Glossary

Click one of the letters below to advance the page to terms beginning with that letter.

a

Abstract of Title

A document listing the documents of title which set out the history of ownership of a property.

Adopted Highway

A road maintained by the local authority which is subject to public rights of way.

Assent

A formal document required to transfer ownership of property to the beneficiary entitled to the property following the death of the owner.

Attorney

Someone appointed formally to act on behalf of another either generally or for a specific purpose.

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b

Bankruptcy Search

A search of the Land Charges Register to see if any bankruptcy proceedings are pending or established against a person.

Borrower

See mortgagor.

Brine Search

A search to establish if a property might be affected as a result of salt workings near the property.

Building Regulation Consent

Approval by the local authority on the design, structure and materials used in building work. This is not the same as planning permission.

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c

Chain

Where a person selling a property is also buying another this is a chain of transactions and some chains can have many links.

Commons Registration Search

A search at the local authority to check the property is not registered as common land or part of a village green.

Completion Statement

A written calculation of all the receipts and payments due in respect of a conveyancing transaction.

Contaminated Land

Land affected by contamination which could arise from a past use of a property (e.g. land fill) or by things stored on the property in the past (e.g. oil tanks).

Contract

The form of legal agreement prepared in duplicate for signature by the seller and buyer setting out all the legal rights and obligations agreed between them when a property changes hands.

Conveyance

In unregistered conveyancing a document transferring ownership of a property from one person to another.

Conveyancing

The legal work needed to buy, sell and grant mortgages over properties.

Covenants

A promise contained in a deed. The most commonly found covenants are restrictive covenants which are obligations not to do certain acts at a property – eg not to use a house for commercial purposes.

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d

Deed of Covenant

A document confirming an agreement to pay or do something.

Deed of Gift

A document transferring the ownership of property from one person to another without any payment being made for it.

Deed of Guarantee

A document used where one person agrees to be responsible for someone else's debt or mortgage obligations if that person fails to carry out their own obligations.

Deed of Postponement or Priority

Where a mortgage lender agrees to their mortgage ranking second or third after another lender's mortgage.

Deeds

The official documents confirming who owns a property which are in the possession of the owner or mortgage lender if the property is mortgaged.

Deposit

The agreed amount to be paid on exchange of contracts usually ten percent of the purchase price and usually kept by the seller if the buyer fails to complete.

Disbursements

Payments made on your behalf e.g. search fees.

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e

Easement

Rights over another property close to the one you own – for example a right of way or the right to park a vehicle. They may be expressly granted and set out in a lease or other title deeds or acquired prescriptively – ie through long usage

Environmental Search

A search against a property to check whether the property is contaminated land or in an area subject to other environmental issues.

Equity

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

Exchange of Contracts

The formal exchanging of the two parts of the contract when the seller and buyer become legally bound to complete their transaction on an agreed date.

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f

Fittings & Contents Form

A list completed by a seller of the items in the property which are to be left as part of the sale price and which is attached to and forms part of the contract.

Flying/Creeping Freehold

This arises when part of one property is built on top of part of another property and so the upper property owner does not own the building or land underneath the "flying" part. Consequently the lower property is known as the "creeping" part.

Freehold

Ownership of land for an unrestricted period of time

Freeholder

The person who owns the freehold title.

Full Title Guarantee

An assurance by the owner of unfettered ownership.

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g

Ground Rent

In leasehold property a sum of money paid regularly by a lessee to a lessor.

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i

Index Map

A search at Land Registry of the Index Map can be made to establish if a property is registered or unregistered.

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l

Land Charges Search

In unregistered conveyancing a search at the land charges register to see if any third party interest exist against the property which could be binding on its new owner

Land Registry

A government organisation responsible for maintenance of a register of properties and their ownership in England and Wales.

Land Registry Fee

The fee payable to the Land Registry to register any change affecting the property including a change of ownership or a new mortgage.

Land Registry Search

A search at the land registry to check that no new charges or interests are registered against the property since the initial title investigation took place.

Landlord

See Lessor.

Lease

Where a property is leasehold this is the document giving the lessee the rights to possession of the property for the lease term and setting out all the rights and obligations of landlord, tenant and sometimes management company.

Leasehold

Where the ownership of property is for a limited period only. For example 99 years or sometimes 2000 years.

Leaseholder

See Lessee.

Legal Charge

See Mortgage.

Lender

See Mortgagee.

Lessee

In leasehold property ownership the lessee is the person who owns the property for a limited period of time and may be required to pay rent to the owner of the superior title

Lessor

The person who owns the superior title and is entitled to the ground rent under the lease and possession of the property at the end of the lease term. Often (but not always) the freeholder.

Limited Title Guarantee

This is the title guarantee given by a seller where because of their limited knowledge of the property the full title guarantee cannot be given (e.g. a personal representative of a deceased owner or a mortgagee in possession).

Local Search

A search carried out at the local authority to check whether there have been any notices registered affecting the use of the property, any planning breaches or breaches of the building regulations or any proposals for the neighbourhood which may directly affect the property.

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m

Mining Search

A search to check whether the property may be affected by coal mining activity which may result in subsidence.

Mortgage

A loan to buy a house or flat where the mortgagee lends the mortgagor money in return for a legal charge being registered against the property to ensure that the loan must be repaid before the property can be sold.

Mortgage Deed

The document signed by the mortgagor to create a legal charge which the mortgagee can register at the land registry.

Mortgage Offer

The details of the terms upon which the mortgagee is prepared to make the mortgage loan.

Mortgage Term

The length of time agreed for the repayment of the loan.

Mortgaged

Where a property has been charged by the owner or mortgagor to the mortgagee.

Mortgagee

The mortgage lender – ie somebody who gives someone a mortgage (e.g. a bank or building society).

Mortgagor

Somebody who takes out a mortgage (a borrower).

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o

Occupier's Consent

Any person who lives at the property but will not be signing the mortgage deed will be asked to consent to the mortgage being taken out and agree to move out if the mortgagee takes possession due to the default of the mortgagor. Many lenders will require the occupier to take independent legal advice on signing the form of consent.

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p

Party structure

A wall or fence or other boundary marker owned jointly with a neighbour and repairable at shared expense.

Planning Permission

Approval by the local authority to the demolition, building or change of use of a property or extension or other building works carried out to an existing property.

Power of Attorney

The document to be signed by somebody to appoint somebody else to act as their attorney.

Private Road

A road maintained by property owners rather than by the local authority. The property owners need to have rights over it as it is not necessarily a public access.

Property Information Form

A document completed by a seller to give information about the property to the buyer.

Purchase

The buying of a property.

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r

Radon Gas

A naturally occurring radioactive gas which may if above certain safety levels require preventative action to be taken (e.g. more ventilation in a property).

Redemption

The repayment of an existing mortgage.

Registered Land

Property which has already been registered at the Land Registry.

Remortgage

Changing a mortgage from one mortgagee to another.

Rentcharge

An annual payment that must be made by the owners of some freehold properties similar to rent on a leasehold property.

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s

Service Charge

In connection with leasehold properties on-going payments required by a lessor or managing agent to cover the costs of maintaining and running a development (e.g. gardening and decorating and also insuring a block of flats).

Smoke Control Order

An order made by the local authority designating an area to be one in which only smokeless fuels may be burnt (i.e. not coal or wood).

Stamp Duty Land Tax

A tax paid to the government on the purchase of a property over a certain value.

Subsidence

Where a property moves due to inadequate foundations or severe change to the underlying ground resulting in an instability in the structure of a building often evidenced by cracks in walls.

Survey

An inspection and report on the property by a surveyor as to the state of the property and value.

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t

Tree Preservation Order

An order made by the local authority designating a tree or group of trees as protected and requiring the local authority's permission to lop, top or fell them.

Transfer of Equity

A document transferring ownership of a share or interest in a property from one person to another.

Transfer

A document which transfers ownership of a property from one person to another.

Title Deeds

See Deeds.

Title

The owner's right to a property.

Tin Search

A search to establish whether the property may be affected by tin mining activity which may result in subsidence.

Tenant

See Lessee.

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u

Unregistered Title

Where the title to a property has not previously been registered at the Land Registry and ownership is proved by the production of a complete chain of title documents showing successive ownership.

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v

Valuation

A very simple form of survey designed to establish the market value of the property carried out by a mortgage lender.

Vacant Possession

Possession of a property free of the presence of any people, possessions or rubbish.

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w

Wayleave Agreement

A formal agreement entered into with a property owner to give a service provider (e.g. Electricity or Telephone company) a right for their pipe or cable to pass through or over their property.

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