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Glossary of Terms

The terms below are the most common ones used in connection with conveyancing, property sale/purchase and residential letting.

Conveyancing and Sales/Purchase Terms

Easement - A right over of under land granted to someone who is not the owner

Vendor - The seller of the property

Purchaser - The buyer of the property

Conveyance - The legal document transferring ownership from vendor to purchaser

Completion - The finalising of the sale when all monies are passed over and occupation taken

Title - The legal document describing the property containing all rights and liabilities that attach to the property

Deeds - All the legal documents relating to the property for as long as the property has existed

Draft Contract - The document sent by the vendor’s solicitors to the purchaser’s solicitors setting out the terms of the sale

Contract - The final terms of the sale, including the date when completion will take place

Abstract of Title - A summary of all previous dealings in the property including sales, charges and easements

Registered Title - A title registered at the Land Registry granting ownership

Covenant - A legal requirement incorporated in the title requiring either vendor or purchaser to do or not to do something in relation to the property

Stamp Duty Land Tax - A purchase tax paid to the Government

Freehold - Absolute ownership of land with or without Chief Rent

Leasehold - Ownership of land subject to an annual payment of a ground rent to the owner of the land

Chief Rent - A payment made on freehold land to the original freeholder in perpetuity. Distinct from ground rent which has a limited period

Ground Rent - On a leasehold property; this is the rent paid to the Freeholder under the terms of the Lease to occupy the property. The Lease will also specify the review period

Service Charge - On a leasehold property; the proportion of the costs of maintaining and managing the property defined within the lease; i.e. the cost of building insurance

Charge Certificate - The document of title to a mortgage or creditor on a registered title

Legal Costs and Fees - The fees charged by a solicitor include the charge for conveyancing, the costs of legal registrations and miscellaneous costs (known as disbursements); for example, Local Search fees and Land Registry fees. We recommend you obtain an estimate of these costs early on in the process

Mortgage - The capital sum borrowed to finance the purchase, secured by the property

Deposit - On exchange of contracts the purchaser will normally be required to pay a 10% deposit set against the purchase price

Exchange of Contracts - Both buyer and seller are legally bound when contracts are exchanged; prior to this date either party can withdraw without penalty

Local Searches - Information provided by the local authority affecting the property

Fixtures and Fittings - The agreed list of items that can be removed from the property but are instead included within the sale price

EPC - Energy Performance Certificate - This document rates the energy performance of the property with a scale from A-G