Jargon Buster

409 results found

Absent Landlord

A Landlord who cannot be contacted is defined as 'absent'. Consequently, Legal recourse is available to acquire the right to manage property.

Absorption (1)

The water absorbed by a brick, concrete, etc., as a percentage of its dry weight. Engineering bricks in Britain are boiled for five hours to measure their absorption. Absorption below 7% usually indicates good frost resistance but some bricks with 12% absorption resist frost well (BRE Digest 164). Brick damp courses are made from engineering bricks.

Absorption (2)

In acoustics, absorptive materials reduce echoes (reverberation) within a room, but have little effect on the passing of sound through a wall or floor, except insofar as they reduce the sound within the room. Soft partition or wall surfaces, being more absorptive than hard, may or may not improve acoustics but they will reduce the reduce the reverberation period. So will the fitting of windows, or other openings in the walls, and the presence of people.

Abstract of Title

A document prepared by the Vendor's solicitor which relates to unregistered land proving the Vendor owns the land, and that any previous mortgages have been paid settled.

Abstracting (q.s.)

The process, before drawing up a bill of quantities of assembling and adding similar tasks in the contract which will be paid for at the same price under one item. The items are arranged in trades to make billing easier.

Acquisition Date

The Acquisition Date identifies the starting date for the Right to Manage Company's assumption of the legal responsibility for the running of the designated property.

Additional security fee

An upfront one-off fee paid to the lender, in order to protect them against the borrower defaulting on the loan. Also known as a Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee.


The person appointed by the courts to manage the affairs of a deceased person who died without specifically naming someone in their will to carry out that work.

Admixture, additive

In concrete, mortar or plaster, a substance other than aggregate, cement, plaster or water, added in small quantities to alter the properties of the mix or of the hardened substance. Admixtures, especially in plasters, require the written permission of the designer, though masonry cement (BS 5224) contains an air-entraining agent (C) and sometimes other substances, but chlorides are forbidden. See BS 5075, also mortar plasticizers.

Air conditioning

Bringing the air in a building to a desired temperature, purity and humidity, often by washing with cold water and then heating or cooling the air, which is blown or sucked in as required. See air change, air washer, modulated control plenum system, unit air conditioner, and BS 5643.

Ancient covenant

A restrictive covenant preventing certain work to a property which may have been imposed hundreds of years ago. It can be possible to take out insurance against such a covenant being enforced.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The total cost of a loan, which includes the costs, interest charges, and arrangement fees.

Anti-slip paint

A paint containing sand, cork dust, asbestos fibre, or similar material, used for finishing wood floors or decks.


A judgement of quality


One who designs and supervises the construction of buildings. He prepares drawings and specifications, inspects sites, obtains tenders, and handles legal negotiations needed before work can start. His functions now extend into town planning and the study of the social and work activities that need buildings. The Architects (Registration) Acts 1931 to 1969 protect the title 'architect' in the United Kingdom so that only those who are registered with the Architects Registration Council must pass an architectural examination of university degree level as well as one in professional practice.

Architect's Certificate

A certificate provided by an architect, which confirms their overseeing of the construction of a building. Building societies are unlikely to lend on a new-build house in the absence of either an architect's certificate or an NHBC Guarantee.


A shaped moulding which frames door and window openings


The Association of Residential Letting Agents.


The Association of Residential Managing Agents.

Arrangement fees

Where a special interest rate is to be used, an additional fee is also charged for the arrangement of the loan.


A mineral crystal, consisting of thin tough fibreslike textile, which can withstand high temperatures without change when pure. See sprayed mineral insulation.

Asbestos and health

Health risks from machining of asbestos may be severe, but if the asbestos is wetted, especially when drilled or sawn by hand tools, the risk is less. It is not yet proven that glass, ceramic and other substitutes for asbestos, which also yield fine fibres that enter the lung, are completely harmless. BS 3958 specifies materials for thermal insulation, including preformed sections for covering pipes. If in doubt refer to the Health and Safety Executive's publications or the Asbestos Regulations, 1969. Sawing or drilling should be done at floor level; sweepings should be disposed of in sealed bags.

Asphalt roofing

Roofing with bitumen felt or with mastic asphalt (C) laid in two or three coats.


The transfer of ownership of an insurance policy or lease


A room next to the roof with a ceiling (if any) following the roof slopes.


The sale of a property to the highest bidder, provided the amount exceeds any reserve. Buyers are required to sign a contract and pay a deposit immediately.

Condensation (3)

An electric extract fan of 150 or 200mm (6 or 8 in.) diameter over the cooker, vented to the outside air, removes much of the steam from the kitchen. Condensation on cold pipes can usually be prevented by moulded insulation or other efficient lagging. Occasionally the heat of a small refrigerator will keep a wall surface warm enough to prevent condensation on it. In laundries, cold stores or other places where condensation must at all costs be prevented, the most expensive solution may be needed - de-humid


The term used to describe the transfer of title in the context of a property transfer

Allocation questionnaire

A form used as part of the county court process to determine under which track a claim should be heard


A physical change to a building, usually used in the context of a structral change to a property that a lease might stipulate first requires landlord’s consent


An alternative means of granting rights over a property, infering rights of use but not rights of ownership, ie, a car parking space could be alllcoated for the use of Flat 15 but not demised to it. An example of the difference being that if a car parking space is demised by virtue of ownership the owner may be able erect a barrier on it, paint it, park an untaxed car in it .... unless any transfer/lease or document or grant outlaws such activities. This being opposed to an allocated space of which the ownership may lie with the Freeholder or Management Company who would have the rights to set the standards on such matters.

Accounting system

Accounts package designed to hold information in respect of individual leaseholders and landlords. Records all financial aspects of the company.

Article 4 Directions

Under Article 4 of the General Permitted Development Order, Camden can take away permitted development rights. This is a short summary of the Article 4 directions made by Camden. Full details are available from the Duty Planner.

Baluster, banister (joi.)

A post in a balustrade of a bridge or flight of stairs. Wooden turned balusters were first used in England in Elizabethan times and were then about 8 cm (3 in.) in diamater.


Collective name to the whole infilling from handrail down to floor level at the edge of a stair, bridge, etc.

Barge board

A long section of timber used to face the edge of a pitched roof at the point where it meets the gable end.

Barge board, verge b., gable b.

A sloping board (built in pairs) along a gable, covering the ends of roof timbers, and protecting them from rain. Old barge boards were often beautifully carved.

Base course

The lowest or lowest visible course of a masonry wall, often provided with a water table.

Basic variable mortgage rate

The mortgage lender's standard rate of interest which may be increased or decreased, depending on prevailing economic conditions.


A length of timber to which roof tiles are fixed.

Bay window

A window formed in a projection of the wall beyond its general line. Unlike an oriel window, it is carried on foundations outside the general building line and an oriel is carried on corbels.

Bearer (carp.)

A horizontal timber, often a joist, which spreads load.


A person for whose benefit property is being held by trustees, executors or administrators.

Bill of quantities (q.s.)

A list of numbered items, each of which describes the quantity of some work to be done in a civil engineering or building contract. When the procedure of tendering is adopted (as is usual in Britain), the bill is sent out to contractors. Those contractors who wish to do the work write an extended price opposite each item. This price bill is the contractor's offer (or tender or bid) to do the work.


A tar like substance which when heated becomes liquid, and then hardens after cooling. Generally used for joining both layers of a flat felt roof.

Blistering (pai.)

Bubbles in a paint surface, caused by vaporization of moisture or resin under the surface.

Block / Block of Flats

Self-contained units in a residential property are termed Blocks of Flats. When such blocks seek to form a Right to Manage Company, the Block needs to fulfil legal criteria pertaining to the number of units, its capacity for redevelopment, the proportion of commercial to residential property, and the ability of the tenants to meet qualifying criteria.

Block bonding

Connecting several courses of brickwork of one wall into the courses of another, often for bonding shallow facing bricks into thicker common bricks in the backing, and for bonding new work into old. Compare toothing.

Bond (1)

Laying bricks or stones in a wall in a regular pattern, devised when mortars were weaker and had less adhesion than now. It was important then for every vertical joint to be at least a quarter of the length of a brick or stone from the next vertical joint above or below. It is not now so essential. Common bonds include: American, diagonal, English, English cross, Flemish, garden-wall, heading, stretching.

Bond (2)

The placing of slates or plain tiles to exclude rain in such a way that the joint between adjoining units is at or near the centre of the unit in the course below them.

Bond (3) pla.

Adhesion (also called interface strength) resulting from mechanical bond (C) and specific adhesion (C).

Bond (4) tim.

The layer of glue in a plywood joint.

Bond (5)

See lashing, also C.

Bond failure (pla.)

The commonest fault in plasters - detachment of a coat from the background or from an earlier coat. Defects that can cause it, either alone or in combination include: lack of key in the background or the earlier coat, sometimes caused by dirt or grease or the formation of salt at the interface; unset plaster caused by premature drying; too wet or too dry background (suction faults); movement caused by moisture expansion or contraction or settlement of the building (BS 5492).

Bow window

A bay window which is curved in plan.

Brick definitions

The BSI defines four types of clay or concrete brick: cellular bricks with indentations (frogs) exceeding 20% of the volume; 'solid' bricks with a frog less than 20% of the volume, alternatively with small holes passing through that do not exceed 25% of the volume; thirdly 'perforated' bricks with small through holes exceeding 25% of the volume; fourthly 'hollow' bricks with large through holes exceeding 25% of the volume. 'Small holes' are less than 2cm across or 5 sq.cm. in area. But the bulk of US bricks in current use are 'solid' according to these definitions. Bricks with small through holes are nevertheless known as 'perforated' although the BS call them 'solid' (BS 3921, 6073).

Bridging loan

A temporary loan, which allows a buyer to complete on the purchase of a property before selling their previous property.

British Standard, BS, BS specification

A numbered publication of the British Standards Institution description the quality or the dimensions of a manufacture, such as pipes or bricks. Frequently dimensions and the quality are described in two separate standards. The use by architects or engineers of British Standards in their specifications can reduce reduce the volume of the description to a reference (for steel frames, for example) to BS 449.

British Standards Institution, BSI

The British organization for standardizing, by agreement between maker and user, the methods of test and dimensions of materials as well as codes of practice and nomenclature. Corresponding organizations other countries are AFNOR (Association Francais de Normalisation); ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials); ASA (American Standards Association). A German standard number is prefixed DIN (Deutsche Industrie Norm).

Building code (USA)

Local building laws corresponding to Building Regulations in Britain. Compare code of practice.

Building inspector

An employee in Britain of a local authority, building society, or insurance company, who tells his employers whether a building is built in accordance with the law or advises them on its rateable value, fire risk, and mortgage value. He needs wide knowledge of building construction, which may be attested by the Building Inspector's Certificate of the Institution of Municipal Engineers. See inspector (C), building official.

Building Insurers

The issuers of Insurance for the Building

Building line (1)

The line fixed, usually by the local authority, as a limit to building near a road.

Building line (2)

The outside face of the wall of a building, shown, in plan, as a line on a drawing.

Building official (USA)

An employee of a local authority whose duty it is to enforce a building code. He may correspond to the British building inspector.

Building regulations

Prior to the owner of a property carrying out extension work, alterations or structural changes, building regulations need to be obtained from the local authority giving their approval for the work to commence.

Building Research Digest BRE Digest

Inexpensive leaflets stating the conclusions of the Building Research Establishment about a building topic. They are issued monthly, covering hundreds of subjects from 'Co-ordination of building colours' to 'Materials for making concrete'. The full title is Building Research Establishment Digest.

Building Research Establishment (BRE)

The BRE of the British Department of the Environment was created in 1971 by the fusion of four government bodies, the Building Research Station (Watford, Herts), the BRE Scottish Laboratory (East Kilbride, Glasgow), the Fire Research Station (Boreham Wood, Herts), and the former Forest Products Research Laboratory (Princes Risborough, Bucks). One example of the international reputation of the BRE its work on single-stack drainage.

Building survey (formerly a full structural survey)

This type of survey does not typically include a valuation of the property. This survey is designed to provide a full assessment of the construction of the building and its current condition. It includes details of major and minor faults detected and may recommend further specialist investigation of particular aspects of the property. It is particularly useful for listed buildings, older properties, or properties of unique design and also for dilapidated buildings or properties where alterations have been made or are planned.

Building surveyor (q.s.)

A person trained in the techniques, costs and law of building construction. He advises on alterations, building defects, easements, extensions, renovations, energy conservation, planning applications, improvement grants, maintenance, fire insurance, and structural surveys in buildings in use. 'Chartered' building surveyors are Fellows or Associates of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Others belong to the Incorporated Association of Architects and Surveyors or the Faculty of Architects and Surveyors.

Buildings Insurance

The policy issued by the insurers for a Building

Buy to let mortgage

A type of mortgage specifically for investors buying a property with the intention of then letting it out

Boiler flue

The part of a boiler that removes waste gasses from combustion to safe disposal (usuallly outside a building). There are some types of flue that serve dual purpose and bring in fresh air for the combustion process as well as removing waste gasses."

Capital Gains Tax

A tax upon any profit realised on the disposal of an asset. Owner occupied properties are generally exempt from Capital Gains Tax.

Capitalisation rate (sometimes called the yield)

An investment valuation term that represents the perentage rate by which the right to receive either an income or a future capital value is capitalised. Principle rent x yield/capitalisation rate = Value.

Capped mortgage

Is provided by lenders with an upper limit on the interest rate, normally agreed for a fixed period of time.

Cased frame, boxed f. (joi.)

The hollow, fixed parts of a sash window, containing the sash weights and pulleys and bounded by visible boards called the outside lining and inside lining.


County Court Judgement, any person who has defaulted on payments or has bad debts could have a CCJ taken out against them by the courts, which could prevent that person from obtaining a mortgage offer.


If a Buyer can only complete the purchase of a property subject to the completion of the sale of his current property, the purchase is 'chained' to the sale.


A legal term covering a registered claim against a property as security for money owing.

Chartered Surveyor

A member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors once qualified to MRICS or FRICS status will be a Chartered Surveyor.

Chemical damp proof course

A form of damp proof course using a chemical compound injected into the brickwork

Chimney breast

The chimney wall which projects into the room and contains the fireplace and flues.

Claim Dispute Reasons

The Landlord has recourse to three reasons for disputing the Clam Notice. In the Counter Claim Notice, he will either claim that the units in the property do not qualify for Right to Manage status, or that the Right to Manage Company does not comply with legislation, or that the Members insufficiently represent the qualifying Flat Owners within the properties.

Claim Notice - Section 79

A notification issued to the Landlord by the Right to Manage Company advising him that the Company is utilising the legal right to manage the units in the Property.

Clerk of works

The representative on a building site of the client. He usually works under the instructions of the architect or engineer, and ensures that the work done is exactly as specified in the contract, keeping records of such work as foundations, which are later covered up. He has a wide knowledge of building construction, which may be confirmed by membership of the Institute of Clerks of Works of Great Britain Incorporated or he may hold the Building Engineer's certificate of the Institution of Municipal Engineers. He is usually an experienced tradesman who has done considerable evening study.


The CML (Council of mortgage lenders) produced the Mortgage Code that ensures customers are treated fairly by lenders.

Commercial Purposes

Commercial Purposes is a general terms explaining the usage of those parts of a property not used for residential purposes.

Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002

This Act of Parliament permits Flat Owners to assume the responsibility for running their block in a property.

Company Law

Company Law governs the activities of a company.

Company Secretary

A Company Secretary is legally accountable for the Right to Manage Company's adherence to Company Law. He, or she, can also be a director of that company.

Competent Landlord (in the context of Lease Extensions & Freehold Purchase)

The landlord with a sufficiently superior interest in the property as to be able to grant the 90 year extension - that is, an interest over 90 years longer than your present lease. In most cases this will probably be your immediate landlord if he is the freeholder or if he is a headlessee with a lease which is sufficiently long. However, in some cases your immediate landlord may be a headlessee with a lease only a few days, or a few years, longer than yours and therefore you need to identify the landlord with sufficient interest to grant you the new lease. To identify the competent landlord you will need to know the details, especially length of term, of any intermediate landlords who may be between you and the freeholder.


Legal transfer of ownership of a property to a Buyer only occurs after completion (when all transactions involved in the sale have been completed).

Completion date

The date of payment of the balance of the purchase money, when the buyer is entitled to take possession of the property.


The lack of adequate ventilation in a room causes an accumulation of moist air, which when it meets a cold wall or window deposits moisture in the form of condensation. Can easily be cured by an increase in ventilation and improving insulation.

Condensation (1)


Condensation (2)

Surface condensation is seen as dewdrops or damp patches on indoor surfaces, caused by the release of water from air as it is cooled below its surfaces, caused by the release of water from air as it is cooled below its dewpoint (C). Warm, damp indoor air striking cold surfaces, releases the water it holds as vapour. The other type, interstitial condensation, is ordinarily never seen. The average family gives out 12kg (21 pints) of water daily into the air of their home because of breathing, cooking and washing. Coal fires can draw all this up the chimney. Ideally the structure should be warmed to 10 degrees C. or more throughout the winter. Flueless heaters, burning paraffin or gas, should never be used to heat a house suffering from condensation. They release one volume of water in burning one volume of oil. Gas produces even more water per unit of heat than oil.

Conditions of sale

The details that determine the rights and duties of the buyer and seller.

Contents insurance

Insurance that protects the contents of the property.


A legally binding written document of agreement between two parties approved by both sides' solicitors, and setting out the agreed terms by which both sides are committed to proceed to completion.

Contract race

This occurs when two parties have made an offer on the same house, usually at the same price. The vendor will sell to whichever party exchanges contracts first.


Is either taken to mean the act of transferring ownership of a property, or alternatively the legal document which effects the transfer.


A Conveyancer is a qualified advisor of the legal requirements of buying or selling a property.


The legal work involved in buying or selling of a property.

Coping stones

Generally a \"flat\" stone used to cap the top of parapet walls or garden walls.


A moulded at the top of an outside wall, overhanging it to throw the drips away from the wall, or where an inside wall joins the ceiling.

Counter Notice - Section 84

A Counter Notice responds to the Right to Manage Company. It is issued by the Landlord and either conceding or contesting the entitlement sought by the Claim Notice.


A binding promise in a deed to do or not to do something i.e., maintenance of a fence, or restrictions to trading from a premises.


Covenants are rules and regulations relating to the property, which are contained in its lease or title deeds.

Contents insurance Insurance that protects the contents of the property.

Conditions of Sale are list all rights and obligations due to the Buyer and the Seller, and are usually determined by law or by industry regulations or both.

Companies House

The organisation that is the register of companies incorporated in England & Wales. All companies each year have to submit a return of Officers (Directors & Company Secretary) and periodically shareholders to Companies House and register any changes to the structure of the company and other transactions also.

Client account

A bank account in which Client money is held by a third party such as a Solicitor or Surveyor. The designation Client account denotes that creditors of the Solicitor/Surveyor’s practice who is holding the money cannot use the money to off-set against any debts of the company by virtue of the account being designated a Client account

Contract Administration

The term used for the job a Surveyor/Architect or Building Engineer does when administrating a building works project. As opposed to Project Co-ordination which implies co-ordination of various contractors/consultants and Project Management which implies the day to day running on site of a building works project. Contract Administration concerns itself with all stages of the job from writing the specification, running the tender process & analysing tenders for risk, dealing with the pre-start checks on the nominated contractor (references, insurance, health & safety policy, Corgi/NICEIC certificates etc...), agreeing the programme of works as well as attending site on an agreed frequency (perhaps weekly) to certificate works done and issue contract directions or variations should work either not be up to standard or alternative works need substituting.

CORGI registration

Corgi is the initials used to refer to the National Watchdog for Gas Safety inthe UK. The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1988 places specific duties on gas users, installers, suppliers and landlords for example; anyone carrying out work on gas appliances or fittings as part of their business must be copmetent and registered with CORGI. www.corgi-gas-safety.com

CIS schemes

The term used as an abbreviation for the ????? scheme

Compliance certificate

The term used for the certificate that may be required by the Land Registry to enable a new buyer to register a change of ownership of title in a property. Certificates of Compliance are not required for all property transfers only those where when the lease or transfer document was first created a restriction against asignment was entered into the title register at Land Registry.

CPO - Compulsory Purchase Order

The term used to describe the papers that may be served to compulsorily purchase, ie, dispossess and buy a property or land. A compulsory purchase order must be applied for to governemnt and be passed as an Act of parliament and list the properties to be acquired in it. Schemes that typically give rise to such orders include road, rail, aerodrome schemes or estate improvement or shopping centre development schemes.

CCJ - County Court Judgment

The decision issued by a County Court having considered a case put before it


A legal term given to a notice called a caution that an interested party registers on the title of a property. The body who control title deeds being the Land Registry.

Conservation Areas

Conservation areas are present in most Local Authorities nationally, they vary greatly in age, size, character and style. Better-known conservation areas include the historic stuccoed terraces circling Regent's Park designed by Nash's. However, some innovative nineteenth and twentieth century housing estates may also be conservation areas. A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. Conservation areas are very much part of the familiar and cherished local scene. It is the area as a whole rather than the specific buildings that is of special interest.

Criteria for Listing"

The following are the main criteria, which the DCMS uses in deciding which buildings to include on the statutory list: architectural design, decoration and craftsmanship; also important examples of particular building types and techniques and significant plan forms illustrations of important aspects of the nation's social, economic, cultural or military history close historical association with nationally important people or events group value especially where buildings comprise an important architectural or historic group or a fine example of planning e.g. squares, terraces or model villages The older a building is, and the fewer the surviving examples of its kind, the more likely it is to have historic importance. All buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition are listed and most buildings built between 1700 and 1840 are listed. There is a greater selection of buildings erected after 1840 to identify the best examples of particular building types and only buildings of definite quality and character are listed. Buildings that are less than 30 years old, are normally listed only if they are of outstanding quality and under threat. Buildings are not listed until they are at least 10 years old.

Damp course, damp-proof c., dpc

A layer of impervious material laid in a wall to exclude water, usually at least 150 mm (6 in.) above ground level, as well as above the junctions of parapet walls with a roof and above or before the door or window openings. Vertical damp courses (tanking) of asphalt material keep basements dry. Damp courses may be flexible or rigid. They were not required by law until the Public Health Act 1875. See dampness, also BSCP 102.

Damp proof membrane

A sheet of polythene or other impervious material incorporated in a solid floor to prevent rising damp.

Dap, dapping (carp.) (mainly USA)

A sinking such as those made for timber connectors, or a housing for a ribbon board in a stud.

Deciduous trees (tim.)

Trees which lose their leaves every year, that is all hardwoods and a few softwoods. See larch.

Deed of variation

See \"Defective Lease\" below.


Deeds are legal proofs of ownership, held by the Lender.

Defective lease

A badly drafted lease. If this is serious, the vendor may have to obtain a \"deed of variation\" getting the freeholder's permission to change the original terms of the lease.

Deferment rate

An investment valuation term that represents the perentage rate by which the right to receive either an income or a future capital value is postponed


This is a sum of money required from the buyer when he enters into an enforceable agreement. This is usually on the signing of the contract, and can be between 5 and 10 per cent of the purchase price.


A property that is physically separate from the neighbouring properties.

Determination Date

The determination date is the Landlord's deadline (typically at least 30 days after the issuance of the Claim Notice).for response to the Claim Notice.


A Development is a general term used to describe either modernised & renovated existing property or a newly built property.


These refer to disrepair or damage done to a rented property.


A Company Director is legally accountable for the running of the Right to Manage Company. He, or she is legally obliged to comply with Company law and with Health & Safety law.


These are fees paid by the buyer's solicitor on the buyer's behalf, such as stamp duty, land registry fees, and search fees.


The discharge of the mortgage is the process of paying it off.

District surveyor

A civil or structural engineer (C), an official peculiar to London, whose responsibility is the approval of building design and construction from the point of view of safety (fire, stability, etc.) in his district, usually a former London borough. He is an employee of the Greater London Council.

Dormer window

A window which projects outwards from a pitched roof.

Dot and dab fixing

A refinement of plaster dab fixing using small pieces (75 x 50 mm or 3 x 2 in.) of insulating board (usually bitumen-impregnated-fibre) of suitable thickness. They are bedded on the wall in board finish plaster smears and levelled with a straight edge. They are placed about 450 mm (18 in.) apart horizontally and not more than 1 m (3 ft 4 in.) apart vertically. These pieces of board are the dots. When the plaster has set, plaster dabs are placed on them. Plasterboards are pressed on the dabs and held in place with lifting wedges. The dabs should not be less than 25 mm (1 in.) from the edges of the boards to keep the correct alignment of the boards. (One dab may interfere with a neighbouring board). Once the plasterboard has been trued it can be temporarily fixed with a few rust-resisting double-headed nails (C) that are withdrawn when the dabs have set, leaving only a few small holes to fill.

Double glazing

Glazing in which two layers of glass are separated by air space for thermal or acoustic insulation. Sealed units are commonly installed for thermal insulation. Heat losses are therefore nearly halved and condensation usually prevented, but this type only slightly reduces the volume of sound passing through the window.

Draft contract

This is a preliminary unconfirmed version of the contract, prepared by the vendor's solicitor

Drip channel

A drip.

Dry lining

This is a method of finishing to walls whereby they are lined with plasterboard rather than layers of wet plaster based coats. After which, a thin finishing coat of plaster is then applied. This method of finishing an interior wall ensures that the plaster dries significantly quicker (hence the name).

Dutch auction

The original meaning refers to an auction in reverse, where an offer price is announced and the auctioneer gradually reduces it until a bid is made. However this meaning has been lost, and a Dutch auction now refers to the informal bidding that takes place when two or more potential buyers are outbidding each other for a property.

Duty to Provide Information Notice - Section 93

A request that can be sent after the issuance of the Claim Notice to the Landlord by the RTM Company for the information required to run the Block.

Deed of covenant

A legal document which is executed by the parties whereby one party undertakes to perform certain obligations. Normally used in the context of a conveyance whereby the purchaser enters into a deed of covenant effectively promising to abide by the covenants set out in the original lease for the property which he/she is buying. This is because when a lease on a property is created it is created for a term of years (say 99) and the original parties to that lease remain on it for the entire 99 years. When a property is sold the buyer buys the same lease as written but enters into a deed of covenant being his/her promise to abide by all covenants in the original lease.

Dry rot

A type of rot called serpula lacrymans which is a wood-destroying fungus which reduces the structural integrity of a timbers and is therefore best known for its ability to destroy timbers in buildings.Dry rot is distinctive by its cuboidal cracking which causes wood to shrink and darken. At different stages of gestation wood may be either covered with a silky grey mushroom coloured skin, have patches of yellow or lilac or orangy/red fruiting bodies with wide pores nearby which you may find rust red dust. In humid conditions a white fluffly mycelium can develop, active decay is notable by its musty damp odour.

Dilapidations survey (Schedule of dilapidations)

A survey usually carried out by a Chartered Surveyor or Chartered Building Engineer the objective of which is to produce a list of wants of repair (dilapidations). Often a Schedule of Dilapidations would be carried out during a commercial lease in which the Freeholder or owner of the property has passed certain repairing obligations to the lessee or tenant in occupation. A Schedule of Dilapidations would be called by the owner to identify in the context of the lease what repairs are due.


The term used to refer to a property over which the occupation rights are conveyed to a person, ie, the demise includes all that property known as the first floor flat. Could also refer to a car parking space in a development

DDA - Disability Discrimination Act

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 was passed by the government to further extend provide for the rights of disabled people to prevent discrimination to access to public buildings

Dormant company

A company that is not trading, but still legally exists, ie, the company has not been wound up or struck off the register at Companies House. In the context of estate management a company might be able to be considered as dormant if, it does not receive any income, ie, interest or ground rent buy or sell any assets, ie, purchase the freehold in a given year, or sell a share in the Freehold to a non freehold shareholder have a company bank account, or hold any funds in its own name

Different Grades of Listing

Listed buildings are placed in one of three grades, which give an indication of their relative importance - grade I, grade II* or grade II. Grade I and II* listed buildings are a small proportion (about 6% nationally) of all listed buildings. They are particularly important to the nation's built heritage as buildings of outstanding architectural or historic interest, their significance is beyond dispute. Grade II listed buildings include the majority of listed buildings representing a major element in the historic quality of Camden. Grading can be changed where re-evaluation takes place after damage or alteration, or as more evidence of a building's history or architectural quality comes to light. But the statutory controls on alterations apply equally to all listed buildings whatever the grade.


A term given to a right which someone may enjoy over another property. These can be rights of way, drainage rights, or more likely access to a neighbour's land in order to carry out repairs to their own property.


The underneath section of a roof overhang.

Elemental Or Specialist Investigation

This kind of survey is carried out when the Building Survey has identified specific problems with the property (such as cracks in the walls) and recommended specialist analysis, by qualified personnel. It may also require the testing of services, which is not carried out in a Building Survey.


A liability imposed on the owner of a property, which is then binding on subsequent owners.

Endowment mortgage

These are not as popular as they were, and involve both building society and an insurance company. Repayments to the building society are in respect of interest only. The capital sum outstanding remains constant throughout the term, and is repaid by means of an endowment policy taken out with the insurance company when the policy matures or in the event of death of the policy holders.


Deeds are usually drawn up in draft form for approval by each party's solicitors. When the deeds are approved, sometimes after amendments, the final drafts are then engrossed for all parties to sign.


The difference between the value of a property and the amount of mortgage owed.

ERC (Early redemption charge)

The Lender may charge the Borrower a fee determined in the mortgage contract, if the Borrower re-pays the mortgage before the end of the term agreed in that mortgage.


The initial sum paid on an insurance claim.

Exchange of contracts

The occasion where signed contracts are physically exchanged and the Buyer and the Seller become legally bound to the price and terms of the purchase and sale of a property.


A right to pass over property or land

Failed valuation survey

The Lender may reject a mortgage application if the surveyor's valuation report shows that the property is worth less than the mortgage sought.

Financial Obligations

Financial Obligations identify those obligations to be paid on behalf of all the Owner(s) in a property, and typically covers maintenance, insurance, and repairs.

Fixed rate mortgage

A fixed rate mortgage fixes the rate of interest for a given period of time.

Fixtures & fittings

All non-structural items included in the purchase of a property.

Fixtures and fittings

All non-structural items included in the purchase of a property.

Flash (1)

To make a weathertight joint, called a flashing.

Flash (2)

Mould mark In any casting, a narrow strip of surface metal, indicating leakage from the mould, projecting along a line that was the boundary between the two halves of the mould. It usually removed by fettling.


Thin sheets of lead or similar material used to form a waterproof join at the point where two structures of differing angles meet, normally on a roof. In Victorian times these were often made with cement, and generally need to be replaced.

Flashing (1)

A strip of impervious usually flexible metal such as zinc 0.8 mm thick or copper 0.56 mm thick or lead 1.8 mm thick, or asbestos-bitumen which is even thicker) that excludes water from the junction between a roof covering and another surface (usually vertical). Flashings, at their upper end, are usually wedged tightly into mortar joints raked out to receive them. See also apron flashing, cover flashing, raking flashing, stepped flashing.

Flashing (2)

Burning bricks alternatively with too much and too little air to give them varied colours.

Flashing (3) (pai.)

The defect of glossier patches in a finish, particularly at joints or laps.

Flat Owner

The Flat Owner owns the lease of the flat.

Flat varnish (pai.)

A varnish, lacquer, or enamel with its gloss reduced by adding wax, soap, pigment, or filler.

Flatting down, rubbing (pai.)

Sanding with powdered pumice and felt, cuttle fish, glass paper, or other abrasives.

Flexible mortgage

A mortgage that allows for agreed increases or decreases in the repayments to be made.

Floor varnish (pai.)

A varnish put on floorboards must be quick drying, tough, abrasion-resistent, washable, and must take wax polish.


A passage for smoke either in a chimney or leading to it. The 230 x 230mm (9 x 9 in.) square pargetted brick flue has been superseded by clay flue linings which, for an open fire may have an equally large flueway, or for a gas fire which may be much smaller. Except for gas fires, each flue serves one fire only.

Flue block

See flue lining and illus.

Flying freehold

This can occur when first floor accommodation forming part of one freehold is located over ground floor accommodation forming part of another freehold. The first floor freeholder does not own the land beneath the property, and is then said to own a \"flying freehold\"

Forced sale value

A price one would expect to obtain for a property on the open market without delay, assuming that a normal or reasonable amount of time is not available in which to market that property.


Where, the ownership of the property by the owner has no time limit.


A person who grants the lease (i.e. the landlord).


Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.


The front boundary of a property.

Frost in houses

There may be a risk of boiler explosion when the cold feed to a hot water system is blocked by ice. Water from an open reservoir or filter beds may be not much above 0 degrees C. when delivered into the supply mains in winter. To ensure the main does not freeze, it should be covered by at least 750 mm (2 ft 6 in.) of earth. In Sweden, 2 m (6 ft. 6 in.) is usual. Water mains should therefore rise into the house well inside the outer walls. Overflow pipes from roof cold water cisterns should have obstructions to the inward flow of cold air. One of the best ways of doing this inside the building is to put a right-angle downward bend on the entrance to the overflow pipe, submerging it in the cistern. This obstructs the overflow, so it may sometimes be preferable to put the bend (or a tee) at the outside end of the overflow pipe (BSCP 99). (Illus. p. 69).

Freehold purchase

The term used to describe the clubbing together of leaseholders to exercise their statutory rights granted by the Leasehold Reform (Housing & Urban Development) Act 1993 to dispossess the freeholder of their interest in a block of flats, to buy the freehold. This being a right in law subject to certain qualification criteria as opposed to a voluntary sale to the lessees by the freeholder.

Freehold enfranchisement

The term used to describe the clubbing together of leaseholders to exercise their statutory rights granted by the Leasehold Reform (Housing & Urban Development) Act 1993 to dispossess the freeholder of their interest in a block of flats, to buy the freehold. This being a right in law subject to certain qualification criteria as opposed to a voluntary sale to the lessees by the freeholder.

Fascia Board

A fascia board is the name given to a board often wood or uPVC that is fitted to a building in order to provide secure fixings for guttering or downpipe brackets.

FENSA Regulations

FENSA stands for the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme. It has been set up by the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF), at the request of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in response to the current Building Regulations for England and Wales All replacement glazing in homes comes within the scope of the Building Regulations. Anyone who installs replacement windows or doors has to comply with current thermal performance standards. When having windows and doors replaced homeowners must ensure that they get a certificate of compliance. This may be obtained from FENSA or from Local Authority Building Control. A consideration in contractor selection will therefore be whether the contractor you wish to appoint is FENSA approved as if so they will usually take responsibility for obtaining for you the relevant certification.

Gable end

This is the side wall of a house when it extends upwards into the inverted \"V\" of a pitched roof.


In the event of two people wishing to purchase the same property, one buyer may offer more than the other to tempt the seller into proceeding with him. This is despite the fact that the seller may have already accepted the other buyer's offer, subject to contract. There is no legal obligation to the first buyer, only a moral one.


This is similar to gazumping, except on this occasion it is the purchaser reducing his offer prior to exchange of contracts. It probably goes without saying that gazumping is prevalent in an active market, and gazundering in a slow market.


Government stocks, sold on the stock exchange. An alternative form of investment to putting your money in the bank

Ground rent

When a person lets land to another and he then subsequently builds on the land, the rent passing is in respect of the land only and is therefore known as ground rent.


A mortgage lender may require a borrower to appoint a guarantor. This is someone who promises to pay the borrower's debt if the borrower defaults, could for example be a parent taking personal responsibility should their child default on payments.


A channel along the edge of a road or an eave, to remove rainwater. Eaves gutters can occur where two roof slopes meet. See box gutter.

Grant of new lease

The term used to describe a transaction where the freeholder/landowner demises an interest in land via a legal contract called a lease to the person buying it. The person buying may be referred to in the contract as a lessee, tenant or leaseholder.

Head Lessee

The Head Lessee owns the Head Lease, out of which all sub leases have been issued.

Header tank

A small water storage tank normally placed in a roof, which is required to replace water lost in a hot water system due to expansion.

Home buyers survey and valuation report

This is a survey report which is not as detailed as a full structural survey and is carried out by a chartered surveyor.

Homebuyer's survey and valuation (house/flat buyer's report)

Unlike the Building survey, this type of survey does include a valuation of the property. This survey is designed to provide a general assessment of the condition of the building and highlights any significant problems that may affect the property value. It is particularly useful for properties of conventional design, built within the last 150 years.

Hope value

The amount by which a prospective purchasers bid for a property would be increased due to expectations of an increase in value, for example, by knowledge that it might be easy to get planning permission for a more valuable use.

Head lease

A term which is often used to describe the top lease in a heirarchy of leases. Such leases are often created where perhaps a freeholder or land owner does not sell the freehold interest in their land to a developer but grants a lease which allows the developer to construct a building and then later sell off leases for a day or so less than the developers lease in the various units created. As well as the cash consideration paid to buy the lease the head lessee would normally covenant/undertake to pay the freeholder ground rent in return for his lease.

How is a Building Listed

Buildings are added (or removed) from the list by the DCMS Listing, Archaeology and World Heritage branch, on the advice of specialist inspectors employed by English Heritage. A building is added in one of three ways: periodic re-survey of a borough or district sstudies of particular building types eg. post-war housing spot listing of individual buildings under threat. There is no requirement to consult the owners before a building is listed but unless an inspector is aware of a specific threat, they will contact the owner or leave a visiting card. There is also no right of appeal against a listing and no right to compensation for loss of redevelopment opportunities.

How Can I Get a Building Listed or Delisted

The DCMS will consider a request to review a listing providing the request is accompanied by new evidence relating specifically to the architectural or historic interest of the building. Evidence about a building's condition and cost of repairing or maintaining it or redevelopment plans can not be considered by the DCMS. If you want a building to be listed or a listing to be reconsidered, you must write to: Department of Culture Media and Sport Listing, Archaeology and World Heritage Branch 2-4 Cockspur Street London SW1Y 5DH You do not need to be the owner of a building but the DCMS does not normally consider a request for de-listing when: there is a current application for listed building consent relating to the building there is an appeal against refusal of consent if any legal action is being taken by Camden. Any request for a listing review should be accompanied by: a justification for adding (or deleting) a building location plan clear up-to-date photographs any other historical information on the building. There is no requirement to consult the owners before a building is listed but unless an inspector is aware of a specific threat, they will contact the owner or leave a visiting card. There is also no right of appeal against a listing and no right to compensation for loss of redevelopment opportunities.


Insulation of the cold wall can help, or if it is already insulated, a vapour check should help to keep it dry and thus to maintain its insulation value. Vinyl-faced paper is one of the easiest vapour checks to install. Adding insulation such as 5mm (0.2 in.) thick expanded polystyrene also helps. None of these improvements should be made before the wall is completely dry.


Independent Financial Advisor.

Improvement rate (in the context of Lease extension & Freehold Purchase)

The rate by which the value of a flat increases by virtue of it having a long lease as opposed to a short lease


Building societies operate in accordance with the Building Societies Act. This provides that the maximum advance they can make on a property without additional security is 75% of the purchase price or surveyor's valuation for pre 1919 properties, and 80% for post 1919 properties. When a society lends in excess of this percentage, the excess is guaranteed by an indemnity policy. A single premium is payable by the purchaser when the mortgage is taken out.

Individual savings account (ISA) mortgage

An interest-only mortgage linked to an Individual Savings Account fund. It is designed to pay off the loan at the end of the period.

Informal tender

Requires competing buyers to submit their best bids by a specific time and date. It is not a legally binding contract.

Interest charges (mortgage)

Interest charges are the percentage of the amount borrowed that the Lender then charges to the Borrower.

Interest only mortgage

An interest only mortgage stays the same throughout the mortgage term. When choosing an interest only mortgage, the purchaser is responsible for ensuring that they have sufficient funds available to repay the mortgage at the end of the term.

Interest-only mortgage

An interest-only mortgage that remains unchanged through the lifetime of the loan. Interest is paid monthly and a separate premium is paid to an investment instrument each month. By the end of the term, the proceeds from the investment instrument are supposed to be sufficient to repay the principal of the mortgage. The borrower is liable to ensure that this is the case.

Intermediate Landlord

An intermediate landlord (often called a head lessee) may be the person to whom you pay ground rent, as the intermediate landlord holds a finite leasehold title (as you do) they in turn will have to pay ground rent to the Freeholder. An intermediate landlord may make profit from his title, this would be because the ground rent he collects from all the lessees in the block exceeds the ground rent he has to pay the freeholder. And/or an intermediate landlord may hold a reversionary interest this could arise because the head lessee was granted an interest in the building for say 125 years and you as an under lessee were only granted a term of 99 years. This would mean that for 26 years the head lessee has a right to your flat before he would have to give it back to the Freeholder.


A list describing the condition of furnishings and the contents of a leased property at the start and end of a tenancy, in order that any dilapidations during the tenancy can then be identified.

Investigation Prior To Alteration

Likely to involve a number of specialists, this survey is required to test the structure and the services of a building prior to any designated alteration to that building.

IEE 16th edition

A version of the IEE regulations

Insurance proposal

A form filled in by a person wanting to procure/take out an insurance policy declaring certain facts to enable an insurance provider to give a premium or terms quotation.

Insurance schedules

A summary of insuance cover, as opposed to the full policy, which sets out key policy terms and conditions such as extent of cover (in pounds) and key exclusions (such as subsidence) and excesses (monetry amounts that would be excluded in settling a claim)


Either side of a window or door opening.

Joint agency

The appointment of two estate agents to act jointly in the sale of a property. Normally the commission is shared between both agents irrespective of who introduced the buyer, although generally a slightly higher percentage is awarded to the introducing agent. In a multiple agency, where several agents are involved, the commission is payable solely to the agent who introduces the buyer.

Joist (1)

A wooden or steel beam directly supporting a floor, usually a common joist. Steel joists are often distinguished by calling them RSJs or rolled-steel joists (C).

Land Registry fee

Payable to the Land Registry to register ownership of a property.


The property's Head Lessor or freeholder is the Landlord.

Lands Tribunal

The Tribunal is a court of law, and appeal from its decisions lies to the Court of Appeal. Cases are usually heard by a single Member, but they may sometimes be heard by two Members (where substantial issues of both law and valuation arise, a lawyer and a valuer) or, in exceptional cases, by three members. The Tribunal has its own hearing rooms in London, at Ludgate Hill, but it sits wherever in the country the proper disposal of the case requires. Decisions are given in writing.


A legal document by which the freehold or leasehold owner of a property lets the premises to another party for a specific length of time, after which point it may revert to the freeholder or superior leaseholder.


Leaseholds show that the ownership of a property is by determined in a lease.

Leasehold Property

A property governed by a Lease.

Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993

This Act of Parliament allows those Lessees who meet the necessary qualification criteria to acquire an extension to their lease.

Leasehold Valuation Tribunal

The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (\"LVT\") is the formal name given to the body appointed to make decisions on various types of dispute relating to residential leasehold property. The LVT is an independent decision making body which is completely unconnected to the parties or any other public agency. The Tribunal will look at the matter of the Leasehold Dispute for the property following an application to the Tribunal.


A lessee is a person who holds a lease (i.e. the tenant).

Lender's arrangement fees

The Lender's fees to the Buyer for arranging a loan are known as their arrangement fees.

Lender's legal fees

The Lender's legal fees for arranging a mortgage are borne by the buyer.


A lessee is a person who holds a lease (i.e. the tenant).


A person who grants the lease (i.e. the landlord).


A horizontal beam above a door or window opening, used to support the brickwork above. These could be made of either timber, concrete or steel.

Lintel, lintol

A small beam over a door or window head, usually a carrying wall load alone.

Listed building

A building which is listed as being of special historical or architectural interest, which cannot then be demolished or altered without local government consent.

Loan Offer

A Loan offer is the Lender's formal approval of the Buyer's request for a mortgage. It notes all the applicable terms and conditions.

Loan to value (LTV)

LTV show the mortgage loan as a percentage of the property's value.

Local authority search

A search made at the local council office by a buyer's solicitor to check whether or not the property is affected by such matters as any outstanding enforcement or future development issues which might affect the property, or the immediate surrounding area.

Long Lease

A long Lease is a Lease granted for more than 21 years to a property.

Landlord's Gas Safety Certificate

A certificate that every person who lets a property under a tenancy which does not infer rights of maintenance and repair on the tenant (usually a tenancy as opposed to a lease) must have carried out annually. Such certificate must be carried out by Corgi registered gas fitter and must be provided to the tenant if requested.

Lease assignment

A transfer of a lease, ie, to convey a lease from the assignor (person currently holding the lease) to the assignee (person who wants to buy the lease

Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT)

A tribunal that has due restriction over matters such as reasonableness and recoverability of service charges, premiums for statutory lease extensions and freehold enfranchisement

Listed Buildings

A listed building is a building, object or structure that has been judged to be of national historical or architectural interest. It is included on a register called the Statutory List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest, drawn up by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS): www.culture.gov.uk Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Lawful Development

How do I obtain a legal document confirming that planning permission is not required? If you think that planning permission is not required you can make an application for a lawful development certificate. Applications may relate to: existing or proposed uses of a building building works you are about to carry out building works that have already been carried out It is your responsibility to supply us with all the information that will show that permission is not required. We can agree or refuse an application for a lawful development certificate. There is a right of appeal against a refusal of a certificate.

Maintenance charge (or service charge)

The cost of repairing and maintaining external and / or internal communal parts of a building, which are then charged to the tenant or leaseholder.


Technically a maisonette is an apartment which is on two levels, with its own separate access. Although generally properties on two levels, with or without separate access, are referred to as maisonettes.

Marriage Value (in the context of Freehold Purchase & Lease Extension)

Marriage value represents the increase in the value of the flats following the completion of the enfranchisement; their additional market value arising from the ability of the enfranchising leaseholders to grant themselves longer leases. In that this potential \"profit\" only arises from the freeholder's obligation to sell, the legislation requires that it be shared equally between the parties

Mastic (1)

Resin from the Levantine mastic tree, that may be chewed or used as varnish when dissolved in alcohol.

Measured Survey

Also known as a Dimensional Survey, this survey involves measuring a building's dimensions in order to prepare accurate scale drawings. The reason such drawings are required must be agreed beforehand to confirm the level of detail required and any acceptable tolerances.

Memorandum and Articles of Association

The defining documents of the running of the Right to Manage Company


A sum of money lent by a bank or building society and repaid over a fixed (and usually long) period of time where the loan security is the property.

Mortgage deed

The Mortgage deed legal codifies the terms of the mortgage and the Lender's interest in the property.

Mortgage indemnity guarantee

An insurance policy that a mortgage lender may require the purchaser to pay if their loan is above a specified amount of the purchase price.

Mortgage indemnity guarantee (MIG)

See Additional Security Fee.

Mortgage indemnity premium (MIP)

See Additional Security Fee.

Mortgage payment protection (MPP)

An MPP is an insurance policy that protects the Borrower against inability to work (through illness, redundancy, or disability) by paying the monthly mortgage payment for a fixed period of time.

Mortgage rate

The standard variable interest rate all mortgage lenders use as the basis for their discounted mortgage rates. This tends to vary according to the Bank of England base rate.

Mortgage term

The time over which the mortgage is to be repaid in regular payments, or the time at the end of which the mortgage is repaid in its entirety.

Mortgage valuation

A valuation carried out by a Chartered Surveyor for bank security purposes usually in connection with the purchase or remortage of a property


The lender of a mortgage i.e. a bank or building society.


The recipient of the mortgage.


Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.


The upright dividing section of a window.

Multiple agency

See joint agency.

Memorandum and articles

The documents that set out the legal constitution of a company or association together with the activities which are permitted by the company.


The National Association of Estate Agents.

Negative equity

Occurs when the value of a property falls to less than the outstanding mortgage, so that despite having sold the property the owner will have a continuing debt.


A vertical post into which the side sections of a staircase are fixed

NHBC (National Housebuilding Council)

A non-profit making, independent body approved by the Department of the Environment, which lays down standards for housebuilders who are registered with them. The council issues 10 year certificates, which allow for the remedying of any serious defects developing during that time, on new-build properties. It is unlikely that a mortgage lender will grant a mortgage on a new property which does not have either an NHBC guarantee or an architect's certificate.

NHBC (National House-Building Council) scheme

Some newly-built properties are covered by this form of Guarantee whereby any defects occurring within a fixed period after construction are repaired.


Any part of a Premises not used for residential purposes

Notice of Invitation to Participate - Section 78

After its formation but before its issuance of the Claim Notice, the Right to Manage Company can invite all Qualifying Flat Owners in the property to join it.


NICEIC is the industry's independent, non profit-making, voluntary regulatory body covering the whole of the United Kingdom. The NICEIC's sole purpose is to protect consumers from unsafe and unsound electrical work. The NICEIC is not a trade association and do not represent the interests of electrical contractors.


The offer is the Buyer's proposed sum to pay for a property.

Office copy entries

If the property has a registered title, the vendor's solicitor will need to apply for office copy entries from the Land Registry before a draft contract can be prepared


The Company Secretary and the Directors of the Right to Manage Company


An independent organization that investigates professionals such as estate agents, or solicitors when complaints by made by their customers.

Open market value

The price a property should achieve when there is a willing buyer and a willing seller.

Outline planning permission

This is planning consent which is subject to certain reserved matters, such as design, appearance and siting of proposed buildings.


The wall which projects above the level of the roof.

Party wall

A wall which separates the properties of two adjoining owners, each of whom have certain rights over the wall.

Payment break

A Payment break is a window in flexible mortgage repayments that allows Borrowers to suspend payments for a fixed period of time.


Penalty charges are incurred by Borrowers when they either transfer mortgages to different Lenders or fully repay the loan before the end of the term.

Peppercorn ground rent

A basic (and usually annual) rent the Freeholder charges to the leaseholder

Peppercorn rent

A nominal rent where the landlord does not receive an annual payment in cash. When the owner of land or property wishes to grant a lease, he must charge a rent as an acknowledgement of the existence of the lease. Where the owner does not want to charge any rent but simply wishes to establish the lease exists, he can ask for a peppercorn each year as a token payment. In practise, this is not generally handed over!

Pied a terre

A property kept for temporary, secondary, or occasional occupation


A property kept for occasional or temporary secondary occupation.

Pitch-epoxy glue

A glue suitable for fixing expanded polystyrene.

Plywood (tim.)

Structural board, stronger and more dimensionally stable than wood, because it is glued from an old number of sheets of veneer with the grain of adjacent sheets at right angles to each other. Three-ply is the commonest and cheapest but multi-ply is also much used. Plywood was used by the joiners of Europe, particularly France, in furniture-making some centuries ago, and probably also by the ancient Romans and Egyptians. Plywood, as we know it now, was used by the American piano industry in 1830 for the planks which held the pins to which piano cords are attached. It was then made of sawn veneer. At this time, obviously piano makers understood its superiority over wood in strength and stability in varying conditions of dampness. Blackboard desk tops were made in 1883 and plywood panels for doors in 1890, flush doors following much later. Plywood was known in USA as 'veneered stock' until 1919 when, to avoid the ignorant but widespread prejudice against veneer, the old Veneer Association changed its name to the Plywood Manufacturers' Association of USA. It differs from laminated wood, in which the plies have parellel grain. See also balanced construction, composite board, cross band, moulded plywood, rotary cutting, sliced veneer, synthetic resin.

Power of attorney

A document granting power to some person to act in the name of another. Normally left with a solicitor to enable a purchase to proceed in the absence of either the vendor or purchaser.

Pre-boring for nails

Boring a hole for each nail enables more nails to be driven into each joint because they can safely be closer than when no hole is drilled. Therefore joints can be stronger. The drill bit should be slightly thinner than the nail - about two thirds to four fifths of the nail diameter. The least distance of wire nails from the end of the wood should be 20 times the nail diameter (D) if the holes are not bored and 10D if they are. Similar dimensions apply for the spacing of nails along the grain. The side spacing between lines of nails is 10D for unbored holes and 3D for bored holes. The edge distance is 5D in both instances.

Preliminary enquiries

The initial enquiries made to the Seller about a property. The Seller must fully answers these before any exchange of contracts.

Preliminary or pre-contract enquiries

These are enquiries made by the purchaser's solicitors, requesting information on a property prior to exchange. It is at this stage that fixtures and fittings to be left or taken are agreed.


The monthly payment on an insurance policy is the Premium.

Premium lease

A lump sum paid up front as rental payment for a property. Most normally used by City firms for corporate lets.

Present Value

An investment valuation term used to calculate the current value of a future interest. For example, the freeholders interest in a building on which sub-leases have been granted is significant but only when the leases have expired. The 'present value' of this interest is a mathematically derived value of what that interest is worth today, put simply the future value, postponed by the term of years until the lease expires.


The basic loan upon which interest is calculated


A document which is issued by a court to an executor, to show that the will of a deceased has been proved and that the executor can distribute the assets.

Property Misdescriptions Act 1991

Brought in to ensure agents' descriptions of properties, either written or oral, and room measurements were accurate, and to ensure that agents carry out due diligence at all times.

Public liability insurance

Insurance which covers injury to, or death of anyone on or around a property.


The Purchase is the Buyer of a property.


A horizontal beam used in roof construction and placed at right angles to the rafters or trusses

Purpose built flats

These are properties which have specifically been designed and built as individual flats, as opposed to flats which are created by conversion of an existing building, such as a large Victorian house.

Peppercorn rents


Qualifying Flat Owner

The Qualifying Flat Owner owns a long Lease on a property (a lease for more than 21 years) ???

Qualifying Leaseholder

The Qualifying Leaseholder owns a long Lease on a property (a lease for more than 21 years).

Qualifying Tenant

The Qualifying Tenant owns a long Lease on a property (a lease for more than 21 years)

Quantity surveyor (q.s.)

A person trained in construction costs and contract procedures. He makes feasibility studies, advising the client on selection of contractor, prepares contract documents such as the bill of quantities, controls costs, provides financial statements during building and helps to settle the final account. This profession, unique to the UK, originated in the 19th century, when groups of competing contractors shared the cost of employing one man draw up a bill of quantities as a basis for tender. Chartered quantity surveyors belong to the RICS.

Qualifying Flat Owner

The Purchase is the Buyer of a property.

Rafter filling, beam f., wind f.

Brick infilling between rafters at wall plate level.


Redemption describes the point where the mortgage has been repayment in full.

Reinstatement Cost Assessment For Insurance

A survey that estimates the cost of re-construction of a building damaged under an insured risk.


Re-mortgaging occurs when a property is used to finance a second mortgage if the property has risen in value since the initial mortgage was agreed. Otherwise, this describes the transfer of an existing mortgage to a new Lender.

Repayment mortgage

Distinct from an interest-only mortgage, this is a mortgage requiring monthly payments that cover both interest and principal so that the amount mortgage gradually reduces until redemption.


The lender's assumption of the ownership of a property once the Borrower is deemed unable to pay the outstanding mortgage.

Reserve Fund

Funds collected from Flat Owners over time to finance anticipated Major Works to the property.

Restricted covenant

An obligation restricting the use of land which is binding on subsequent owners, for example not allowed to keep animals on the premises, or a house builder may put a covenant on a property forbidding extension without his approval.


The holding back of part of the mortgage until repairs or specified works to the property are satisfactorily completed.


The term used to describe what happens at the end of the lease when the leaseholder no longer has rights to reside in the property and the flat reverts to the Freeholder

Reversionary interest

The term used to describe the landlords interest once any under leases granted have expired


The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Right to Information Notice - Section 82

A request for information sent to the Landlord by the RTM Company, issued after the RTM Company has been formed but before the Claim Notice is issued

Right to Manage

The right of Owners to take over from the Landlord (or from that Landlord's appointed manager) the management of their units in a property by means of a Right to Manage Company (see RTM Company)

RTM Company

Not to be confused with a Limited Company, an RTM Company (Right to Manage Company) is separately registered at Companies House as a company that it limited by guarantee (rather than by share ownership). This type of company is usually designed to take over the management of a Block of units within a property.

Rent review

The term used to refer to a nominal ground rent which is normally not collected. If a peppercorn ground rent is collected the amount collect is a pound.The term which describes the process for agreeing a new rent to be applied from the date the rent is due to be re-assessed. The frequency set out for rent reviews will be set out in the lease usually 3, 5 or 7 yearly.

Ryde scale

The scale of fees which is often used as a guide or scale in determining the reasonable fees of Surveyors in cases of compulsory purchase or property or land or compensation arising from road, rail, aerodrome development.

Sanding (joi.)

Smoothing wooden surfaces with glasspaper by machine or by hand. In painting, the same process of smoothing paint surfaces is called rubbing or flatting down.

Sash window, balanced s. (USA vertical s.) (joi.)

A window in which two opening lights slide up and down in a cased frame, balanced by sash cords tensioned by sash weights and passing over sash pulleys. Compare sliding sash.

Schedule Of Dilapidations

A survey that identifies any repairs required on tenanted properties. This is set against a Landlord's or Tenant's obligations to repair a property as identified in the lease.


The enquiry of information about the property held by the Land registry or by the Local authority.


A Building or Block that is either detached or otherwise capable of being redeveloped as if it were.


A property physically joined to one other property.

Service charge

See Maintenance charge.


The rights of a landowner over the land of another i.e. rights of light etc.

Skirting, s. board (Scots base plate) (USA mopboard, washboard, scrub board, base)

Originally a wooden board set vertically round the foot of a wall to protect if from kicks. It may now be built of wall tiles, metal trim, terrazzo, asphalt or other material more durable than wood, and can also be a low upstand of the roof under the flashing at a roof abutment. (Illus. Above).

Smoke detector, automatic s.d., automatic call point

A device that raises a fire alarm and may open smoke outlets automatically, can detect changes in visibility, temperature, ionisation of the air and so on (BS 5445, 5446).


The underneath section of a roof overhang, archway etc.

Soil pipe

The pipe which discharges water from a WC to a sewer. This pipe will extend upwards beyond the roof level in order to vent gases from the sewer.

Sole agent

The one estate agent authorised to handle either a sale or let.


The legal professional handling all legal documentation involved in buying or selling a property.

Splayed grounds (joi.)

Grounds with bevelled or rebated edge to provide a key for the plaster where the ground also acts as a screed.

Stamp duty

A government levy payable by the purchaser of a property based on the purchase price. Currently (January 2005), there is no stamp duty payable up to L60,000 between L60,000 and L250,000 - 1%, between L250,000 and L500,000 - 3%, and over L500,000 - 4%

Stock Condition Survey

A Stock Condition survey assesses the condition of an organization's current building stock prior to the use of that stock in maintenance programmes.

Structural clay tile (USA)

American term for what might generally be called in Britain non-structural burnt-clay hollow blocks. Many different sorts exist: side construction tile with cavities horizontal, end construction tile with cavities vertical, partition tile, facing tile, floor tile (hollow floor blocks), furring tile for lining the inner face of outside walls, header tile providing cavities in the backing blocks for headers from the facing brickwork, and so on.

Structural survey

See Building survey

Studio flat

A studio flat has one bathroom/shower room and an open-plan living area that incorporates kitchen and bedroom facilities.

Subject to contract

When an offer is made to purchase a property subject to contract, it means that all dealings are subject to the actual exchange of the contract itself. Nothing is binding on either seller or buyer until the contracts are exchanged.


A professional qualified to carry out the survey.

Search The enquiry of information about the property held by the Land registry or by the Local authority.

A Building or Block that is either detached or otherwise capable of being redeveloped as if it were.

Schedule of Condition

A survey usually carried out by a Chartered Surveyor or Chartered Building Engineer the objective of which is to document the condition of a building. A person taking a lease on a commercial property should commission a Schedule of Condition and ask for this to be incorporated in the lease they are taking, else when the Freeholder/Owner subsequently serves a Schedule of Dilapidations on them there will be no benchmark to document what condition the property was originally in and whether a repair, replacement or improvement would be relevant.

Scott Schedule

The name given to a column style reporting format often used by Surveyors or directed to be provided in court proceedings whereby each party sets out their reply to an issue to assist in reaching a agreement or formulating a determination

Section 20 Notice

Usually used to refer to Section 20 of the 1985 Landlord & Tenant Act which sets out the duties for consulting with lessees where expenditure exceeding the statutory limit is proposed either as a one off or over a period of time on a qualifying long term contract

Section 146 Notice

Usually used to refer to the notice which is serves as the first step in forfeiture action. Forfeiture being the term used for taking away or terminating a lease. Section 146 being Section 146 of the Law of Property Act 1925.

Section 8 Notice

A Section 8 is a Notice which can be served under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 as amended by Section 151 of the Housing Act 1996 which sets out the grounds of possession and particulars of the grounds that are being relied upon where a breache(s) of a tenancy has occured and the landlord is seeking posession.

Section 48 notice

A Section 48 is a Notice which can be served under Section 48 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987, this being a notice to advise a tenant or lessee of an address in England & Wales upon which notices on the landlord can be served

Service charge arrears

A debt owed by a lessee in respect of service charges. Service charges being a charge collected from lessees/long leaseholders towards the upkeep of a building. Service charge expenditure would typically include items such as buildings insurance, cleaning, gardening, lift maintenance, the managing agents fees, fire alarm maintenance. Service charges can also be payable by a person who owns a freehold property where the property forms part of an estate management scheme, ie, a development of houses with communal woodland or other grounds for which a service charge is collected to effect the maintenance.

Service charge deficit

An accounting shortfall in service charges that has arisen due to more being spent in a given service charge year than was originally provided for in the service charge budget and collected from the lessees on account of expected expenditure.

Service charge budget

An estimate of expenditure likely to be incurred for providing services to a building or estate. Service charge expenditure would typically include items such as buildings insurance, cleaning, gardening, lift maintenance, the managing agents fees, fire alarm maintenance.

Service charge estiamte

An schedule of budgeted expenditure expected to be incurred for providing services to a building or estate. Service charge expenditure would typically include items such as buildings insurance, cleaning, gardening, lift maintenance, the managing agents fees, fire alarm maintenance.

Soffit Board

A board often wood or uPVC that is fixed to the underside of the roof rafters where they become exposed because they protrude over the outer wall of a building.

Statutory accounts

The name given to a set of accounts which comply with the legislative requirements which govern the accounting information which must be disclosed to the public arena for companies limited by guarantee or limited by shares

Surrender a lease

The term used to refer to whena lessee or tenant gives back a property which they hold on a lease before the term of years the lease was granted for has expired


A shareholder is a member of a company where the company is limited by shares, as opposed to limited by guarantee. The shareholder is a member of the company by virtue of their shareholding in it.


The tenancy is the temporary possession of a property by a tenant.

Tenancy agreement

The Tenancy agreement legally identifies the rights of both tenants and landlords by detailing all the terms and conditions of the rental arrangements.


The Tenant is the party legally entitled to temporary possess a property.

Tenants in common

'Tenants in Common' describes a form of ownership by two or more parties. Should one of them die, the other party does not automatically receive the deceased's share of the property as that share forms part of the deceased's estate.


This is an arrangement whereby prospective purchasers are invited to submit sealed bids by a previously stated date and time. The moment the offer is accepted by the seller, the arrangement becomes a legally binding contract.


A collective term which relates to the nature of the owners title to a property i.e. is it freehold or leasehold.

Terraced house

A terraced house forms part of a connected row of houses.

The Ombudsmen for Estate Agents

This is an independent professional body that investigates complaints on behalf of customers, and is answerable to the Trading Standards Department. If using an estate agent to sell your property, it is always worth ensuring that they are members of the Ombudsmen Scheme so you do have some form of redress, should things not go according to plan.

Throat (1)

The undercut part of a drip.

Throat (2)

A narrowing of the bottom of a flue just above the fireplace, that improves the draught from an open fire. Sometimes it is fitted with an adjustable metal 'throat restrictor' to vary the draught.

Throat (3) (carp.)

The opening from which shavings come out of a plane.

Title deeds

Documents showing the legal ownership of a property, which are normally held by a vendor's mortgage lender.

Transfer deeds

Transfer deeds are documents from the Land Registry that transfer legal ownership to Buyer from Seller.

Transfer of deeds

A Land Registry document that transfers the ownership of a property on completion in registered land transactions.

Terms of engagement

A letter or contract which sets out the scope of service or extent of report that a service provider or supplier of a product will undertake for the fee

Tree preservation order

The name given to the protection awarded to certain trees by the relevant local authority to protect them from being cut down, pollarded etc... For trees subject to a tree presevation order planning permission must be sought from and granted by the local authority to enable any works to the tree, such as pollarding, or to give permission for removal

Under offer

Status of a property indicating that an offer has been made and accepted for a property, subject to contract.


When existing foundations to a building are inadequate, additional strengthening will be added below the existing foundations.

UPVC, unplasticized polyvinyl chloride

A relatively stiff material, sometimes brittle in cold weather, of which sewer pipes or water pipes are made.

Under lease

An underlease would be a lease created from an interest held by a lessee, for example a headlessee may hold an entire building for 125 years and then grant under leases when selling individual units perhaps for a term of 125 years less 5 days as he/she can only grant an under lease, with the landlord/freeholders consent and this must be for a term of less days than his/her own interest.

Valuation (Mortgage Valuation)

A valuation of the property prepared for Lenders. They require this basic survey of a property to estimate its value for mortgage purposes before lending. It only answers the Lender's queries on the property and does not necessarily address the concerns of the Borrower.

Variable base rate

A basic rate of interest charged on a mortgage. This may change in relation to market conditions - in other words, monthly payments could either go up or down.

Varnish (pai.)

A resin, asphalt or pitch dissolved in oil or spirit, which dries in air to a brilliant, transparent, protective film. Varnishes are either oil varnishes are either oil varnishes that dry by oxidation of drying oil, or spirit varnishes. Varnish may be mixed with paint, put on over it to increase its gloss, or put on unpainted wood. See lacquer.


Referring to the seller or person who sells property or land.

Veneer (1) (tim.)

A thin layer of wood of uniform thickness which may have been sliced, rotary cut, cut half-round, or sawn. It is used either as a facing, for its beauty of figure, to stronger, less beautiful wood or for its strength.

Veneer (2) Mainly (USA)

A layer of brick or marble or other facing outside a wall. The veneer looks well and resists the weather. See brick veneer. and below.

Condensation (4)

Water is not the only vapour that condenses. Grease from a chip shop can condense in the plaster and bricks of the house next door to such an extent that clothes hung in the cupboards becomes greasy.

Waste pipe (plu.)

A pipe to carry water away from a basin, bath, or sink. It is trapped at its exit from the basin. An access eye at the trap enables blockages to be cleared.

Water table, earth t., watershed, offshoot, canting strip

A board or masonry projection fixed to the foot of a wall (particularly if it is weather-boarded) to shoot water away from it.


Rights of way granted to enable obligations and duties to be fulfilled by the electricity board, telephone company etc to allow them to maintain pipelines and cables.

Weathering (1) (USA wash)

A slight slope to throw off rainwater.

Weathering (2)

A change in colour of the surface of a building material after exposure to rain and sun.

Weathering (3) (tim.)

The mechanical and chemical break-up of a wood surface exposed to rain and sun. It is not decay.

Wet rot (tim.)

Decay of timber in alternative wet and dry conditions, caused by fungi such as Coniophora cerebella, Poria vaillantii or other Poria. Unlike dry rot it does not spread into neighbouring timber. Certain hardwoods (oak, teak, utile, gurjun, agba) and the heartwood of softwoods resist wet rot but it is usually impossible to buy softwood that is heartwood only. See moisture content

Wet sanding (pai.)

Where dry sanding produces harmful dust, wet sanding produces none and is just as effective.


A term used to describe the grant of rights over property such rights would typically be for a utility provider to run service ducts/pipes.

Wet rot

Wet rot usually occurs in particularly damp areas and reduces the structural integrity of a timbers and is therefore best known for its ability to destroy timbers in buildings. Wet rot often shows little or no visible fungal growth, and only affects areas of high moisture content. It cannot infect dry timber at all . It most often occurs on exterior timber where it has been unprotected and in permanently damp conditions. Typically this will be where a wooden lintel fits into the masonry. It can also occur in interior areas where for instance a leaking pipe has soaked timber, or the property has been affected by flooding. Prevention is easily managed by ensuring good ventilation and no ingress of moisture from leaks or other sources. Treatment is also quite straight forward, requiring drying of the area, replacement of any weakened timbers and the application of a fungicide. During the drying, care has to be taken because the point will be reached where conditions are ideal for dry-rot to infect the material.


An investment valuation term that represents the perentage rate by which the right to receive either an income or a future capital value is capitalised. Principle rent x yield/capitalisation rate = Value. The income from a property calculated as a percentage of its value.