Conveyancing dictionary

Abstract of title 

Written details of the title which proves an owner’s interest in land. An abstract of title is comprised of extracts of various documents, often in abbreviated form.  

Adopted (Roads and Sewers) 

Roads and sewers maintained at public expense. When the construction of a new estate is completed the roads and sewers are likely to be adopted by the local authority. A legal right of way is not required over an adopted road or required to use an adopted sewer or drain. 

Adverse Possession 

Possession of land by occupation rather than legal ownership.  

Agent (Deposit) 

Where the deposit is held by the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer as agent they are free to release the deposit to the seller once exchange of contracts has taken place. 

Airspace  

In English law the ownership of land includes ownership of the airspace above it and the owner has rights in as much of the airspace above the land as is necessary for the ordinary use of their land and the structures on it. 

Alienation 

Covenants against assignments, under lettings, mortgages and other material dealings with a property. Many leases contain alienation provisions such as, not to underlet without the landlord’s consent or not to assign without the buyer entering into a deed of covenant. 

Allowance 

A sum of money given to the buyer from the seller on completion of the sale. For example, an allowance for an indemnity policy may be given rather than the seller obtaining the indemnity policy themselves. 

Assignment 

The transfer of the whole of the remaining unexpired term of a lease. Assignment may be restricted within the body of the lease and this should be considered when dealing with the sale of a leasehold property.  

Appurtenances  

An accessory or other item associated with the property.  

Apportionment 

The seller or buyer’s portion of ground rent, service charges, building insurance, maintenance charges or AST tenant’s rent. When dealing with a sale of leasehold properties any overpaid sums made by the seller should be recouped from the buyer from the date of completion. 

Architect’s Certificate (Professional Consultant’s Certificate) 

Where a property is being built by a small developer or individual it is likely that the builder will not be a member of one of the usual building warranty providers. The architect will complete a professional consultants certificate when designing and/or monitoring the construction or conversion of residential buildings and this will be re-enforced by the architect’s professional liability insurance.  

Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST) 

This agreement is between the tenant and property owner and gives the tenant a right of occupation subject to their compliance with the terms of the agreement. The AST will set out the amount of rent payable, the payment date along with any regulations that the property owner requires compliance with. Where a property is being sold subject to a AST, details of this agreement must be disclosed to the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer and set out in the contract. 

Auction  

A method of sale in which parties are invited to make competing offers (bids) to purchase a property. The contract, title deeds to the property and relevant searches are made available to prospective buyers prior to the auction. Bids are placed for the property and contracts are exchanged at the fall of the hammer. 

Authority to exchange 

Before exchanging contracts both the buyer’s and seller’s solicitor/conveyancer will obtain final verbal authority to exchange from their client before exchanging contracts. Within this telephone call the property address, price, completion date and cost of fittings (if any) are checked for the final time. 

Bankruptcy

A person declared in law as being unable to pay their debts is known to be bankrupt. The two stages in the bankruptcy process are: 

The debtor’s bankruptcy application to the adjudicator, or a creditor’s bankruptcy petition to the court, for a bankruptcy order (Pending Order). A bankruptcy notice may be placed on the title to the property at this stage. 

The bankruptcy order made by the adjudicator or the court (Written Order). A bankruptcy restriction may be placed on the title to the property at this stage. 

After the bankruptcy order is made, a trustee in bankruptcy is appointed who will be either an authorised insolvency practitioner or the official receiver.  

Bankruptcy Search  

A search carried out at Land Registry against a person to determine whether they have been declared bankrupt. This search is carried out against a buyer who is buying with the aid of mortgage finance or against a person who is offering a buyer a gifted deposit. 

Boundary 

An imaginary line or physical feature that determines the extent of the legal title. 

Breach of Contract 

Actual failure of one party i.e. seller or buyer to perform their obligations under the terms of the contract. A breach can only occur once contracts have exchanged, the most common breach being failure to complete.  

Breach  

An act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct. A breach of covenant is one of the most common breaches in conveyancing transactions. 

Bridging Loan 

A sum of money lent by a financial institution to cover an interval between two transactions, typically the buying of one house and the selling of another. 

Build Over Agreement 

An agreement entered into with the Water Authority which gives consent to build over a sewer/drain. It gives assurance that the owner of the property has given the sewer the correct clearance from the new foundations. It also ensures that sufficient access to the sewer is given so that it can be maintained.  

Building Regulations 

Building regulations are statutory instruments that seek to ensure that the policies set out in the relevant legislation are carried out. Building regulations approval is required for most building work in the UK.  

Building Regulation Completion Certificate 

The certificate issued by the local authority following inspection of the final construction which confirms that the works were carried out in compliance with building regulations. 

Building Regulation Compliance Certificate 

These certificates are issued under various competent person schemes which confirm compliance with building regulations. Examples of such schemes are FENSA, Certass, Elecsa, NAPIT, NICEIC, CORGI and Gas Safe.  

Building Warranty 

When a new home is constructed or an existing building converted into individual dwellings the works are often given a building warranty on completion of the construction. The most common warranty provider is NHBC which gives a 10-year structural warranty, however Premier Guarantee, Zurich and LADC have their own similar warranties. 

Buildings Insurance 

An arrangement by which a company undertakes to provide a guarantee of compensation for a building for specified loss, damage, destruction etc. in return for payment of a specified premium. Adequate buildings insurance is required under the terms of most leases and mortgages and these requirements should be taken into consideration when acting for a buyer. 

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) 

Capital gains tax is payable on the disposal of an interest in land. The disposal for tax purposes occurs at exchange of contracts and not on completion. This is rarely payable in the context of residential conveyancing as the disposal of the principal, private dwelling house is exempt. As a conveyancing firm, Advantage Property Lawyers do not give advice on CGT and clients are advised to seek Independent Legal Advice.  

Certificate of Title (COT) 

This is the form requesting the mortgage advance from the mortgage lender and specifies the date on which the funds are required and the date of completion. This is issued to the mortgage lender by the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer and confirms to the mortgage lender that all matters relating to the property are acceptable, and that, in the opinion of the solicitor/conveyancer, the property has a good and marketable title.  

Certified Copy 

A copy document which has been certified by an authorised person (such as solicitor, conveyancer, chartered accountant, mortgage advisor etc.) stating that the copy is a true copy of the original document.  The authorised person will change depending on the document type. For example, mortgage advisors are able to certify identification documents for our purposes, however a death certificate for Land Registry purposes must be certified by a solicitor/conveyancer. 

Chain 

This is the term given to a chain of linked transactions where each transaction is reliant on the funds from the matter below, such as a purchase transaction being reliant on the funds from their related sale and their buyer’s related sale etc. Chains can be quite extensive and may cause delays in transactions when all parties are at different stages of the sale process. 

Chain of Indemnity 

A chain of indemnity is built up between successors in title when an indemnity covenant is required by the first seller and the chain of indemnity remains intact. This is in order to protect the first seller and their successors in title against any breach of the covenants affecting the property once they have disposed of the property.  

Chancel Repair Liability  

A chancel is part of a church containing the altar and sanctuary. If the property is in a parish with a vicar of a medieval church, there may be a liability to contribute to the cost of repairs of the chancel of that church. Chancel repair liability is no longer an overriding interest and any liability to repair must be protected by Registration from 13 October 2013 in order to be binding. An application for registration of a chancel repair liability can still be made up to the registration of the next registered proprietor for any individual property.  

Chattels 

An item of personal property, including tangible goods, such as carpets, curtains, light shades, free-standing kitchen white goods etc. Chattels sold for monetary value are listed within the fittings and contents form which forms part of the contract for sale and are paid for by the buyer on completion of the sale.  

Cheshire Brine Search 

Brine extraction is a method of mining for underground salt in the Cheshire or Greater Manchester areas. Past workings have resulted in subsidence in properties. If a property is located within these areas the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer will request a search from the Coal Authority to establish any presence of old workings. Any potential subsidence risk can then be investigated and reported to the buyer and their mortgage lender (if any).  

Class of Title 

On receipt of an application for first registration of land the Land Registrar will investigate the title, and in light of that investigation will allocate the property a particular class of title. This can be title absolute, good leasehold title, possessory title or qualified title.  It is possible for some classes to be upgraded.  

Clay Search 

If the property is located in Devon or Cornwall, the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer will request a search from Kaolin and Ball Clay Association in respect of the presence of clay underneath the property and any potential risk of subsidence. Any potential subsidence risk can then be investigated and reported to the buyer and their mortgage lender (if any).  

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) 

This is a planning charge used by the local authority as a tool to help deliver infrastructure support to the development of the local area. The presence of this levy is revealed within the local authority search result. The buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer should investigate this further and report their findings to the buyer. 

Council or Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) 

The Council of Licensed Conveyancers is the Regulatory Body for all Licensed Conveyancers. 

Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML) Handbook or UK Finance Mortgage Lender’s Handbook 

This handbook has been adopted by most institutional lenders and sets out instructions to conveyancing practitioners. The CML Handbook comprises of two parts. Part 1 contains the standardised instructions with Part 2 containing individual mortgage lender’s requirements.  

Coal Mining Search 

If the property is located within an area of past or present coal mining activity, the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer will request a coal mining search from the Coal Authority. This search will reveal whether future workings are likely and whether any past workings have resulted in the risk of subsidence to the property. Any potential subsidence risk can then be investigated and reported to the buyer and their mortgage lender (if any). 

Commonhold 

This is a new form of land ownership of registered freehold land and can apply to both residential and commercial developments. The idea is based upon cooperation between a community of freehold owners living within a defined location and gives the owners of the individual properties the security of freehold ownership and allows them to collectively manage their own communal areas. 

Commons Search 

If a plot of land is being purchased or the property being purchased is located next to a village green or common a commons search should be carried out as an Optional Enquiry as Part 2 of the local authority Search. This search will establish whether a registration is disclosed which may restrict future development and fencing off of the property. Further investigations should be made and reported to the buyer and their mortgage lender (if any).  

Completion  

This is the process where the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer sends the balance of funds required to purchase the property to the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer to finalise the sale. Once the funds are received by the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer the keys are handed over to the buyer.  

Completion Date 

This is the date on which completion occurs.  

Completion on Notice 

Where a fixed completion date is not possible, such as where the property is not fully constructed on exchange of contracts, completion on notice can be agreed between the buyer and seller. The notice period is usually 10 working days and completion will take place within this time frame once notice to complete has been served by either party. 

Compulsory Purchase Order 

A compulsory purchase order is a legal function which allows certain bodies (such as local authorities) to acquire land without consent of the owner. In these circumstances the body acquiring the land is required to pay full market value for the land. Where land is affected by a compulsory purchase order this will be revealed on the local search result and must be reported to the buyer and their mortgage lender (if any). It is unlikely that the buyer or their mortgage lender would be willing to proceed.  

Compulsory First Registration 

Certain events (such as the disposition of land) trigger compulsory first registration at the Land Registry. The Land Registry phased in compulsory first registration in stages throughout England and Wales, and all dealings with land from 13 October 2003 now require first registration.  

Conditional Exchange of Contracts  

A conditional exchange of contracts is where contracts are exchanged subject to certain conditions which have previously been agreed between the parties.  Such a condition could be for works to be carried out between exchange and completion. There is usually a long stop completion date within the contract which allows a party to rescind the contract if the conditions have not been satisfied by this date.  

Conservation Area 

An area designated by a local planning authority because of its special architectural or historic interest which must be preserved or enhanced. Each building in this area becomes protected as though it were a listed building and trees can only be lopped or felled with prior written consent of the local authority as if they were protected by a tree reservation order.  

Consideration 

An act or promise by one party to a contract that constitutes the price for which he buys the promise of the other. An example of this would be the buyer paying the deposit (the act) to the seller (for their promise) to complete the sale on the completion date. Consideration is essential for a contract to be valid. 

Contingency Fee 

It is not unusual for a lease to contain a provision for the seller to pay the landlord/management company a contingency fee on completion of the sale. This fee is often calculated taking into account any of the following, the current sale price, the price paid by the seller at the time of their purchase and the seller’s period of ownership. This fee will be placed in the sinking fund to assist with any works planned in the future. 

Contract 

A legally binding agreement. 

Contract Race 

A contract race arises where a seller decides to accept more than one offer from prospective buyers which creates a ‘race’ as to who can secure an exchange of contracts first. All buyers should be aware of the contract race and once a buyer has offered an exchange of contracts the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer should withdraw from all other offers prior to exchanging contracts.  

Contract Rate 

The rate of interest payable under the contract. If the buyer fails to pay the balance on completion of the sale the buyer is liable to pay interest on the outstanding sum up to the completion date. This interest is calculated at the contract rate specified in the contract. 

Conveyance 

A conveyance is the traditional form of deed used to purchase unregistered land.  

Co-Ownership 

Where two or more people own a legal estate in land.  

Court of Protection Order 

An Order given by the Court of Protection giving someone power to deal with another’s affairs where they are of unsound mind. The Order should be carefully checked to ensure that it includes sale of land. 

Covenant 

A rule or condition contained in the title that relates to the upkeep of the property or places restrictions on its use. Some covenants are said to ‘run with the land’, meaning that the burden or benefit of the covenant is passed to the buyer of the land on transfer of the title. For example, a developer may create a restrictive covenant within the transfer deed with the buyer which restricts future development on the property or a positive covenant to repair fences.  

Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) 

This scheme, which was introduced in 2011, has been designed by the Law Society the aim of which is to provide a recognised quality standard for residential practices. This scheme is aimed at solicitors regulated by the SRA to streamline the conveyancing process firm wide. As Licenced Conveyancers APL, do not adopt this scheme. 

Creeping Freehold 

A creeping freehold occurs where part of a building, “creeps” under a neighbouring property or land. For example, if the cellar of a property extends under a neighbouring property then it is a creeping freehold. Rights of shelter and adequate repairing covenants should be contained within the title to the property.  

Death Certificate 

An official statement, signed by a doctor, of the cause, date, and place of a person’s death.  

Declaration of Trust 

A statement by the legal owner of property indicating that the property is to be held on trust. This declaration is often entered into by tenants in common where the property is held in unequal shares.  

Deduction of Title 

The evidence of title to unregistered land is contained within the title deeds. The seller will deduce title by supplying the buyer with particulars of the deed tracing a chain of ownership through to the current seller. The buyer should insist that the seller deduces title from at least 15 years and the chain of title must commence with a good root of title. 

In registered land, deduction of title is the providing to the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer a copy of the registers of title and any associated documents containing rights and covenants.  

Deed 

A written document that must make it clear on its face that it is intended to be a deed and validly executed as a deed. A deed, in order to be validly executed the signatory must sign in the presence of a witness or two witnesses as required. Some companies have their own seal which can also be used.  

Deed of Covenant 

A deed entered into by the buyer and any party who has the benefit of the covenants contained within the title, such as a landlord or management company. This deed is the buyer’s promise to comply with the obligations contained within the title. For example, to pay any service charges that may be levied against a property.  

Deed of Rectification  

Where a deed contains an error the contents may require rectifying to reflect the intention of the parties at that time. A deed of rectification would be required in this instance and must be agreed and signed by all parties to the original deed (or their successors in title) and registered at Land Registry.  

Deed of Variation 

Where the terms of a deed require varying, such as to grant a right to park, a deed of variation must be agreed and signed by all parties to the original deed (or their successors in title) and registered at the Land Registry.  

Deed Poll 

A legal deed made and executed to formalise the change of a person’s name.  

Dematerialisation 

Replacement of physical records or certificates with a paperless computerised system. Since 13 October 2003 mortgage lenders no longer retain the title deeds to land as compulsory first registration has resulted in the Land Registry having a centralised record of all registered land.  

Deposit (on exchange of contracts) 

A deposit is usually paid on exchange of contracts as part payment of the purchase price and a guarantee that the buyer will complete. If the buyer defaults on the contract, such as failing to complete, the seller will generally be entitled to retain the whole deposit even through the seller has not suffered any loss. It is usual for a deposit of 10% of the purchase price to be paid by the buyer, however a lesser amount can be accepted and the buyer is liable on default for the full 10% amount under the Standard Conditions of Sale.

Deposit Protection Scheme (AST) 

Under the provisions of the Housing Act 2004 every landlord or letting agent that takes a deposit for an assured shorthold tenancy in England and Wales must protect the deposit under an authorised tenancy deposit scheme. On completion of the sale of a property which is subject to an AST, the seller must transfer the tenant’s deposit to the buyer’s own deposit protection scheme or return it to the tenant. 

Discharge Documentation (DS1, e-DS1, Mortgage Vacating Receipt, DS2)  

In registered land, upon receipt of the balance required to repay the seller’s existing mortgage, the mortgage lender will release a completed DS1 to the seller’s solicitor for the buyer’s solicitor to submit within their application for registration. This DS1 will remove the mortgage from the whole of the title. Alternatively, this form can be submitted directly to the Land Registry by the mortgage lender electronically by way of e-DS1 which is the preferred method for most high-street mortgage lenders. Where there is a sale of part, the same process is followed, however form DS2 is used, accompanied by a plan showing the extent of land being released from the mortgage.  

In unregistered land, the mortgage lender will seal the original mortgage deed upon receipt of the balance required to repay the mortgage and will release the vacated charge to the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer. 

Disposition 

The transfer of property by some act of the registered proprietor such as a gift, sale, or legal charge. 

Drainage and Water Search 

This search is made to the Water Authority serving the property and will reveal various information in respect of the water supply and drains/sewers serving the property such as, whether the property has mains water, foul drainage and surface water drainage connections. Any adverse entries can then be investigated and reported to the buyer and their mortgage lender (if any). 

Draft 

An initial unsigned document which is not yet in force and capable of being amended. 

Early Repayment Charge 

A penalty incurred by the mortgage lender where a mortgage is repaid before a particular date.  

Easement 

A right enjoyed by the owner of land at the detriment of other land. Such as, a right of way over neighbouring land in order to access the property. An easement benefits and binds the land itself and therefore continues despite any change of ownership. 

Encumbrance 

A right or interest in land owned by someone other than the owner of the land itself such as, easements, leases, mortgages and restrictive covenants. 

Enforcement Notice 

Where a local authority becomes aware of a breach of planning control it has the power to issue and serve an enforcement notice requiring the property owner to rectify the breach or remove the construction altogether. The existence of an enforcement notice will be revealed within the local search result and most likely investigated and reported to the buyer and their mortgage lender (if any).  

Engrossment 

A final version of a deed or other legal document which is ready for execution by all parties. 

Enquiries 

Points raised by the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer to the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer in respect of the property being sold. Examples being, a request for information regarding works carried out or confirmation that there has been no breach of covenant. 

Environmental Search  

An environmental search is carried out with an Environmental Agency and gives details of the past use of the land and the surrounding area which will reveal whether the property is (or is at risk of being) affected by contaminated land. Enhanced searches include issues on mining flooding and other information in relation to the surrounding area which the buyer could find helpful. Any adverse results are to be investigated and reported to the buyer and their mortgage lender (if any). 

EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) 

Energy Performance Certificates are a list of statistics about the energy efficiency of the property. They also have recommendations on where improvements could be made. EPCs carry ratings on energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. A property cannot be placed on the market without a valid EPC. The certificates expire after 10 years however, the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer my request an up to date certificate if large improvement works have been carried out to establish the new energy rating. 

Epitome of Title 

Written details of the title deeds and documents which prove an owner’s right to dispose of unregistered land.  

Equitable Charge 

A charge created by designating specific property for the discharge of some debt or other obligation. This is usually placed on the title to the property when the registered proprietor has defaulted on payment of a debt. This is to allow the owner of the charge to take action or to reclaim the debt on the sale of the property. 

Escrow 

A deed, or other document kept in the custody of a third party and taking effect only when a specified condition has been fulfilled. For example, the transfer deed is often signed by the buyer and sent to the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer to be held until completion takes place although this method is rarely used in practice. 

Estate Agent 

An estate agent acts on behalf of the seller and markets the property on their behalf. The agent will negotiate the purchase price between buyer and seller and check the buyer’s eligibility. The agent usually charges a commission for this.  

Exchange of Contracts 

The process when the contract for sale becomes legally binding on all parties and the buyer’s deposit is paid to the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer. 

Final Charging Order 

An Order issued to a creditor in respect of an outstanding debt which results in an entry usually being placed on the title to the property when the registered proprietor has defaulted on payment of that debt. This is to allow the owner of the charging order to take action or to reclaim the debt on the sale of the property. 

Fittings and Contents Form 

This form is one of the Law Society protocol forms and is widely used in residential conveyancing. The form is completed by the seller and sets out any items that are excluded or included within the sale or those items that the seller wishes to sell as chattels.  

Flying Freehold  

  

A flying freehold occurs where part of a building overhangs a neighbouring property or land. For example, a room situated above a shared passageway in a semi-detached house, or a balcony which extends over a neighbouring property. Rights of support and adequate repairing covenants should be contained within the title to the property. 

Forfeiture 

Loss of property or a right, as a consequence of failing to comply with the covenants contained within the title, the most common being forfeiture of the lease for non-payment of ground rent. 

Freehold 

Permanent and absolute tenure of land or property with freedom to dispose of it at will. 

Freeholder 

A person or company who owns the freehold of a building or piece of land. 

Full Title Guarantee    

The contract of sale refers to the property being sold with a guarantee from the seller. Section 1 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1994 defines how title guarantee is established. Full title guarantee is given when the seller is able to satisfy three covenants. Firstly, that the seller has the right to sell the property, secondly, that the seller will, at their own cost, do everything reasonably possible to ensure that the buyer has a good title and thirdly that he is selling the property free from all charges and incumbrances and all other rights exercisable by third parties, other than those which the seller does not and could not be reasonably expected to know about. This guarantee is normally given by the registered proprietor. 

Gas Safety Certificate 

A certificate issued by an engineer following inspection of a gas appliance which certifies the safety or the appliance or any remedial works required. Please note that this certificate differs from the building regulation compliance certificate that given at the time of installation of a gas appliance or boiler.  

Gazumping 

Gazumping is a situation where an unreliable seller accepts a higher offer on their property despite already having accepted an offer from another buyer. The original buyer has to improve their offer or lose the property. 

Gifted Deposit 

Where a deposit is provided by a person other than the buyer. Gifted deposits must be reported to the mortgage lender (if any) and various steps must be taken to evidence the identity of the giftor and the source of the funds. 

Good and Marketable Title 

A good and marketable title is considered to be a title free from incumbrances which may adversely affect the use and enjoyment of the property and that no title deficiencies exist which may reduce the property’s value or adversely affect the mortgage lender’s ability to dispose of the property on the open market. The buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer must ensure that a good and marketable title is being purchased by the buyer and their mortgage lender.  

Good Leasehold Title  

Good leasehold title is issued by the Land Registry where a leasehold title is registered without satisfactory evidence of the title out of which the lease has been granted. For example, where a lease has been granted out of an unregistered freehold title and Land Registry have not had evidence of this title when registering the lease.  

Grant of Probate 

The granting of probate is the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property under a will. Executors will be appointed as administrators of the estate and a sealed grant of probate allows the executors to dispose of the deceased’s interest in land. 

Ground Rent 

The rent payable by the owner of a leasehold property to the landlord during the term of the lease. In long leases, the ground rent is often a peppercorn which in practice is not demanded by the landlord. The lease will contain any provisions for the increase of ground rent during its term.  

Headlease 

A headlease is the original lease between a landlord and a tenant. In such a lease, the overall contractual responsibility is given to one identifiable tenant called the headlessee. It is a primary lease under which underleases have been granted. Underleases usually refer to the covenants and obligations contained within the headlease which must be complied with all underlessees.  

Housing Association 

A non-profit organisation that provides housing under various affordable housing schemes to people on low incomes or with particular needs.  

Incumbrance 

See Encumbrance. 

Indemnity Covenant    

An owner of land may continue to be liable under a covenant affecting the land even after control of the land has passed to the buyer. In this situation, the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer must ensure that the buyer gives the seller an indemnity covenant against any future breach. This indemnity covenant is contained within Panel 11 of the transfer deed. 

Indemnity Policy 

An insurance policy taken out to indemnify the property owner for a specific fault and would cover loss of property value or dispute resolution costs being incurred. The most common indemnity policies include breach of restrictive covenant and non-compliance with building regulations.  

Independent Legal Advice 

Legal advice given to the client by a solicitor or conveyancer other than that acting in their sale or purchase. For example, advising your client to seek independent legal advice from a person experienced in capital gains tax or matrimonial disputes. 

Index Map Search (SIM) 

This search is carried out by Land Registry against a particular property and searches their Index Map. This search should be carried out in all transactions when dealing with unregistered land and will reveal whether all or part of the land in question is registered, is subject to any pending applications, cautions against first registration and whether there are any other titles affecting the land. 

Interim Charging Order 

An interim charging order is usually granted by the court to stop a person from selling their property without the creditor knowing. If a court grants the creditor a final charging order, this means that if the property is sold the debt owing to the creditor must be repaid. In these circumstances an entry is usually placed on the title to allow the owner of the charging order to take action or to reclaim the debt on the sale of the property. 

Intermediate Title 

It is possible for a lease to be granted out of a freehold title which in turn grants a further lease for the same parcel of land. Many leases can be granted for the same land providing that the term of each lease is shorter than the lease out which it has been granted. The leasehold titles for the same parcel of land between the freehold title and property title are known as intermediate titles.  

Islamic Mortgage/Shariah-Compliant Mortgage 

Islamic law – known as shariah – forbids Muslims from paying interest and this excludes many Muslims from the conventional mortgage products on offer. Specialist mortgage lenders such as the Islamic Bank of Britain offer shariah-compliant alternatives. These usually involve the mortgage lender initially buying the property and then selling it to the buyer at a higher price (known as the Murabaha).  

Joint Tenants 

Where a property is held as joint tenants all ‘tenants’ collectively own the whole of the estate with each other rather than each owning shares in the property. Under a joint tenancy there is a right of survivorship in that on the death of one owner their interest will automatically pass to the remaining owners.  

Land Charges Search  

This is a search of the Central Land Charges Register at Land Registry to establish any entries in respect of bankruptcy, financial charges and restrictive covenants. The search is carried out against the owner of unregistered land during their period of ownership and the county where the property is located. Any entries revealed will then be investigated by the seller’s solicitor.  

Landlord  

A person who rents out land, a building, or accommodation under a lease or an assured shorthold tenancy. 

Law Society 

The professional body in the UK that represents and sets standards for solicitors

Law Society Conveyancing Protocol 

The Law Society Conveyancing Protocol (the Protocol) is the Law Society’s preferred practice for residential conveyancing transactions. It is designed for transactions that involve the transfer of freehold and leasehold residential properties. Firms that are members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) will be expected to follow the procedures set out in the Protocol in so far as this is appropriate for the particular transaction. 

Lease  

A document under which the owner of the property grants exclusive possession of the property for an agreed term in return for rent and a premium. 

Leasehold 

Land held under a lease for a term of years which can only be brought to an end by notice, forfeiture or effluxion of time.  

Leasehold Information Form    

The leasehold information form is one of the standard Law Society Protocol forms used in transactions where the property is leasehold. It is completed by the seller in addition to the Property Information Form and Fittings and Contents Form and asks a series of questions specific to leasehold properties. The purpose of the Protocol Forms is to negate the need for endless standard enquiries being raised by the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer and to reduce transaction timescales by providing the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer with as much information as possible at the outset. 

Leasehold Property Enquiries (LPE1)    

This form covers points such as the collection of ground rent and service charge, building insurance, planned major works and transfer requirements. These enquiries are asked on behalf of buyer and should only responded to by the landlord, the management company, the managing agent or the residents’ association or their representatives. The purpose of this form is to negate the need for endless standard enquiries being raised by the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer and to reduce transaction timescales by providing the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer with as much information as possible at the outset.  

Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) 

The body that handles disputes in respect of leasehold properties and the management of these properties. The LVT also appoints managers of leasehold properties when the landlords’ existing managers are not acceptable.  

Leaseholder 

The person with the benefit of a lease of land. The leaseholder can also be known as lessee or tenant.  

Legal Charge 

A legal charge is the means by which mortgage lenders enforce their rights to a property. The charge is registered at Land Registry to allow the mortgage lender to take action (such as possession proceedings or the appointment of an LPA Receiver on non-payment of arrears) or to reclaim the debt on the sale of the property. It is not unusual for a property to have more than one legal charge registered against it.  

Lessee 

See leaseholder. 

Lessor 

See landlord. 

Letter of Indemnity for Lost Share Certificate  

If a share certificate is lost or missing, the body which issued the document (the Registrar) will issue a duplicate, but they will require that the beneficial owner of the shares signs a letter of indemnity which indemnifies the Registrar for any losses they may sustain as a result of the duplicate certificate being provided. The letter usually contains a provision that if the share certificate is located, it is returned to the Registrar. This letter is usually entered into by the seller of a leasehold property where their share in the management company is to be transferred to the incoming buyer on completion and the original share certificate is lost or missing.   

Licence  

Formal authority to do something that would otherwise be unlawful or in breach of the covenants affecting the title. An example of this would be the landlord’s licence for alterations where such works are prohibited under the terms of the lease. 

Licence to Assign 

Formal authority (which can be in the form of a document signed by all parties to the sale or can simply be written consent) from the landlord of a leasehold property granting their consent to the assignment of the lease. Where a licence to assign is required, this will be stated within the alienation provisions in the lease.  

Licensed Conveyancer 

A specialist property lawyer qualified in all aspects of property law in England and Wales.  

Limited Title Guarantee    

The contract of sale refers to the property being sold with a guarantee from the seller. Section 1 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1994 defines how title guarantee is established. Limited title guarantee is given when the seller isable to satisfy only two of the Three covenants under this Act. Firstly, that the seller has the right to sell the property, and secondly, that the seller will, at their own cost, do everything reasonably possible to ensure that the buyer has a good title. This guarantee is normally given where the seller is a personal representative, attorney or a trustee holding the property on trust for others. 

Listed Building 

A listed building is a building, object or structure that has been judged to be of national importance in terms of architectural or historic interest and included on a special register, called the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Where a property is a listed building planning permission and building regulations consent will be required for any works carried out to the property such as planning permission required for replacement windows which would ordinarily fall within the scope of permitted development.  

Local Authority  

An administrative body in local government covering a specific local area such as a city or county Council.  

Local Authority Discount Charge 

A discount of the value of the property given by the local authority to a person in local authority rental accommodation who wishes to own their own home. The discount is secured by way of a registered charge on the title and the amount repayable decreases for each complete year of ownership over a period of five years. 

Local Search 

A local search is carried out by the local authority and will reveal various information in respect of planning permission and building regulations, roads and public rights of way any other matters including any nearby road schemes, traffic schemes and contaminated land concerns. There is also a second part to the search which deals with enquiries in respect of commons registrations. Any adverse entries can then be investigated and reported to the buyer and their mortgage lender (if any). 

Long Stop Completion Date 

A date entered into the contract at which point either buyer or seller can service notice to complete. Where contracts are exchanged on a conditional basis it is prudent for a long stop completion date to be inserted into the contract to prevent this from continuing indefinitely.  

Maintenance Charge 

See service charge. 

Management Company 

A company who carries out the maintenance and insurance of the communal areas of a building or an estate and collects payment from the individual property owners in respect of the same.  

Managing Agents 

A company appointed to act on behalf of the landlord or management company to carry out their obligations under the terms of the lease. 

Manorial Land 

Manorial land is the land that was originally part of the landholdings of the Lordship of the Manor and has not been transferred separately from the lordship title. Manorial land can be extensive, or it can be a collection of scattered small pieces of land, which may cover a large area.  

Manorial Rights  

A Lord of the Manor may exercise certain rights known as ‘manorial incidents’. The main manorial rights are sporting rights and rights to mines or minerals and these are often registered against a title by way of a unilateral notice which are not capable of being removed without consent of the Lordship of the Manor. Since 1925 no new manorial rights can be created. 

Marriage Certificate 

A copy of the record of a legal marriage.  

Matrimonial Home Rights Notice 

The rights of a spouse or civil partner who is not a co-owner of the matrimonial home to live in the home. A spouse or civil partner who is in occupation of the home has a right not to be evicted from it and one who is not in occupation has a right to enter and occupy the home. The rights of the spouse of civil partner are protected by registration of a notice against the title.  

Memorandum of Sale 

The memorandum issued by the estate agents detailing the buyer, seller, solicitor/conveyancer details, purchase price and any miscellaneous provisions such as, 28-day exchange.  

Merging of Titles 

Where two titles to the same parcel of land are owned by the same person (such as leasehold and freehold titles in a house) it is possible for the titles to be merged at Land Registry and included in one title number. Care must be taken to ensure that no rights or covenants required for the enjoyment of the property are lost during the process and that the consent of any mortgage lender is obtained.  

Misrepresentation 

An untrue factual statement made by one party and relied upon by the other, which induces the other party to enter into the contract and as a result, suffer loss. 

Moiety  

Each of two parts into which a thing, such as a drive way, is or can be divided. 

Money Laundering 

The concealment of the origins of illegally obtained money, typically by means of transfers involving foreign banks or legitimate businesses. 

Money Laundering Compliance Officer 

Larger and more complex businesses must appoint a member of the board or senior management to act as a Compliance Officer who will be responsible for your money laundering compliance obligations. You should make yourself familiar with your Compliance Officer and report any suspicious activity to them for further investigation.  

Mortgage 

See Legal Charge. 

Mortgage Advance 

The sum of money being loaned by the mortgage lender under the terms of the mortgage.  

Mortgage Deed 

The deed which is entered into between the property owner and mortgage lender which legally creates the mortgage. 

Mortgage Lender 

A financial institution which agrees to lend the buyer (or existing registered proprietor on a remortgage) a sum of money to enable them to purchase a property or piece of land or transfer an existing mortgage in a remortgage. 

Name Declaration 

A declaration signed by a person stating their correct legal name. This declaration would be used where the legal owner of a property is John Smith whereas their identification documents state the name John James Smith. 

No Title Guarantee 

The contract of sale refers to the property being sold with a guarantee from the seller. Section 1 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1994 defines how title guarantee is established. Where a seller us unable to give full title guarantee or limited title guarantee due to their lack of knowledge of the property no title guarantee will be given. This is often the case where the property is being sold by mortgagee in possession.  

Notice of Charge   

As with notice of transfer/assignment, where the buyer of a leasehold property is purchasing with a mortgage, the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer will be required to serve notice of charge on the landlord or management company within a set time frame following completion of the sale. This allows the landlord to keep a record of the mortgage lender should they need to contact them in respect of any breach of lease in particular non-payment of rent or service charges during the buyer’s period of ownership. The landlord and/or management company usually charge a fee for receipting the notice. 

Notice of Transfer/Assignment 

The majority of leases include a covenant requiring the incoming buyer to serve notice on the landlord and/or management company within a set time frame following completion of the sale. The purpose of the notice is to ensure that the landlord is aware of the new lessee responsible for observing and performing the covenants under the terms of the lease, in particular, the payment of rent.  The landlord and/or management company usually charge a fee for receipting the notice. 

Notice to Complete 

The notice served upon the defaulting party where completion has not taken place on the completion date or where completion on notice has been agreed. This notice sets a final completion date and states that should completion not occur by this date the injured party will be entitled to all remedies including rescission (see rescind) of the contract. 

Occupier 

A person or company residing in or using a property as its owner or tenant (with the consent of the owner) or (illegally) as a squatter. 

Official Search of Whole (With Priority) (OS1) 

A search carried out at Land Registry by the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer prior to exchange of contracts which reveals any changes made to the title since the date of the official copies. This search gives priority to the applicant’s interest for 6 weeks. This means that no other entries can be made during this timeframe which would affect the buyer’s application for registration. 

Official Search of Part (With Priority) (OS2) 

A search carried out at Land Registry buy the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer prior to exchange of contracts which reveals any changes made to the title since the date of the official copies. With this search, only part of the registered title is searched against and is often used when dealing with new build properties. A plan must accompany the search (or an adequate description of the land being searched) identifying the land or plot being purchase. This search gives priority to the applicant’s interest for 6 weeks. This means that no other entries can be made during this timeframe which would affect the buyer’s application for registration. 

Option Agreement 

A typical option agreement is a contract in which the buyer is able to, within a fixed period, serve notice on the owner requiring a transfer of the land. This is a useful tool for developers wishing to acquire several pieces of land from different owners in order to develop a larger site. This agreement is often protected by registration of a unilateral notice.  

Overreaching 

The process whereby an interest in land, on the sale of that land, is converted into an interest in the capital money arising from the sale and any protective entry removed from the title by Land Registry without further formality. For example, a sole proprietorship restriction when overreached on completion of the sale becomes an interest in the proceeds from that sale and any subsequent financial incumbrances on the title on completion of a sale by mortgagee in possession.  

Overriding Interests 

Overriding interests are one of a number of interests in land which bind an owner of that land, however they differ substantially from other categories in that they are binding on a legal owner whether they are entered on the title or not. Examples of such interests are short leases, local land charges, legal easements, public rights and manorial rights. 

Particulars of Sale 

The particulars of sale are issued by the estate agent and describe the physical extent of the property being sold as well as its tenure (freehold or leasehold). The particulars will also refer to any incumbrances affecting the property.  

Permitted Development 

Development of land or property which falls within the scope of development allowed by the local authority without requiring planning permission.  

Planning Permission 

Permission given by the Planning Department of the local authority authorising development. This can often be granted subject to conditions being complied with.  

Positive Covenant 

A covenant imposing a positive obligation on the landowner for example, to repair fences.  

Possessory Title 

Possessory title refers to the ownership of land to someone who does not hold the deeds to document their ownership, either because those documents do not exist due to them being lost or destroyed or as a result of an application for adverse possession.  

Post Completion 

After legal completion of the sale has taken place.  

Power of Attorney 

A document where one person authorises another to act on their behalf in dealing with their affairs. This may be necessary where someone is infirm or unable to sign an important document. There are different types of powers given to attorneys and in conveyancing transactions the power must specifically be in respect of dealings of property and affairs. 

Property Information Form 

This form, completed by the seller, is a single set of questions relating to the property and covers many points including works being carried out, boundary disputes and insurance etc. The purpose of the protocol forms is to negate the need for endless standard enquiries being raised by the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer and to reduce transaction timescales by providing the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer with as much information as possible at the outset. 

Protocol Forms 

These are the forms used in residential conveyancing and have replaced the older client questionnaires to form an integral part of the Law Society’s Protocol. These forms include the property information form, fittings and contents form, leasehold information form, new home information form and the completion information and undertakings form. The purpose of the protocol forms is to negate the need for endless standard enquiries being raised by the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer and to reduce transaction timescales by providing the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer with as much information as possible at the outset. 

Quarter Days 

Each of four days fixed by custom as marking off the quarters of the year, on which some tenancies begin and end and quarterly payments of rent and other charges fall due. The usual quarter days are: 25 March – Lady Day, 24 June – Midsummer Day, 29 September – Michaelmas, 25 December – Christmas. 

Quiet Enjoyment 

A covenant for quiet enjoyment is given to the lessee by the lessor to confirm that the lessee can physically enjoy the complete benefit of the property without the lessor adversely disturbing that enjoyment. This covenant is subject to the lessee complying with their own covenants under the lease.  

Remortgage 

To take out another or a different kind of mortgage on a property. This can be to either repay the existing mortgage or additional borrowing.  

Rescind 

To set aside a contract which has become void by one parties default. Such as rescission by a seller, following service of notice to complete, where the buyer fails to complete the contract on the final completion date.  

Redemption Figure 

The figure given by a mortgage lender confirming the amount required to repay the mortgage or charge in full on a set date. The figure will also include, detail of any early repayment charge, daily interest and the bank details of where the funds are to be transferred.  

Reduced Deposit 

A deposit of less than 10% being paid by the buyer on exchange of contracts. The seller’s instructions should be sought where the deposit being offered is less than 10%. 

Registered Charge 

See Legal Charge. 

Registered Land 

Registered land is land which has been registered at the Land Registry. The land will have been allocated its own title number and awarded its own class of title following inspection of the title by the Land Registrar.  

Registration 

The application to Land Registry for the applicant’s interest in the land to be noted on the title. Such an application is made by the buyer’s solicitor/conveyancer post completion of the sale to register the buyer as legal owner but can also include the registration of third party interests such as restrictions or charges. 

Regulatory Body 

A public authority or government agency (such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority or Council for Licensed Conveyancers) responsible for exercising autonomous authority over some area of human activity in a regulatory or supervisory capacity. 

Rent Review    

A provision contained in most leases whereby the amount of the ground rent payable is reconsidered at stated intervals, for example every three or five years. This provision often calculates the lease in accordance with the Retail Price Index and care must be taken to avoid substantial increases during the term. 

Requisition 

An official query raised by the Land Registry following an application for registration. 

Resident’s Association 

Residents’ associations are organisations formed by a group of property owners from a specific housing area who come together to address issues within this area and act as a voice for the community. This is often formed where a housing estate has areas of communal areas or in a block of flats where the lessee’s will arrange the maintenance and insurance of the block. 

Reserve Fund 

See sinking fund. 

Reserved Rights 

Rights reserved for the benefit of a person other than the property owner. For example, a transfer deed may include a reserved right in favour of the owner of the retained land to enter onto the property for the purpose of maintaining and repairing the retained land. 

Restriction 

A restriction is an entry on the official copies regulating the disposition of a registered estate or charge. A restriction can be used to protect various interests such as payment of a service charge or rent charge, the requirement for the buyer to enter into a deed of covenant with a third party, payment of a debt to a creditor or the disposal of the property by one person where there are two registered proprietors. 

Restrictive Covenant 

An obligation created by deed which reduces the rights of the land owner such as, not to use the land for trade or business purposes. 

Retail Price Index 

A UK index of the variation in the prices of retail goods and other items such as property. This index is used when calculating the premium payable for an extension to the term of a lease or to review the ground rent payable at the Rent Review date. 

Retained Land 

The land out of which the property has been transferred which remained within the ownership of the original seller. 

Retention   

A sum of money held by either the buyer’s or seller’s solicitor/conveyancer on completion of the sale to cover the cost of a specific item of expenditure. An example of this would be where a management company’s annual service charge accounts have not been finalised at the date of completion and a sum of money is held to cover any deficit on the account which relates to the seller’s period of ownership. 

Retirement Property   

A property designated for occupation by persons over a certain age. The lease often contains an alienation provision prohibiting the disposal of the property without the landlord’s prior consent. During this process the landlord will verify the incoming buyer before granting their consent. Within these types of disposals, a transfer fee and/or contingency fee are often payable by the seller to the landlord and/or management company.  

Rider 

An additional provision agreed by the buyer and seller during the course of the transaction and attached to the already approved contract to form part of the Special Conditions of Sale.  

Right to Manage (RTM)   

A group right for leaseholders of flats to manage the building they live in without proving that the existing management company is at fault. A number of conditions must be met for this right to be exercisable and once in place, the RTM takes over from the management company the management and maintenance of the building and any communal areas.    

Right of First Refusal/Right to Buy

Where a property is sold under a local authority discount scheme the local authority will retain a right of first refusal for a period of 10 years from when they sold the property. The right is protected by registration of a restriction in the local authority’s favour and provides for the owner to offer the property back to the local authority for market value before agreeing a sale on the open market. This is only applicable if they wish to sell the property within the 10-year period. 

Right of Pre-Emption 

A right for a party to secure their purchase of the property before it is offered on the open market. This is often the case in shared ownership matters where the housing association retain the right to purchase the property for market value before it is placed on the open market. This right is often within the supplemental title documentation such as a lease or transfer deed. 

Right of Way 

The right to pass over another’s land. This right may exist as a public right exercisable by anyone, as an easement for the benefit of a particular piece of land or as a licence, purely personal to the person to whom it is granted.  

Root of Title 

A good root of title is a document (conveyance, transfer or lease) which shows ownership of the whole legal estate. It must contain an adequate, identifiable description of the property and must be at least 15 years old from the date of the contract. Where no such document is available a mortgage will suffice and these documents are preferable to a deed of gift or assent where it is unlikely that any prior title investigation was carried out. 

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) 

SDLT is a tax paid to the Government on the purchase of a property or land. This is calculated based on the purchase price, however in some circumstances buyers can be exempt from paying SDLT or can be subject to a higher rate of tax. 

Section 104 Agreement  

A Section 104 Agreement (under the Water Industry Act 1991) is an agreement between a developer and sewerage undertaker for the adoption (see adopted) of sewers serving a development. There are strict regulations in place for obtaining an agreement. This agreement will also contain a bond which is a sum of money set aside by the developer for use by the Water Authority to bring the sewers serving the development up to an adoptable standard where the developer fails to comply with their obligations under the terms of the agreement.  

Section 106 Agreement  

Planning obligations under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), are a mechanism which make a development proposal acceptable in planning terms, that would not otherwise be acceptable. Conditions within a Section 106 Agreement often contain a provision for the developer to give back to the community. Such as, a provision for affordable housing or the creation of a children’s play area.  

Section 20 Notice 

The notice served on the leaseholder, by the landlord, of their intention to carry out works under Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 see Section 20 Works). The process under which notice is served includes various consultation periods for the leaseholder to become involved in the decision making in respect of the contractor used and the overall costs involved.  

Section 20 Works 

Works carried out by the landlord which would result in each leaseholder contributing over £250. Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is intended to protect leaseholders from paying unnecessarily large sums for work carried out to their building and the landlord has a strict process that they must follow. 

Section 38 Agreement 

A Section 38 Agreement is a legal agreement entered into by the developer and the local authority to ensure that work carried out on the highway by the developer reaches an adoptable standard. This agreement will also contain a bond which is a sum of money set aside by the developer for use by the local authority to bring the highways on the development up to an adoptable standard where the developer fails to comply with their obligations under the terms of the agreement. 

Shared Equity  

A form of affordable housing where the developer of the property will contribute a percentage of the property value. This is a means of the buyer being able to obtain a reduced mortgage. The sum leant by the developer is secured against the property by way of legal charge which is repayable upon the seller’s disposal of the property. 

Shared Ownership 

A form of affordable housing where the owner only holds a percentage of the property. The Housing Association will retain the remaining percentage and lease the property to the owner on the basis that a rent is paid for their retained percentage. This is a means of the buyer being able to own their home without having a large deposit or requiring a large mortgage. Under these scheme the property owner can purchase additional percentages from the Housing Association by way of staircasing up to the full 100%.   

Sinking Fund 

A sum of money held by the landlord/management company which is set aside for unforeseen major or emergency works. For example, roof repairs.   

Solar Panel Lease 

The airspace above the property is leased to the solar panel provider by the property owner. This lease is registered against the property title and the property is sold subject to this lease.  

Solar Panel 

A panel designed to absorb the sun’s rays as a source of energy for generating electricity or heating.  

Special Conditions of Sale 

Conditions of the sale contract which are not incorporated within the Standard Conditions of Sale. The special conditions agreed between the parties take precedent over the Standard Conditions of Sale.  

Staircasing 

The purchase of an additional percentage of a shared ownership property from the Housing Association.  

Stakeholder (Deposit) 

Where a deposit is held by the seller’s solicitor/conveyancer as stakeholder the solicitor/conveyancer is acting as custodian of the deposit for both parties. This means that the deposit cannot be released to the seller until completion of the sale. Where the contract is rescinded as a result of the seller’s default the deposit is to be returned to the buyer with interest. Where the contract is rescinded as a result of the buyer’s default the deposit will be released to the seller.  

Standard Conditions of Sale 

Over time solicitor/conveyancers have adopted their own standardised contract conditions. These conditions are periodically updated by the Law Society and the current edition is the 5th edition of the Standard Conditions of Sale. These conditions cover a variety of areas such as time limits, proof of title and remedies for breach. 

Statutory Declaration 

A sworn declaration given by one person as to their actions since a particular date and is often supported by a plan. This declaration could be given by a land owner declaring their use of an access way in order to obtain a right of way. The person giving the declaration should sign the same in the presence of a solicitor, licensed conveyancer or commissioner for oaths.  

Stock Transfer Form 

The form which transfers the seller’s share in the management company to the buyer on completion of the sale. This form is to be submitted to the management company along with the original share certificate on completion of the sale in order for a new share certificate to be issued to the new owner. 

Sub-Let 

A leasehold property being leased to a tenant. This is usually done by way of an assured shorthold tenancy. 

Subsidence  

The gradual caving in or sinking of an area of land. This is often shown by structural cracking at the property and the presence or risk of subsidence can be concerning and should be investigated and referred to the buyers or mortgage lenders. 

Successors in Title 

A person or company that succeeds another in ownership of the property or land. 

Survey 

Three types of survey are widely available being the basic valuation, the home buyer’s valuation and survey report and the full structural survey. The age of the property, any conditions within the mortgage offer and any concerns the buyer may have should be considered before the buyer decides which survey would best suit their needs. Any adverse entries can then be investigated and reported to the buyer and their mortgage lender (if any). 

Tenant  

A tenant is the person who will occupy the property under a tenancy agreement such as a lease or an assured shorthold tenancy. 

Tenant for Life 

A person with an estate in property that ends at death when ownership of the property may revert to the original owner, or it may pass to another person.  

Tenants in Common  

A tenancy in common is created where each property owner holds separate (and often unequal) shares in the property. This form of co-ownership does not include the right of survivorship (as with joint tenants) and an owner’s share in the property can be left under their will or intestacy on their death. This form of co-ownership is often used where one party has children from a previous relationship or where two business parties are purchasing a property as an investment. 

Tenure 

Tenure is the conditions under which land or buildings is held or occupied. A term of years’ absolute is known as freehold tenure and a term of years’ absolute is known as leasehold. Commonhold is a form of freehold ownership of land. 

Term 

The time period for which the lease or tenancy has been granted. 

Tin Search 

If the property is located in Devon or Cornwall, this additional search should be carried out to ascertain the presence or absence of disused mines which could cause subsidence. Any potential subsidence risk can then be investigated and reported to the buyer and their mortgage lender (if any). 

Title 

A person’s right of ownership of property. 

Title Absolute  

Ownership of registered land with a guarantee by the state that no one has a better right to the land.  

Title Deeds 

The documents that prove a person’s ownership of the land and the terms under which it is owned. 

Title Guarantee 

The guarantee given by the seller of the property depending on their knowledge of the property. See full title guarantee and limited title guarantee for further information. 

Title Number 

The individual number given by Land Registry when title to the property is registered. 

Title Plan 

The plan created by Land Registry showing the placement of the property.  This plan forms part of the legal title. 

Transferee 

The person to whom the property is being transferred. 

Transferor 

The person transferring the property. 

Transfer Deed 

The deed which transfers ownership of registered land.  

Transfer Fee 

When dealing with the sale of a leasehold property is it not unusual for the lease to contain a provision for the seller to pay a transfer fee to the landlord on completion. This is usually a percentage of the sale price or the price paid at the time of the seller’s acquisition.  

Tree Preservation Order (TPO) 

A tree preservation order is made by a Local Planning Authority (usually a local authority) to protect specific trees or a particular area, group or woodland from deliberate damage and destruction. Under the terms of the order it is usual for authority to be obtained for lopping, felling, or pruning prior to these works being carried out.  

Unadopted (Road or Sewer) 

Privately maintained roads and sewers or those that are not yet taken over for maintenance by the Local or Water Authority.  

Underlease 

A lease granted by a person who is themselves a lessee of the same property. 

Undertaking 

A promise, given in legal proceedings which creates an obligation. For example, a seller’s solicitor could undertake to the buyer’s solicitor to pay outstanding service charge arrears on completion of the sale. A solicitor/conveyancer who fails to comply with their undertaking will be in breach of disciplinary rules.  

Unilateral Notice 

A unilateral notice is found in the charges register of the title to property. This option is used to register many interests which a third party may have in a particular property or estate, and notify the other party of its existence. Such as, manorial rights registered in favour of the Lord of the Manor.  

Unregistered Land 

Unregistered land is land which is not yet registered at the Land Registry. In these circumstances the ownership is proven by inspection of the original title deeds. 

Upgrade of Title 

It is possible for the classes of title to be upgraded by application on form UT1 to the Land Registry. Possessory title and good leasehold title can be upgraded to title absolute if the Land Registry are satisfied with the evidence given in support of the application. 

Vacant Possession 

The exclusive use of the land to which a buyer is entitled on completion of the sale unless he has contracted to buy subject to another’s rights such as an existing tenancy agreement or purchase of chattels. 

Valuation 

A professional estimation of the worth of a product, land or property. 

Value Added Tax (VAT) 

A tax on the amount by which the value of an article has been increased at each stage of its production or distribution. 

Wet Signature 

A wet signature is created when a person physically marks a document. 

Witness 

A person who sees an event. In conveyancing terms an individual’s signature to a deed must be placed in the presence of a witness. A witness must be over the age of 18 and cannot be related to the signatory or transaction in any way.