as entered into a contract to perform his part of it.
Break Clause : A clause in a lease which allows one party to terminate the lease before the expiry date.
Building Regulation Approval / Completion Certificate : Confirmation that the plans for proposed building work show that it will comply with the Building Regulations. All building work has to comply with prescribed standards and the local authority is charged with ensuring compliance.National House-Building Council [NHBC] will often undertake such responsibility in relation to a new house to be covered by its structural insurance. A Completion Certificate is issued once the works are completed and have been inspected and sign off as compliant with the Approval granted and Regulations generally.
Burden of a Covenant : The obligation to comply with a Covenant.
Caveat Emptor : Latin term effectively meaning "Let the buyer beware" - reminding the buyer of property it is for them to satisfy themselves that all is in order with the state and condition and title to the property.
Chancel Repair : A liability dating back to medieval times, on land/home owners to contribute to the costs of the repairs to the Church and its chancel (that is, the area covered by the Church). Churches wishing to preserve the right to seek contributions from landowners within the Chancel must note their right to do so with the Land Registry by October 2013. If they fail to note their right then they will not be able to enforce that right after October 2013. A search can be carried out to assess whether a property has a potential liability and if so, the risk can be insured against.
Charge : An interest in land securing the payment of a debt otherwise known as a mortgage.
Chattels : Items of property other than land such as furniture. Typically they will be excluded from the sale of land - unless a schedule of items included in the sale form part of the contract for sale. Chattels included in a sale are usually listed in the Fixtures Fittings and Contents Schedule.
Common Land : Common land is open space subject to rights to remove items from it. Rights of common include a right to pasture, to fish (piscary), to cut turf (turbary) and to take wood (estovers), for example.
Common Parts : The parts of a building or development used in by all the occupiers or residents, such as the hallways and stairs, car parking and communal garden facilities.
Contract : An agreement between two or more parties. It does not have to be in writing to be enforceable (unless relating to the sale of land) and can be oral or even implied from the parties' conduct. However, to be enforceable the parties must have intended that their arrangements should give rise to a binding legal relationship and for each paty must give some input or value known as "consideration".
Conveyance : The document used to transfer ownership of property form one party to another. Usually used in unregistered land and more commonly referred to as a Transfer when dealing with registered land.
Counterpart Lease : Leases are drawn up in two identical copies: one part signed by the landlord and the other or counterpart singed by the tenant.
Covenant : An agreement made by deed under seal which imposes an obligation or restriction.Covenants are found in leases or relate to land and buildings in conveyances. A positive covenant creates an obligation (you must do….) and negative or restrictive covenants create a restriction (you must not do…).
Covenantee : The person to whom the covenant is made.
Covenantor : The person making agreeing to be bound by the obligation or restriction.
Deed : A document stated to be a deed and signed by the parties to it in accordance with formal requirements. It must be signed and witnessed and in some cases, delivered.
Defective Title Insurance : Indemnity Insurance taken out to protect a buyer and/or lender against the consequence of a defect in title to land.
Demise : the grant of a lease, property granted by a lease often being referred to as the demised premises.
Deposit : An advance payment towards a price, often paid as security for the performance of some commitment, for example a deposit of 10% of the purchase price is often paid on exchange of contracts.
Disbursements : Expenses incurred in a transaction on behalf of a client such as Land Registry fees, search fees etc.
Easement : An entitlement to exercise some right over someone else's land such as a right of way, a right of light or a right of support.
Encumbrance : A right or interest in favour of a non-land owner over land such as an easement or mortgage, that is a burden on land in favour of someone who does not own that land.
Engrossment : The final version of a document which will be signed by the parties, traditionally prepared on better quality paper than mere 'drafts'.
Epitome of Title : A chronological list of the documents which prove ownership of unregistered land.
Escrow : A deed which has been signed but is delivered conditionally and will not become operative until the condition has been satisfied, such as payment of a purchase price or completion of a task.
Exchange of Contracts : The point at which the parties to a written contract for the sale of land become legally bound, in this case, the purchaser's signed part is sent to the seller's solicitor with the deposit and exchange takes place when the seller's signed contract is put in the post or otherwise delivered to the buyer's solicitor.
Execute : To sign a legal document following the procedure required for a Deed or a Will usually requiring the presence witnesses.
Fixtures : Items fixed to land which become part of it and will pass to a buyer on a sale unless specifically excluded by the terms of the contract.
Flying Freehold : A part of a freehold property which lies over land belonging to someone else, such as in linked or terraced properties where an upper bedroom of one property is located over a passageway belonging to another.
Freehold : The absolute ownership of land and rights over land for an indefinite time.
Gazumping : The acceptance by a seller of a higher offer despite having previously accepted a lower one from another buyer. In England and Wales, a seller is entitled to do this provided contracts have not been exchanged.
Gazundering : The submission by a buyer of a lower offer despite having previously agreed a higher price. In England and Wales, a buyer is entitled to do this provided contracts have not been exchanged.
Good Leasehold Title : One of the classes of title conferred by Land Registry. It guarantees the ownership of the lease but not that the landlord had the right to grant that lease. This form of title is not acceptable to most mortgage lenders and can be insured against or where appropriate documentation exists, upgraded to absolute title at the Land Registry.
Ground Rent : A rent, substantially below the market rate, payable by a tenant usually of a long lease for which a capital sum (premium) was paid at the beginning.
Habendum : The part of a deed which describes the property being transferred.
Head Lease : A lease granted directly by the freeholder. Used where the tenant under that lease has then granted a sub-lease of all or part of that property. Also known as a Superior Lease and the Freehold owner will be referred to as the Head Landlord or Superior Landlord.
Implied Terms : Terms which are not expressly stated in a contract but are derived from custom and usage or are necessary to make it work from a business point of view.
Indemnity : The reimbursement of a loss suffered by one person by another or promise to reimburse a future loss.That person is said to indemnify the other. Most insurance policies and many guarantees come within the definition of indemnity.
Index Map Search (SIM): The Land Registry hold a map indexing all registered titles in a particular area. An index map search is carried outo to see whether a plot or part of land is registered. If so, the result will provide a registered title number from which further investigations can be made.
Joint Tenancy : See Beneficial Joint Tenants
Laches : Delay in enforcing a right.
Landlord : The person who grants a lease.
Lease : Used interchangeably to mean a leasehold interest in land and also the document creating the interest. A lease is a right to occupy land for a specific period of time subject to terms and conditions and commonly the payment of a rent.
Lien : The right to hold onto another's property due to non performance of an obligation by the property owner, for example.
Life Interest : The right to receive the income from or to enjoy the occupation of property during a person's lifetime.
Managing Agent : Someone appointed to oversee the day-to-day maintenance of a property such as a block of flats or a shopping centre.
Mesne : Intermediate or interim.
Mesne Profits : Compensation due to a landowner for the unlawful occupation of his land, for example payable by a tenant who has not relinquished occupation at the end of a lease without the landlord's consent.
Mortgage or Legal Charge : An arrangement by which a borrower (the mortgagor) provides a lender (the mortgagee) with security for the repayment of a loan by granting a charge over their property. If payments are not made to the lender, he may take steps to enforce his security usually by selling the mortgagor's property.
National House-Building Council [NHBC] : is the organisation setting the standard and leading warranty and insurance provider for new and newly converted homes in the UK. Their role is to work with the house-building and wider construction industry to provide risk management services that raise the standards of new homes, and to provide consumer protection to new home buyers.
Negative Equity : When the amount owing to the mortgagee exceeds the market value of the property provided as security, the difference is called the negative equity.
Official Copies : Copies of the register entries relating to title held at the Land Registry.
Party Wall : A wall (or fence) owned jointly by adjoining landowners over which both have rights and responsibilities as to maintenance.
Peppercorn Rent : A nominal rent
Personal Property : Also referred to as personalty is all property other than land..
Perpetuity : Forever
Planning Permission : Permission required from the local authority to develop land.
Possessory Title : See also Adverse Possession, this is another one of the classes of title the Land Registry may grant. Often granted when the owner claims to have lost the title deeds, or to have acquired ownership by adverse possession.
Prescription : The acquisition of legal easements by long and continuous use over a period of at least 20 years without consent, payment or interference.
Rack Rent : Open market rent
Real Property, Realty : The ownership of freehold land and certain interests over land such as easements.
Reddendum : The part of a lease which sets out the rent payable.
Registered Land : Land and buildings, the ownership of which is registered at HM Land Registry and whether leasehold or freehold.
Remortgage : Paying off an existing mortgage and entering into a new one, usually to obtain a lower rate of interest or a larger loan.
Rent charge : A sum of money payable by the owner of freehold land to a former land owner, historically charged to ensure that obligations and restrictions (covenants) relating to the land are complied with.
Repossession : Regaining or retaking possession of property when a purchaser, borrower or tenant defaults in making payments.
Riparian Rights : The rights of a landowner over a non-tidal river adjoining his land, such as rights to fish.
Service Charge : A charge made to tenants by the landlord or the management company to pay for services or the upkeep of 'common parts' provided for benefit of all the tenants of a property.
Severance of a Joint Tenancy : The act of converting a joint tenancy into a tenancy in common.
Seisin : Term denoting the possession of freehold land.
Shared Ownership : Is a part buy part, part rent scheme which enables purchasers to buy a home in stages. The initial share is between 25% and 75% of the value of the property.
Staircasing : The further purchase of percentage shares in a shared ownership home until you own 100%
Stamp Duty Land Tax : Tax payable to the Government on any land transaction such as the purchase of property, the grant of a lease or change in partners in aproperty business. Land tax is set at various rates determined by the amount paid for or value of the property.
Sub-lease : A shorter lease of a property granted by a person who is already a tenant of the property. The tenant granting the lease will be the landlord and the original tenant's landlord or freehold owner will be referred to as the head or superior landlord.
Sub-lessee and Sub-lessor : The parties to a sub-lease. The sub-lessee is another word for sub -tenant .The sub-lessor is the person who grants the sub-lease and can also be called the landlord or sub-landlord.
Subject to Contract : An expression used to prevent a binding agreement arising accidentally during negotiation. It effectively means, "I am making a suggestion rather than a commitment at this stage". If the position suggested is agreed, it can be incorporated into the terms of the contract and become binding when the contract is entered into.
Surrender : The premature termination of a lease, most commonly by agreement between landlord and tenant.
Telegraphic Transfer /TT : Term used to signify the electronic and notionally immediate transfer of money from one back account to another, for example, from the buyer's solicitor's bank to the seller's solicitor's bank on completion. Also referred to as a CHAPS payment.
Tenant : The person to whom a lease is granted, also can be referred to as lessee.
Tenants in Common : Persons who own property jointly in distinct but not necessarily in equal shares. If one dies his share passes by Will or Intestacy.
Term : The duration of the lease. See also Unexpired Term.
Title Deeds : Original documents proving legal ownership of property. Where land is registered at HM Land Registry, the Register itself proves title.
Transfer : The document used to pass the ownership of land to another. Usually used in relation to registered land and is the modern term for a conveyance.
Trust : A legal relationship when one person (a trustee) holds property for the benefit of another (a beneficiary). There are countless trusts - charities, pension funds, private trusts - and they may be express, created by Deed or Will, or implied, by operation of law.
Trustee : A person appointed to hold property or assets upon trust for another. Trustees have a duty to act in good faith, which means they cannot enrich themselves at the expense of their beneficiaries.
Under Offer : A property that has an offer accepted by the Seller but contacts have yet to be exchanged with the Buyer.
Unexpired Term: The length of time remaining under a lease term, for example, a lease granted for 10 years in 2000 has an unexpired term of 4 years in 2006.
Unregistered Land : Land or buildings the ownership of which is not registered at HM Land Registry and is instead evidenced by the production of an Abstract of Title.
Vacant Possession : Empty. For example, on completion of a sale a seller is obliged to deliver the property with vacant possession which means clear of occupants and all objects not included in the sale. The same applies at the end of a tenancy where the tenant must give back vacant possession to the landlord .
Village Green : A town or village green describes land over which people can pass without being entitled to remove anything (unlike Common Land).
Yield Up : To give up possession at the end of a lease

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