02 March 15

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Abstract of Title

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


Adopted Highway

A road maintained by the local authority.



The original amount of the loan.



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


Assured Shorthold Tenancy

A special form of tenancy agreement designed to simplify the process of obtaining vacant possession of the property at the end of the agreed tenancy period.



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


Bankruptcy Search

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


Base Rate

The basic rate of interest upon which other interest rates are based.



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.



Someone who buys a property.


Capped Rate

A mortgage interest rate which is a variable rate but capped at a maximum upper limit usually for a limited period.



A sum of money usually paid by the lender on completion of a mortgage.



Where a property seller is also buying another property 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 which may therefore mean there are third party rights over the property (e.g. grazing) resulting in the enjoyment of the property being limited.



The moment when the buyer becomes the new owner of the seller's house and the seller must have left the property.


Completion Statement

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


Contaminated Land

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



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.



A document transferring ownership of an unregistered property from one person to another.



The legal work needed to buy and sell properties.



Legal obligations.


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 mortgagee agrees to their mortgage ranking after another lender's mortgage.



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



The agreed amount to be paid on exchange of contracts usually forfeited if the buyer fails to complete.



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


Discount Rate

A mortgage interest rate which will rise and fall with the variable rate but which will always be the discounted amount below the variable rate.


Endowment Mortgage

A mortgage where you pay the interest on the mortgage only and a premium towards an endowment policy. The policy is then intended to pay off the original amount borrowed at the end of the mortgage term.


Endowment Policy

Assurance providing for the payment of a lump sum on death or maturity.


Environmental Search

A search against a property to check whether there is any record kept to suggest that the property may be affected by contamination or other environmental issues.



Usually means the difference between the value of a property and the amount owed to the mortgagee.


Exchange of Contracts

The formal exchanging of the two parts of the contract when the seller and buyer become legally bound to complete on an agreed date and in the case of the seller, to move out of the property.


Fixed Rate Mortgage

A mortgage interest rate where the mortgagee agrees to charge a fixed rate of interest over a given period whether or not the variable rate changes.


Fixtures Fittings & Contents Form

A standard form where the seller sets out all those items in the property which they have agreed to leave 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.



Absolute ownership in land.



The person who owns the freehold title.


Full Title Guarantee

An assurance by the owner of unfettered ownership.


Further Advance

An additional amount lent to the mortgagor under the terms of the original mortgage.


Ground Rent

This is paid by a lessee to a lessor where a property is leasehold and is usually expressed as a yearly sum.


High Loan to Value Fee

This is sometimes charged by a mortgagee where a borrower borrows more than a certain percentage of the value of a property to insure the mortgagee only against loss arising if the property is sold by them due to the borrower's failure to pay the mortgage.


Index Map

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


Interest Only Mortgage

A mortgage whereby interest only is paid to the mortgagee and the capital amount of the original loan is repaid at the end of the mortgage term either by an endowment policy maturing or a pension or other savings plan maturing.


Land Charges Search

If a property is unregistered a search at the land charges registry is made to see if a person has any bankruptcy proceedings pending or established or to see if there are any mortgages or interests registered which affect the property.


Land Registry

A government organisation maintaining 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.


Land Registry Search

A search at the land registry to check that no undisclosed charges or interests are registered against the property.



See Lessor.



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.



Where the ownership of property is for a limited period only. For example 99 years or sometimes 2000 years. Possession of the property will be subject to the payment of an annual ground rent.



See Lessee.


Legal Charge

See Mortgage.



See Mortgagee.



Where a property is leasehold the lessee means the current owner of the leasehold property as opposed to the freeholder or landlord whose interest is subject to the lessee's right of occupation until the lease term has come to an end.



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.


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 or any proposals for the neighbourhood which may directly affect the property.


Mining Search

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



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.



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



Somebody who gives someone a mortgage (e.g. a bank or building society).



Somebody who takes out a mortgage (a borrower).


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.


Party Wall

A wall owned jointly with a neighbour and repairable at shared expense.


Planning Permission

Approval by the local authority to the building or change of use of a property or extension 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 (e.g. who maintains boundaries and whether there have been any disputes).



The buying of a property.



See buyer.


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).



The repayment of an existing mortgage.


Redemption Penalty

A penalty charged by a mortgagee when you redeem a mortgage within a fixed rate, discounted rate or cashback period.


Registered Land

Property which has already been registered at the Land Registry.



Changing a mortgage from one mortgagee to another.



Some freehold properties are subject to a rentcharge payable to the rentcharge owner. This may be to ensure income for the original land owner without the existence of a lease or it can be to ensure that estate covenants can be enforced more easily.


Repayment Mortgage

A mortgage where the mortgagor repays both interest and some of the initial capital borrowed each month.


Reservation Fee

An administration fee charged by some mortgagees to cover the cost of reserving a mortgagor's entitlement to a loan on certain terms or possibly a fee paid to a builder to reserve a particular new property.



The sale of a property.



Someone who sells a property.


Service Charge

A payment 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

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



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.



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



See Lessee.


Term Assurance

Life insurance which only lasts the term of the mortgage.


Tin Search

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



The owner's right to a property.


Title Deeds

See Deeds.



A dealing with property (e.g. sale or purchase).



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


Transfer of Equity

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


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 or fell them.


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 documents showing successive ownership.


Vacant Possession

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



A very simple form of survey designed to establish the market value of the property.


Variable Rate

A mortgage interest rate which is variable and which is set by each individual mortgagee.



See Seller.


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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The meanings given to the words contained in this glossary are particular to the context in which they are used on this web site, and do not constitute advice given by enact on the legal definition of those words.