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Accelerated possession procedure

An affordable and straightforward way for landlords to gain possession of their property without a court hearing.  Unless it considers a hearing is necessary, the court makes its decision based solely on documents provided by the landlord and tenant.  This procedure can only be used where there is a written tenancy agreement and the tenant has been given notice.  The procedure cannot be used to claim for arrears of rent.

Annual percentage rate (APR)

A standard measure of the cost of borrowing including interest charges and other fees which must be shown on all UK loan advertisements.

Assured tenancy

A form of tenancy introduced under the 1988 Housing Act for property let out as a separate dwelling and used as the tenant's only or main home.  An assured tenancy will generally allow the tenant to stay in occupation until either he or she decides to leave of the landlord obtains a possession order.

Assured shorthold tenancy (AST)

A form of tenancy that assures the landlord right to repossess the property at the end of the term specified in the tenancy agreement.  To gain possession the landlord must service a notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 giving a minimum of two months’ notice.

Landlords may also apply for possession during the course of a tenancy on various ‘
grounds for possession’.  Some give the court no option but to grant possession.  Any new tenancy started after 28 February 1997 is automatically an assured shorthold tenancy unless otherwise specified.

Bank of England 's Monetary Policy Committee

UK base interest rates are currently set by the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), although in extreme circumstances the Government has the power to give instructions to the Bank on interest rates for a limited period.  The MPC comprises the Governor of the Bank, the two deputy governors, the Bank's chief economist, the executive director for market operations and four external members appointed directly by the Chancellor.  It meets monthly.  The rate set is the ‘the base rate’ – the base rate sets a benchmark for other interest rates, including personal loan and mortgage interest rates.

Buy to let

Purchase of a residential property for letting


Legal process of buying and selling a property.


The Confederation for the Registration of Gas Installers maintains the register of competent gas installers, inclusion on which is a legal requirement for businesses and self-employed people working on gas fittings or appliances.  CORGI also investigates gas safety related complaints from the public.  It is a requirement under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 for use landlords to have gas appliances and flues checked annually by a Corgi registered engineer.

Deposit protection scheme

Click this link for all current rules and regulations http://www.depositprotection.com/Public/FAQs.aspx

Discretionary grounds for possession

Grounds that may be cited in possession proceedings which allow the court discretion as to whether or not to grant possession – there are also eight mandatory grounds for possession.

The discretionary grounds cover circumstances in which: the landlord has offered suitable alternative accommodation on the same basis; there are rent arrears but not of more than eight weeks (or two months if the rent is paid monthly, or one quarter if paid quarterly); there are persistent and continuing rent arrears; the tenant has breached the terms of the tenancy agreement; the tenant has neglected or damaged the property or has sub-let; the tenant is causing nuisance to neighbours; furniture supplied under the tenancy agreement has been damaged; the accommodation is linked to employment which has ended; and the tenant has knowingly or recklessly made false statements on which the landlord has relied in granting a tenancy.

Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs)

Assessor authorised to provide Energy Performance Certificates.


A right, such as a right of way, which the owner of one property has over an adjoining property.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An assessment of household energy usage and the extent to which this can be lowered if the recommendations of the Domestic Energy Assessor preparing the certificate are adopted.  Certificates give properties a rating from A to G presented graphically in much the same style as used for fridges, washing machines and other white goods.  Dwellings offered for sale must have an EPC that is not more than 12 months old, and from 1st October 2008, rental properties must have a certificate that is not more than 10 years old.


In most cases it is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant without a court order. The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 also protects tenants against being forced to leave a property through harassment, such as threats or physical violence, or through withdrawal of services such as disconnecting the electrical supply or refusing to carry out vital repairs.

Fair rent

Rent determined by the Rent Service applicable to Regulated tenancies, set according to local market conditions but any increase capped, except where the landlord has made substantial improvements to the property, by a formula based on the rate of inflation.


Articles such as radiators and light fittings attached to the house itself and deemed to be part of it

Financial Services Authority (FSA)

The Financial Services Authority has statutory responsibility for regulating the financial services sector including the sale of private homebuyer mortgages but not business or buy to let mortgages.

Grounds for possession

There are 17 grounds for possession laid down in the Housing Act 1988, as amended by the Housing Act 1996, that may be cited in possession proceedings against a tenant. Eight are Mandatory grounds for possession where the court is obliged to award possession provided the landlord has complied with the procedure set out in the Housing Acts and has served the tenant with the appropriate notices. Nine are Discretionary grounds for possession allowing the court some leeway. Landlords may also seek possession when it can be demonstrated that a tenant is no longer using the accommodation as his or her principal home.  


Harassment is a criminal offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. The term refers to acts by a landlord or agent likely to interfere with the peace or comfort of a tenant or involve the withdrawal or withholding of services reasonably required for occupation. Harassment can include the landlord continually visiting the property or contacting tenants.

Housing benefit

Housing benefit is available to help people who are on state benefits or who have low incomes to pay their rent. It is paid by local councils in arrears and can be paid directly to a landlord. The amount is dependent upon personal circumstances of the tenant and the rent of the property. The system has been much criticised and is likely to be replaced with a new Local housing allowance which is being piloted in a number of areas.

Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The new Housing Health and Safety Rating System, which applies to all residential property as from April 2006, requires structures, means of access, outbuildings, gardens, yard and other amenity spaces to provide a safe and healthy environments for the occupants and visitors. Dwellings should be free from unnecessary and avoidable hazards; and where hazards are necessary or unavoidable, they should be made as safe as reasonably possible.

As all dwellings, even new ones, contain some hazards, the system provides a ‘hazard rating’ for the severity of hazards associated with each property. Ratings are assessed under 29 different areas of risk. Within each area they are scored according to possible harms or adverse health consequences according to the perceived severity. There are four classes of harm of which ‘category one’ are the most severe. These are risks that could lead to death, permanent paralysis below the neck, regular severe pneumonia, or 80 per cent burns or worse.

Communities and local government has web pages devoted to HHSRS.

Interest only mortgage

Mortgage in which no capital repayments are made for a specified time or until redemption.

Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance

Tax allowance originally introduced in April 2004 and which now covers loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, solid wall insulation, draught proofing, hot water system insulation, and floor insulation.

Land Registry

Official registry of property titles containing the world's largest property database, guaranteeing ownership of £1,300bn worth of property.  The Land Registration Act 2002 which came into effect in October 2003 gives owners of registered property greater protection against squatters and allows them to block applications for adverse possession with time allowed for recovery of possession.  

Local Housing allowance 



A proposed replacement for housing benefit currently being piloted in a number of areas (Blackpool, Brighton and Hove, Conwy, Coventry, Edinburgh, Leeds, Lewisham, north east Lincolnshire, and Teignbridge). This will allow tenants fixed amounts to spend on housing dependent upon the local rental market, and permit them to keep any saving or to contribute an additional amount needed according to their choice of properties. Payment direct to landlords will be precluded.

Local search

Application to local authority for information about a particular property and its surrounding area which should reveal whether the property is affected by road building or outstanding matters such as sanitary notices.


The London Inter Bank Offered Rate is the rate at which banks lend money to each other. LIBOR changes daily and a LIBOR linked mortgage will normally be adjusted every three months.

Loan to value (LTV)

Size of mortgage as a percentage of the value of a property. Many lenders offer more favourable deals to customers who are seeking lower LTVs.

Mandatory grounds for possession

Grounds that may be cited in possession proceedings which, provided the correct procedures have been followed and notices given, require the court to grant possession. In brief the mandatory grounds cover situations where: the landlord requires the property for personal occupation; a mortgage lender is foreclosing the mortgage; property let for a fixed period is required for return to holiday letting; an educational institution requires return of a student let; a religious body requires return of its property for an alternative tenant; the landlord wishes to demolish, reconstruct or redevelop the property; a landlord wishes to claim possession against the resident heir of a tenant who has died; and the rent is in arrears by eight weeks or more (two months if it is paid monthly, or one quarter if paid quarterly).


Deed pledging freehold or leasehold property as security for a loan (also called legal a charge). If payments are not made according to the terms of the mortgage and fall into arrears the mortgagor will be able to foreclose, claim the property and sell it on to recover the outstanding amount.

National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC)

An independent consumer safety organisation and has been the electrical contracting industry's voluntary regulatory body for electrical safety matters for more than 45 years.

Non-resident landlords scheme

A scheme for taxing the UK rental income of non-resident landlords. The scheme requires UK letting agents to deduct basic rate tax from any rent they collect for non-resident landlords. If non-resident landlords don't have UK letting agents acting for them, and the rent is more than £100 a week, their tenants must deduct the tax. When working out the amount of tax the letting agent/tenant can take off deductible expenses.

Letting agents and/or tenants don't have to deduct tax if the Inland Revenue tells them not to. The Inland Revenue will tell an agent/tenant not to deduct tax if non-resident landlords have successfully applied for Approval to receive rents with no tax deduction. But even though the rent may be paid with no tax deducted, it remains liable to UK tax. So non-resident landlords must include it in any tax return to the Inland Revenue. Retails of the scheme
are available from the Inland Revenue website. http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/


Some lenders will offer non-status facilities which allow them to lend without proof of income and sometimes without proof of existing mortgage repayment record. The maximum loan to value on these schemes is normally 70 per cent or below and a credit search will usually be carried out

Notice to quit

A Notice to quit or more properly Notice requiring repossession issued under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 is notice to a tenant that he or she must vacate a property at the end of an assured shorthold tenancy agreement. There is no prescribed form for the notice but it must specify the date after which the tenant is to give up possession. At least two month’s notice is required and possession may not be required until expiry of the first six months of the tenancy.

Title deeds

Deeds and documents proving ownership of freehold or leasehold property (generally the charge or land certificate).

Tracker mortgage

Variable rate mortgage in which the interest rate is linked to an external market rate, such as the Bank of England base rate rather than a rate set by the lender.

Void periods

Time, usually measured in days, when properties offered for rent remain without tenants