Lettings Terms Explained

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  • Lettings Terms Explained

Lettings terms can often be confusing.

Please find below an explanation of some jargon that is often used:


The desertion of a property by the tenant with the intent of never returning or taking up possession in the future often without notice.

Accidental landlords

This is a landlord who has become a landlord without intending to do so. It normally happens when someone inherits a property or decides to let it. They normally try to sell the property but it may be that they are unable to do so.

Accelerated possession procedure

A way of gaining possession under an assured shorthold tenancy. It is normally provided by a section 21 notice when it is served and expired. The tenant must be the original tenant and the landlord must not be claiming any rent arrears.


Normally a letting agent who act on behalf of the landlord and deals with matters on their behalf. It may be an individual or it could be a specific person.


This is normally where people have unpaid rent either in whole or in parts. This means the tenant hasn’t paid the rent under the terms of the tenancy agreement.

Assured Shorthold tenancy, commonly known as an AST

An AST is a type of tenancy under the housing Act 1988. These are all due to change shortly under the renters reform bill at the moment they can be on a fixed or periodic basis. They give the tenant limited security on a periodic ie a month to month basis. But if it is a fixed term then the tenant will be there for a fixed period.

Bedroom Flat

This is normally a description from the agent when they are putting the property back on the market.

Buy-to-Let commonly knows as BTL

This is a property bought by a person with the intention of letting it out rather than living there. Usually done by a landlord looking for a buy to let mortgage to purchase for this purpose.


An insurance taken out by the tenant for the contents of the property. The landlord does not cover contents of the property or your own furniture, just the building.

There are many other terms in relation to lettings of which we have not been able to make an endless list here however, please don’t hesitate to ask for a property valuation if required.

Council Tax Bands

This indicates how much tax you will need to pay. This is normally based on the value of the property and depends on sometimes the amount of bedrooms etc. Council tax is normally paid by the tenant unless the tenancy agreement states different.

Client money protection, commonly known as CMP

CMP schemes protect client money (such as rent and deposit monies) which is received by agents. Their schemes make sure landlords and tenants are compensated if an agent cannot repay their money, for example if an agent goes into administration.

Deposit protection scheme.

This is where landlords in England must protect their tenants deposit in a deposit protection scheme. The scheme will protect the funds and resolve any deposit disputes at the end of the tenancy. There are three different schemes in this regard.


A fixed sum of money taken at the start of the tenancy as security for the landlord for any damage or arrears at the end of the tenancy.


Dilapidations means “disrepair” or “damage”. It is usually dealt with by a letting agent as it is their role to assess dilapidations at the end of the tenancy. Allowances must be made for fair wear and tear. These costs can be put forward to the deposit protection service to raise a deposit dispute.

Estate Agents

Estate agents could be a letting agent as well letting property they could be selling it. It is often the case that estate agents do both lettings and sales.

Electrical installation condition reports commonly known as EICR’s.

An EICR is an assessment of the properties electrical safety. It is now law that properties in England must have a valid EICR in order to be let out. The inspection itself involves a qualitied engineer/electrician to assess the properties electrical wiring. They will identify any potential hazards and repairs to take place. Landlords must organise an electrical report every five years or sooner if the engineer specifies.

Energy Performance Certificate commonly known as EPC.

An EPC is a certificate measuring the energy efficiency of a property. These are rating from A all the way through to G. However, as of now privately owned property must have at least a rating of E. These will be changed over the next few years.

Fixed term tenancy.

A fixed term tenancy is a lasting amount for the tenancy itself whether it is 6 months or 12 months or it can be in between or even more. They cannot be ended early in this regard.

Fully furnished.

This would mean that the property comes with full furniture not part. It is normally listed out on the advert to let tenants know exactly what is included within the property.

Great location

This is normally a description within an advertising where the letting agent may put the property is in a great location in their opinion. This can be anywhere near a school, train station or various different areas.

Gas Safety Record.

The gas safety register is a trade organisation for registered gas fitters. Replacing corgi regulation in 2009. All rental properties must have a gas safety check and be carried out every 12 months. This has to be served on the tenants within 30 days of the report being taken out.


A person who signs a legal document agreeing to pay the rent in the event that the tenant defaults. They will also be responsible for covering any costs relating to any damage caused by the tenant. A guarantor is usually a parent or family member.

Good size, living room, Studio flat – letting terms in property descriptions

These are letting terms in property descriptions and are often used when dealing with an advert.

Holding deposit.

A holiday deposit is paid by the tenant to secure a rental property. The deposit cannot be more than one weeks rent and will be paid as soon as the tenant wishes to take the property off the market. The holding deposit as long as the tenant progresses through to taking the property is normally taken off the first months rent in this regard.

House in multiple occupation commonly known as a HMO.

HMO is any residential property occupied by three or more people with shared facilities such as bathroom or kitchen or form two or more households. However, this can change from council to council as they often have different requirements.

How to rent guide.

The how to rent guide is a document produced by the Government that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the tenants. Landlords must give the guide at the beginning of every tenancy and to be acknowledged by the tenant.


A condition report of the property to include all fixtures, fittings and cleanliness. Used as evidence of the condition of the property at the end of the tenancy. This is to determine whether the tenants have caused any damage during the tenancy above normal wear and tear.


Written communication by either the landlord or the tenant of their intention to end the tenancy. The tenancy agreement includes the length of legal notice required.

Notice period

This is in relation to the amount of notice a landlord must give their tenant at the end of the tenancy and visa versa. The current rules are two months for landlords and one month for tenants.


The date by which the Landlord needs to serve notice on the tenant in a fixed term tenancy. This date is normally two months before the end of the tenancy.

PCM Rent

This abbreviation means per calendar month and is commonly used in adverts for rental properties.

Permitted occupier

A permitted occupier is a person that can live in a rental property maybe on the tenancy agreement but doesn’t have any rights. They are not required to pay rent and have no legal rights to the property, they are permitted to be there.

Portal Appliance Testing commonly known as a PAT test

This is a test of electrical equipment performed by a registered electrician to ensure that they are safe to use. Landlords should have electrical appliances PAT tested annually for students and every 2 years for residential.


The monthly payment by the tenant to the landlord for use of the property.

Right to rent.

A landlord must legally ensure that the prospective tenant has a right to rent before they can enter the property in the England. This involves a right to rent check in which the landlord checks the tenants documents such as passport, photo ID.

Section 8 notice.

This legal notice is used by landlords to end the tenancy early, in circumstances where sections of the tenancy agreement have been broken and there are various different grounds.

Section 21 notice.

This a notice served by the landlord on a tenant when they require the property back.


The giving up of your tenancy and handing back possession of the property to the landlord.


The legal transfer of the tenancy from one person to another. Only certain tenants have the right to do this. Most tenancies will exclude tenants from assigning the lease.


Where the tenant rents/leases all or part of the property to a third party.


The contractual agreement between the landlord and tenant containing terms and obligations for both parties in regards to the house to let.


Loss, damage, or depreciation resulting from ordinary use and exposure over time. Damage that naturally and inevitably occurs as a result of normal wear or ageing.

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google-review Review
Yasmin Bright
Yasmin Bright
20:54 01 Mar 24
I'm in a difficult situation at the moment with my landlord wanting to sell the flat that myself and my 3 children have been living in for 7 years. I came across Harringtons Viewings by applying to view some properties outside of my area.Unfortunately I haven't been able to sort anything with Harringtons, however I wanted to write this to say that they have been nothing but kind, warm and very understanding of my situation. I've been really impressed by their customer service (namely Georgie & Beth) and hope that they are able to find me something eventually!Thanks so much.Yasmin
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
16:42 21 Feb 24
Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
11:18 24 Jan 24
Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
Georgie Prebble
Georgie Prebble
20:36 05 Jan 24
Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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