Our Conveyancing Glossary aims to help explain some of the technical, legal terms that may be involved in the buying or selling process.
Whether by phone, e-mail, SMS text message or face to face, we always aim to use clear, plain English. However, there may be some legal jargon present (for example; Grant of Probate). Please contact your Conveyancer if you wish to clarify anything you are unsure of.
The word meanings in this glossary are necessarily basic and are subject to exceptions. They are not nor are intended to be legal definitions of these words. If you encounter these words within documentation in the course of a transaction and are not certain of their meaning or effect, then you must ask us for appropriate advice.
Abstract or Epitome of Title - A summary or list of relevant title deeds proving the history of ownership of a property.
Administration of Estate - Dealing with the affairs and the estate of a person who has died, including collecting their assets, paying their debts and ensuring the terms of the Will or the Intestacy Rules are adhered to.
Administrator - The person dealing with the estate of someone who has died without a Will. The estate will be dealt with in accordance with the Intestacy Rules and only certain people are able to act as an Administrator.
Adopted Highway - A road (and ancillary paths and sometimes verges) maintained by the local authority at public expense.
Advance - The original amount of the loan from a Bank or Building Society.
AML - Anti-Money Laundering (AML) refers to measures that residential conveyancing firms are legally required to do, to prevent illegal activities related to money. Money laundering is the process of making illegally obtained money appear legal by moving it through different transactions or financial systems. These AML measures are in place to protect you as a client and to maintain the integrity of the property market.
Apportionments - When you are buying a flat, the seller will often have paid for Ground Rent and Service Charge up-front. If that is the case, you are likely to be asked to pay the seller a sum of money to cover your share of the Ground Rent and/or the Service Charge which the seller has paid for up-front.
Assent - The name given to a transfer document by which the representatives of a deceased owner transfer the property to the person entitled.
Asset - Anything a person owns of value including property and land, investments or money.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy - A form of tenancy agreement which permits the landlord to secure possession of the property at the end of the agreed tenancy period.
Attorney - A person appointed to act on behalf of another person and sign documents on their behalf.
Bankruptcy Search - A Bankruptcy Search is a search made on behalf of a lender to ensure that a prospective borrower is not or has not in the past been made bankrupt or has writs or orders made against them.
Beneficiary - A person or organisation who will receive assets from the estate of the deceased.
Bridging Loan - A Bridging Loan is used during conveyancing if the sale of one property and the purchase of another cannot be concluded simultaneously; for example, the purchase of the second property has to be concluded before the sale of the first, then additional financing may be necessary.
Brine Search - A search to find out if a property might be affected by old brine (salt) workings near the property.
Building Regulation Consent - Approval by the local authority to the method of construction and materials used in building work.
Buildings Insurance - Buildings Insurance is insurance to cover your property for the sum recommended by your surveyor/valuer. Cover usually commences from the moment you exchange contracts.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT) - This is tax which may be payable on a disposal (for example when you sell an asset) if you make a chargeable gain. Usually you have made a gain if the asset is worth more at disposal than it was when you acquired it. A disposal is not only a sale for moneys worth. You will only pay CGT on capital monies ie monies that you received that do not form part of your income. The tax applies not to the value of the asset but to the increase in value.
Case Tracking - Some online conveyancing firms provide personal Case Tracking allowing you to follow the progress of your conveyancing transaction on line. The data is supposed to be updated regularly, as soon as a new stage is reached in your conveyancing transaction.
Cashback - A sum of money (paid by cheque) by the Lender on completion of a mortgage (but only if this arrangement formed part of the mortgage offer).
Caveat - A document lodged at the Probate Registry to prevent a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration being issued.
Caveat Emptor - A Latin phrase which means 'let the buyer beware'. It is the buyer's responsibility to check that they are happy with the physical condition of a property before they commit to exchange of contracts.
Chain - A position in which Seller 1 sells to Buyer 1 and Buyer 1 sells to Buyer 2 etc thus creating a chain of connected transactions.
Chancel Repair Liability - An ancient law which means that some homeowners can be obliged to contribute towards the cost of repairs to the chancel of the parish church.
Chattels - Assets of a person, other than land, for example jewellery, ornaments, clothes, cars, furniture and so on.
CLC - Council for Licensed Conveyancers - The CLC is a regulator which enables lawyers to offer more transparent, secure and innovative services. It also helps inform consumers, for more clarity and less stress.
Codicil - A document which may change, modify, delete, extend or add to a Will.
Commons Registration Search - A search to ensure the property is not registered as common land or part of a village green. If it is, then other people may have rights over the land concerned.
Completion - Completion is the point where the purchaser's conveyancing solicitor wires the purchaser's money from their bank to the vendor's conveyancing solicitor's bank account, the ownership of the property is transferred to the new owner.
Conservation Area - An area where there are some extra planning controls and considerations in place to protect the historic and architectural elements of the area.
Contract - The document by which the buyer agrees to buy the property, and the seller agrees to sell. The Contract will set out the terms of the sale, and is usually drafted to include the Law Society's Standard Conditions of Sale.
Conveyance - A document or deed used to transfer ownership of an unregistered property from the Seller to the Buyer.
Conveyancing - The branch of law which deals with the sale and purchase of properties.
Conveyancing Protocol - The Law Society Conveyancing Protocol is a guide which sets out the Law Society's preferred practice for property transactions. Many firms (including PM Property Lawyers) follow the protocol, but not all firms do.
Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) - The Council for Licenced Conveyancers, or CLC, is the statutory regulatory body for licensed conveyancers in England and Wales.
Court of Protection - This is a Court which can make decisions in relation to the property and affairs and personal welfare of adults (and children) who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. The Court has the same powers as the High Court and can make a wide range of decisions and orders including the appointment of Deputies or a declaration as to whether a person has capacity. The Court works closely with the Office of the Public Guardian .
Covenant - An obligation affecting a homeowner which is found within the title to a property. A Covenant can restrict the owner of a property from doing something (e.g. using the property for business/trade purposes) or oblige the owner of a property to do something (e.g. maintain a particular boundary).
Covenants - Rules and conditions contained in the Deeds or Lease that relate to the upkeep of the property or place restrictions on its use.
Declaration of Trust - Also known as a Deed of Trust. A document signed by the owners of a property that records who will get the sale proceeds and in what proportions when the property is sold.
Deed of Covenant - A document or deed containing an agreement to pay or do something.
Deed of Gift - A document or deed used to transfer ownership of property from one person to another without any payment being made.
Deed of Guarantee - A document used where one person agrees to be responsible for someone else's debt or mortgage obligations should that person fail to carry out his/her own obligations.
Deed of Postponement or Priority - Where a Lender agrees that its mortgage will rank or take effect in priority after another lender's mortgage.
Deed of Variation - A document that can either vary the terms of an original document or the division of a person's estate after they have died either by changing their Will retrospectively or altering the persons entitled on an intestacy (where there is no Will or the beneficiaries no longer exist).
Deeds - A collective term generally used to describe all the legal documents associated with the ownership of a property. The deeds will demonstrate the seller's ownership of the property, and also contain the details of any rights and covenants affecting the property. The old system of paper Title Deeds have now largely been superseded by the system of land registration at HM Land Registry.
Deposit - An agreed amount to be paid on exchange of contracts by the Buyer to the Seller as security for the performance of the Contract by the Buyer.
Disbursements - Expenses that your Conveyancer must pay out on your behalf, for example, Land Registry fees, or search fees.
Discretionary Trust - A Trust in which money or property is held on behalf of one or more of those beneficiaries to be paid out to one or more or those beneficiaries at the discretion of the Trustees.
Domicile - HMRC define Domicile as follows: Domicile is not the same as nationality or residence. Your domicile is decided under general law, which means it must be interpreted according to previous rulings of the courts. Questions of domicile can be complex but broadly speaking, you have your domicile in the country that is your 'real' or permanent home which, if you have left, you intend to return to.
Easement - A right enjoyed by one property over another, most typically a right of way.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) - A document which confirms how energy-efficient (or inefficient) a property is, and gives information on areas for potential improvement.
Engrossment Fee - An Engrossment Fee may be charged when a buyer is purchasing a property that has just been built or converted. An engrossment fee is payable to the Freeholder's conveyancing solicitor for engrossing the new lease. Be careful, your conveyancing solicitor may charge you an additional fee for handling the engrossment.
Environmental Search - A search to see whether there is any indication that the property may be affected by contamination, flooding etc.
Equity - When talking of property and mortgages this normally means the difference between the value of a property and the amount owed on mortgage(s).
ERC Early Redemption Charge (also known as a Redemption Penalty) - This is a penalty payment charged by a Lender if a loan is repaid within a period specified in the mortgage offer (some loan products only).
Epitome of Title - This is a summary or list of relevant title deeds proving the history of ownership of a property.
Estate - A term used to describe a persons assets and property.
Exchange of Contracts - The time when both buyer and seller commit themselves to the deal under a legally binding agreement. The seller's conveyancing solicitor draws up two copies of the same contract, and each party signs their own copy. Once exchange of contracts has taken place, the buyer is legally bound to buy the seller's property. Your conveyancing solicitor will handle this for you. Until exchange of contracts the buyer can pull out of the conveyancing process leaving the seller having to foot their legal fees and start looking again for another buyer.
Executor - A person named in a Will to administer the deceased's estate and distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will.
Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form - A standard form in which the Seller specifies items in or affixed to the property which are included in the sale at the agreed price.
Flying Freehold - If at least a part of one property is built on top of part of another property (and the upper property owner does not own the whole building or land underneath the "flying" part) and the legal structure of the block is not leasehold, then a flying freehold will arise.
Freehold - Outright ownership of the property and land on which it stands. A freehold estate in land (as opposed to a leasehold) is where the owner of the land has no time limit to his period of ownership.
Freehold Title Register - Confirms the outright ownership of the property and land on which it stands.
Freeholder - A freeholder is normally a company or person that owns the actual freehold of the building. The leaseholder will own the house or flat on a lease for a certain number of years, but the freeholder will own the property outright.
Full Title Guarantee - The standard guarantee given by an absolute owner to the Buyer.
Further Advance - An additional amount loaned to an Owner after completion on broadly the terms of the original mortgage.
Gazumping - Gazumping is when a seller accepts an offer from one interested party, only to accept a higher offer later on from someone else.
Gazundering- Gazundering is when a buyer givers the vendor a lower offer than initially, often at the last minute.
Grant of Letters of Administration - A document issued to a deceased's administrator to authorise the administrator to deal with the estate.
Grant of Probate - A grant of probate is a legal document that's sometimes needed to access bank accounts, sell assets and settle debts after someone has died. This document is only called a grant of probate if the person left a will. If they didn't leave a will, a grant of letters of administration is used instead. Both documents work in much the same way, giving a named person legal authority to deal with the estate of the person who died. When probate has been granted through a grant of probate or letters of administration the next of kin or executor can start to deal with the deceased person’s assets. If there was a will, this will set out how the assets should be distributed. If the person died without a will the law determines who should receive everything.
Grantor - A person or institution that makes a grant or conveyance.
Grantee - A person to whom a grant or conveyance.
Ground Rent - Rent paid under the terms of a Lease by a leaseholder. This would normally be paid to the freeholder.
HMLR - HM Land Registry - They register the ownership of land and property in England and Wales. HM Land Registry is a non-ministerial department.
HMRC - HM Revenue & Customs - The department of government responsible for the collective of taxes. In the vast majority of property purchases a Stamp Duty Land Tax return will need to be submitted to HM Revenue & Customs.
Identification (ID) - All conveyancing solicitors must request formal identification from their clients. Suitable documents of identification include a passport or a recent utility bill. This legislation is designed to tackle the widespread problem of money laundering and comply with national anti-terrorism laws.
Indemnity Policy - An insurance policy usually taken out to offer protection to a buyer or their mortgage lender. Indemnity policies cover a wide range of issues/problems, for example, a property not having necessary rights of way contained within the deeds, or where works have been carried out on the property without the necessary planning permission or building regulations approval. The insurance premium only needs to be paid on a one off basis, usually on completion of the transaction.
Index Map Search - A search at the Land Registry to see if a property is registered or unregistered.
Inheritance Tax (IHT) - A tax on the value of a person's estate on their death and also on the value of certain gifts made by an individual during their lifetime. You may be subject to Inheritance Tax on all your assets everywhere in the world if you are domiciled in England & Wales. Inheritance Tax also applies to most types of trusts and may be charged when assets are added to or leave the trusts and on the ten yearly anniversaries of the trust's creation.
Intestacy Rules - The rules that govern where a person's estate is to pass and who can deal with the estate in the absence of a Will.
Intestate/Intestacy - A phrase to describe someone who has died without making a valid Will and the subsequent administration of that persons estate.
Joint Tenancy - This effectively means that each of the owners will have an equal share in the property. If a property is held in this way, the principle of survivorship will apply to the land. This effectively means that on the death of the first person, the share of the property they owned would pass automatically to the surviving owner and would do so outside the terms of any Will. The land would still be part of the estate for Inheritance Tax purposes but could not be dealt with by the terms of the deceased owner's Will.
Joint Tenants - A form of joint ownership, not to be confused with Tenants in Common. With a Joint Tenancy, the co-owners do not own separate, distinct shares in the property. If one of the co-owners passes away, their share in the property automatically passes to the other co-owners, irrespective of the terms of their Will.
Land Charges Search - A search against a person's name at the Land Registry to see if that person has been the subject of any bankruptcy proceedings and (if the property is unregistered) to see if there are any mortgages or other adverse interests registered against the property.
Land Registry - An organisation controlled by central government which maintains 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 in the property details including a change of ownership.
Land Registry Search - A search at the Land Registry to check that nothing new has been registered against the property since the date the registers were last inspected.
Land Transaction Tax - The Welsh equivalent of Stamp Duty Land Tax, payable to the Welsh Revenue Authority.
Landlord / Lessor - Usually (but not necessarily) the Freeholder but certainly the person entitled to receive the ground rent from the Lessee or Tenant.
Lasting Power of Attorney - A Lasting Power of Attorney can relate to your property and affairs or your personal welfare i.e. decisions about your medical treatment. In order to make a Lasting Power of Attorney you must have mental capacity to do so which must be certified by a certificate provider. An ordinary General Power of Attorney will come to an end if you lose your mental capacity but a Lasting Power of Attorney will not.
Law Society of England and Wales - The Law Society of England and Wales is a professional body established by Royal Charter which represents Solicitors. It works to promote and protect its members by lobbying and negotiating with the government, the profession's regulatory bodies, and others.
Lease - A document by which one party grants the right to occupy a property to another for a specified time, usually in return for rent payments.
Leasehold - Where the ownership of property is for a limited period only. For example 99 years or 999 years. It will normally involve payment of an annual ground rent. Leasehold ownership of an apartment, bungalow, maisonette or house is in basic terms a very long tenancy. Leaseholds are a complex area of law and you need good conveyancing solicitors to handle the complexity of the leasehold title.
Leasehold Information Form - A standard form completed by the seller at the outset of leasehold transactions to give the buyer more information about the property.
Leaseholder - A person who holds the lease of a property (residential or commercial).
Legacies - A legacy is a specific gift left within the Will to an organisation or individuals.
Lender - A Bank, Building Society or other person or company who lends money to an Owner.
Lessee - The present owner of the leasehold property. This contrasts with the freeholder or landlord whose interest is subject to the lessee's rights under the lease until the lease term has come to an end.
Lessor - Another word for "Landlord".
Letters of Administration - A grant of representation where there is no valid Will, or there is a Will but no Executor appointed. See definition of Grant of Probate in this glossary.
Life Interest - A gift of property or the income from money to a person or persons for their lifetime.
Life Tenant - This is a person who is entitled to benefit from a trust during their lifetime. They cannot have the capital in the trust fund; they are entitled only to the income or enjoyment of the property, for example, if the trust fund was a house the beneficiary would be entitled to live there.
Limited Title Guarantee - A title guarantee given by a Seller who has limited knowledge of the property and cannot give a full title guarantee such as someone selling on behalf of a deceased owner.
Listed Building - A property which is included on a list of buildings which are of architectural or historic interest. Listed building status may restrict any alterations to the building.
Local Search or Local Authority Search - A search submitted by us to the local authority to ask a considerable number of questions about the property including (by example) information on planning permission(s) and whether the adjoining roadway is maintainable at public expense.
Management Company - A company which is set up to manage and maintain the common parts of a building/area (usually a block of flats). The management company will collect Service Charge to fund this.
Managing Agents - A person or company appointed by the Landlord, or the Management Company, to manage and maintain the common parts of a building/area.
Memorandum of Sale - After an offer has been accepted on a property, the estate agent selling the property produces a 'Memorandum of Sale'. The memorandum of sale lists the Buyer, Vendor, Buyer's Conveyancing Solicitor and Vendor's Conveyancing Solicitor and confirms the price the Buyer has agreed to pay for the property. This is also known as the Sales Memo or the particulars of sale.
Mining Search - A search to check whether the property may be affected by past or present coal mining and, in particular, the risk of subsidence.
Mixed Use - A building that provides both residential and commercial purposes/accommodation.
Mortgage - A loan secured against a property.
Mortgage Deed - A document used when a Lender lends money to a Buyer or existing Owner. The document is registered against the property at the Land Registry and secures repayment to the Lender.
Mortgage Offer - This specifies the terms upon which the Lender is prepared to make the loan including the specific financial details and period of repayment.
Mortgage Offer Report - If you are buying a house with a mortgage, you will receive a Mortgage Offer Report setting out any special conditions. As Conveyancers, we’re not able to provide you with financial advice. However, we will report to you on the terms, payment and any conditions that may need to be satisfied before exchange or completion can take place.
Mortgage Term - The length of time agreed for the repayment of the loan.
Mortgagee - The Lender person or Company who benefits from the Mortgage security (e.g. Bank or Building Society).
Mortgagor - The Property Owner (i.e. the Borrower) who enters into a mortgage deed in favour of a Lender.
New Build - Where a property is being purchased for the first time from a Builder or Developer. This is a complex process as the first registration of a property can take some time.
NHBC - National House Builder's Council. This is a body that provides a 10 year warranty on the majority of new-build properties.
Occupier's Consent - Any person who lives at the property who is not an owner (and so 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 lender takes possession by reason of default of the owner.
Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) - Formerly known as the Public Guardianship Office (PGO) this Office supports the Public Guardian in helping people who do not have mental capacity by setting up a register of Enduring and Lasting Powers of Attorney and a register of Deputies. The OPG supervises Deputies. The OPG works closely with the Court of Protection see above.
Official Copies - Copies of the entries held by H M Land Registry which show the ownership of a property, and any matters affecting the property. Under the Land Registry's system of registering land, Official Copies have now largely superseded the old paper deeds to properties.
Off-Plan - When a new build property is purchased by reference to its plans, as it has not yet been constructed.
Overage Agreement - A legal document whereby the buyer agrees to pay the seller an amount usually within a set period of time for example if planning permission is obtained.
Party Wall - A wall owned jointly with a neighbour and repairable at joint (and normally equal) expense.
Payment on Account (POA) - POA is an upfront payment requested by a residential conveyancing firm from clients before commencing work on their property transaction.
- Assuring Commitment: Requesting a POA shows clients' commitment to the conveyancing process, ensuring they are serious about proceeding with the transaction. It enables us to prioritise clients who are genuinely invested in the process, ensuring quality service delivery.
- Speed and Efficiency: With an upfront payment, we can start working on the transaction immediately, reducing delays and expediting the overall process. Faster progress benefits clients, as they can complete the transaction more quickly and potentially move into their new property sooner.
- Dedicated Resources: POA provides the firm with the necessary financial resources to allocate dedicated staff and expertise to handle the client's case promptly. This ensures clients receive personalised attention and a high level of service throughout the conveyancing journey.
- Risk Mitigation for Clients: POA allows us to initiate essential tasks and legal procedures promptly, reducing the risk of unforeseen complications. By addressing potential issues early on, clients can avoid unnecessary delays and complications that may arise later in the process.
Personal Representative - The person responsible for administering the estate of the deceased. They may be the Executors or Administrators of the estate.
Planning Permission - Approval by the planning authority to the construction (and extension/alteration) of a property or a change of its use.
Potentially Exempt Transfer (PET) - This is an outright gift lifetime by an individual to another individual or certain types of trusts. If the giver (donor) survives the gift by seven years it will become completely exempt from inheritance tax - it will be outside the donor's estate for the purposes of calculating inheritance tax.
Power of Attorney - This a formal document giving legal authority from one person (the donor) to another (the attorney) so that the Attorney may act on behalf of their principal. Power of Attorney may be an ordinary General Power or it may be a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Private Road - A road which is not an adopted highway and accordingly not maintained at public expense. Property owners need to have particular (and preferably documented) rights over it as it is not necessarily a road which offers public access.
Probate - This is a term commonly used when talking about applying for the right to deal with a deceased person's estate . It's sometimes called 'administering the estate'. In England and Wales probate is the word normally used to describe the legal and financial processes involved in dealing with the property, money and possessions (called the assets) of a person who has died. Probate is the process of proving that a will is valid (if there is one) and confirming who has authority to administer the estate of the person who has died. Before the next of kin or executor named in the will can claim, transfer, sell or distribute any of the deceased's assets they might have to apply for a grant of probate.
Probate Registry - A division of the High Court responsible for issuing Grants of Probate and Grants of Letters of Administration and settling disputes relating to estates.
Property Information Form - A standard questionnaire completed by a Seller to give information about the property to the Buyer (e.g. who maintains boundaries and whether there have been any disputes).
Protocol Forms - The collective name for the Property Information Form, Fittings and Contents Form, Leasehold Information Form, and other standard forms completed by the seller at the outset of a sale.
Purchaser - The buyer of a property.
Radon Gas Search - A search to see if the property is affected by 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 or loan.
Redemption Penalty - An Early Redemption Charge (ERC) is a penalty payment charged by a Lender if a loan is repaid within a period specified in the mortgage offer (some loan products only).
Registered Land - Land that is listed on a central register maintained by HM Land Registry. The vast majority of land is now registered at HM Land Registry. The register shows ownership and any matters affecting the property.
Remortgage - Paying off one mortgage loan and taking out another with a different lender.
Rentcharge - An annual sum paid by the owner of a freehold property to the owner of the rentcharge. The rentcharge owner normally has no other interest in the land. In many cases, these have been imposed by old rentcharges by old transfer deeds for very small which are often not collected in practice. Your Conveyancer should always check this for you.
Report on Title - The report will set out the legal Title you are buying together with any rights granted or reserved over the property. The report will also contain information on any restrictive covenants. You will also receive a copy of the registered Title and filed plan, which will confirm the extent of the land you are buying. It’s important to review all of the documents and confirm to your Conveyancing Solicitor the extent of the land is correct and any covenants will not impact on your enjoyment, for example if you want to put yurts on your land but there is a covenant not to build, you need to discuss this with your Conveyancer before proceeding. If the property is unregistered at the Land Registry, you will receive a copy of the unregistered Deeds rather than a copy of the registered Title and filed plan.
Reservation Fee - An initial payment to a Builder / Developer (or its agent) to reserve a new property.
Residuary Gift - The gift of the deceased's residue to the residuary beneficiary.
Residue - The remainder of the estate of the person who has died after all their debts have been paid and any specific gifts they make under their Will have also been paid.
Revocation (of Will) - This is the process by which someone cancels or takes back a Will (or Codicil) made previously when they no longer intend that Will to take effect. The Testator (person who made a Will or Codicil) must have mental capacity to revoke the Will (or Codicil). The effect of revocation is that any earlier Will is resurrected and will take effect as if the later cancelled Will does not exist. If there is no previous Will then the person revoking their Will becomes intestate. Most new Wills contain an explicit clause stating that they revoke any previous Wills. There are formal requirements for revocation of a Will as there are for making a Will.
SDLT - Stamp Duty Land Tax - A government tax payable on completion of the purchase of a property over a certain value.
Shared Equity - A scheme for buyers with small deposits. A loan is also taken in addition to the mortgage, schemes include the Governments Help to Buy.
Searches - Enquiries your Conveyancer makes to various authorities to obtain more information about the property you are purchasing. The searches provide information which is in the public domain but would not be shown on the title. For example, the Environmental Search should flag up if the property has been built on land which was potentially contaminated, or if there is a flood risk. The Drainage Search will reveal whether the property is connected to mains water supply and mains drainage. It will also let you know if there are any drains or sewers within the boundaries of the property. The Local Search will provide a wide range of information, including details of any Planning Permissions, and Building Regulations Approvals granted in respect of the property.
Search Report - The Search Report will provide you with information on your Conveyancing (property) search results. It will advise on drainage, environmental issues such as flooding and planning permissions, street orders, building regulations and any others matters that may affect the property.
Searches Pack - A conveyancing search pack includes Local Authority, Coal, Water/Drainage and Environmental searches, for a fixed fee.
Service Charge - A payment collected by management company/managing agents which they use for the maintenance of the common parts of a building/area.
Severance of Tenancy - The document required to change the ownership of a property from Joint Tenants to Tenants in Common.
Shared Ownership - Shared ownership is a cross between buying and renting. It is where a purchaser buying a chunk of the property - say 50% - with a normal mortgage from a lender. The purchaser then pays rent on the other half to a landlord such as a housing association and you have the facility to buy another chunk at a later date - for example, when your earnings have risen thereby allowing you to qualify for a larger mortgage.
Sharehold - Sharehold is when somebody owns both the leasehold of a property and a section of the freehold.
Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) - The Solicitors Regulation Authority is an independent body which regulates Solicitors in England and Wales. Its key purpose is to protect the public by ensuring high standards, and by taking appropriate action when these standards have not been met.
Specific Gift - The gift of a particular item, sum of money or other asset to a beneficiary.
Stamp Duty Land Tax - A tax which must be paid to HM Revenue and Customs when purchasing a property in England, unless a relief applies, e.g. first time buyer relief. You can check the current SDLT threshold and reliefs on the Government website here (there is also a useful SDLT calculator).
Subject to Contract - A phrase use to signify that nothing is legally binding on either party to the transaction until contracts are exchanged.
Subsidence - Where a property moves due to poor construction or ground movement for geological reasons.
Survey - A report carried out for a buyer by a surveyor to give them an insight into the physical condition of a property.
TA4, TA6, TA7, TA8, TA9, TA10, TA13 and TA15 forms - These forms are for business and residential property sales.
See https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/en/topics/property/transaction-forms for more information.
Telegraphic Transfer - A Telegraphic Transfer is a bank payment that is received on the same day that is paid in, commonly used for conveyancing transactions. Another name for a telegraphic transfer is CHAPS. Your solicitor will send a CHAPS on the day of completion to get cleared funds across to the seller's conveyancing solicitors.
Tenancy-in-Common - A form of joint ownership, which differs from Joint Tenancy. With a Tenancy in Common, the co-owners own distinct shares in the property - this can be 50/50, 60/40, or whatever split to co-owners decide upon. If one of the co-owners passes away, their share of the property will not automatically pass to the other co-owner, it will pass in accordance with the terms of the deceased owners will (or the 'rules of intestacy' if they did not have a Will).
Tenant - For most purposes this is the same as "Lessee" (See above).
Tenants in Common - This is another type of property ownership. With this arrangement the owners each have their own share in a property which forms part of their estate. This means full ownership of the property would not automatically pass to the other party should one of the owners pass away.
Tenure - There are 3 types of tenure: freehold, leasehold and sharehold. Normally speaking a house is a freehold and a flat is a leasehold, but you can get leasehold houses, but this is very rare. Read more about leasehold properties here.
Testamentary Expenses - The costs of obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration and of administering the estate.
Testate - A phrase used to describe someone who has died having made a valid Will.
Testator/Testatrix - A person who has made a Will.
Tin Search - A search to see if the property may be affected by past or present tin mining.
Title - A term that refers to the legal basis of ownership of property. For example, the owner of a Freehold property owns the "Freehold title".
Title Plan - A plan held by HM Land Registry which shows the physical extent of a registered property.
Title Report - See Report on Title.
Transaction - A dealing with property (e.g. sale or purchase or remortgage).
Transfer - A document which actually transfers ownership of a property from one person to another (as opposed to a Contract which may include an obligation to effect a transfer at a later date).
Transfer Deed - The legal document by which ownership of a property passes from the seller to the buyer.
Transfer of Equity - A transfer of equity happens when the owner of a property either wants to add one or more people to the legal register alongside themselves; Or they want to remove one or more people other than themselves from the title. For example, if you divorce your partner, you can buy their share of the property, transfer the equity to you and then just your name will be left on the title.
Tree Preservation Order - An order made by the planning authority specifying a tree or group of trees as protected and requiring that authority's permission to cut branches or fell them.
Trust - One or more persons hold property for the benefit of others (the beneficiaries). A Trustee is the person who is acting in the trust and holds the property for the benefit of someone else.
Trustee - A person or persons who look after and manage the Trust and the Trust assets until such time as the Trust is brought to an end.
Unregistered Land - Land that has not been registered at HM Land Registry. Unregistered land now only makes up a very small percentage of land in England and Wales. It is usually not a problem if the property you are purchasing is unregistered, but it does generate a bit more work for your Conveyancer, and you will have to pay a higher fee to HM Land Registry to register your purchase.
Unregistered Title - A title to a property which has not been registered at the Land Registry. The title will consist of old style conveyances and other documents.
Vacant Possession - A property is handed over on the completion date free from any occupiers or any possessions belonging to the previous owner.
Valuation - A very simple form of survey designed to establish what the property is worth and nothing more.
Vendor - An older word for Seller.
Water & Drainage Search - This search confirms if the property is connected to a public water supply and public sewer, how the property is charged for these services, the location of water mains and sewage pipes which can impact on any future development such as extensions or if any repairs to these mains/pipes is needed.
Wayleave Agreement - A written agreement entered into with an owner to give a service provider (e.g. Electricity or Telephone company) a right for their cables to pass under or over their property.
Will - A written document outlining a persons last wishes to include the appointment of Executors, Guardians and the gift of money or assets to one or more beneficiaries.