Landlord Law


This glossary is Appendix A to the Code and gives definitions of key terms used in the Code. Click the title to read the definition and click again to close up.

A | C | G-I | L | M | P-R | S | T-Y


A company or individual employed to let or manage residential property
on behalf of a landlord.
Alternative dispute resolution methods
This can include mediation, conciliation and arbitration.
Assured shorthold tenancy
As defined by Chapter II of the Housing Act 1988 (as amended).
Average consumer
A consumer who is reasonably well informed and reasonably observant and circumspect, taking into account social, cultural and linguistic
factors. It is someone who takes reasonable care of their own interests.

This definition can change depending on the target of a particular business or of a marketing campaign. The average consumer will then relate to a member of that target group. A full definition can be found in regulation 2 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

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A person or organisation who has instructed you or your organisation to act on its behalf.
Client’s money
Money held on behalf of client landlords and deposits or money held for and on behalf of tenants or potential tenants.
Clients’ money protection scheme
A compensation scheme to protect client’s money.
Common parts
Any part of a building containing the property and any land or premises which the tenant is entitled under the terms of the tenancy to use in common with the owners or occupiers of other dwellings.
Company let
When a company rather than an individual takes on a tenancy or a tenancy agreement as the ‘tenant’. An employee of the company then occupies the premises as a licensee of the tenant.
Conflict of interest
Where an agent acts for clients who have competing interests or where an agent’s personal interests conflict, or could potentially conflict, with those of the client or tenant.
Anyone who is acting outside their trade, business or profession. This can include clients, potential clients, landlords, potential landlords, tenants, potential tenants and others identified within regulation 2 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

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G – I

Green Deal
A Government initiative to encourage the take-up of energy efficiency measures in existing properties by a loan repaid through the energy bill
for a property.
House in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
A property such as a shared house, bedsits or a hostel, where three or more unrelated individuals share any of the basic amenities (kitchen, bathroom or WC).

It includes a block of converted flats not complying with the 1992 or later Building Regulations if more than one-third of flats are rented out. Larger HMOs are subject to mandatory licensing and others may be designated for additional HMO licensing.

In writing or written
Typed or handwritten text, email, fax or in Braille.

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A tenant of a long leasehold property.
Letting agent
A company or individual employed to let or manage residential property.
A right to keep possession of property belonging to another person
until a debt owed by that person is discharged.

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Material Information
The information that the average consumer needs according to the context to take an informed transactional decision (as defined in section 6(3) of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008).
Misleading omissions
Omissions which cause the average consumer to make a different transactional decision.
Required by law

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P – R

Prescribed information
This includes:
• the name of the deposit protection scheme
• the address of the property
• the amount of the deposit
• a leaflet explaining the scheme
• the scheme’s procedures for payment and repayment
• dispute procedures; and
• dispute resolution facilities available.
Private Rented Sector
Definition from the English housing survey 2011–12 administered by DCLG

‘Households are typically grouped into three broad categories known as
tenures: owner occupiers, social renters and private renters. The tenure
defines the conditions under which the home is occupied, whether it is
owned or rented, and if rented, who the landlord is and on what financial
and legal terms the let is agreed.

Owner occupiers:

Households in accommodation which they either own outright, are buying with a mortgage or are buying as part of a shared ownership scheme.

Social renters:

This category includes households renting from Local Authorities (including Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) and Housing Action Trusts) and Housing Associations, Local Housing Companies, co-operatives and charitable trusts.

A significant number of Housing Association tenants wrongly report that they are Local Authority tenants. The most common reason for this is that their home used to be owned by the Local Authority, and although ownership was transferred to a Housing Association, the tenant still reports that their landlord is the Local Authority. There are also some Local Authority tenants who wrongly report that they are Housing Association tenants. Data from the EHS for 2008-09 onwards incorporate a correction for the great majority of such cases in order to provide a reasonably accurate split of the social rented category.

Private renters:

This sector covers all other tenants including all whose accommodation is tied to their job. It also includes people living rent-free (for example, people living in a flat belonging to a relative).

In places, the report differentiates between market and non-market renters:

Market renters:

Households with assured or assured shorthold private tenancies. Under the 1988 Housing Act, all tenancies starting after the 14th January 1989 are Assured (including Assured Shorthold) unless they fall into one of the excluded categories, for example business lettings or lettings by resident landlords. Before March 1997, tenants had to be given a notice in writing to say that a tenancy was an Assured Shorthold.

From March 1997, the rules changed and all new tenancies were Assured Shortholds unless the agreement specifically stated that they were not. Assured Shorthold lettings are for a fixed period of six months or more. The landlord can regain possession of the property six months after the beginning of the tenancy provided that two months notice is given. In the case of an assured letting the tenant has the right to remain in the property unless the landlord can prove grounds for repossession. The landlord does not have an automatic right to repossess the property when the tenancy comes to an end.

Non-market renters:

Households with all other types of private rental tenancies including those with rent-free tenancies and tied accommodation (that is tied to employment).’

Crown copyright material is reproduced under the Open Government Licence v2.0 for public sector information:

Residential Property
Property used as living accommodation.
Responsible person
Person with the responsibility for the letting or management of a residential
property. This could be the landlord, managing agent or letting agent.

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Recommended best practice
(Definition from Tenancy deposit scheme for lettings agents and corporate landlords membership rules, TDS, 2012)

‘Any person or body who holds the Deposit at any time from the moment it has been paid by the Tenant until its allocation has been agreed by the parties to the AST, determined by the ADR process, or ordered by the court.’

Superior landlord
An entity that owns the interest in the premises, which gives that entity the right to possession of the premises at the end of the landlord’s lease. Sometimes called a head lessor or freeholder.
Instruction of a separate or related firm to provide agency services to the landlord on behalf of the principle agent.

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T – Y

A leaseholder on a short lease (usually assured shorthold or assured tenancy).
Tenant-like manner
In Warren v Keen 1953, Lord Justice Denning said the tenant is under an obligation:

‘to use premises in a tenant-like manner […] the tenant must take proper care of the place. He must, if he is going away for the winter, turn off the water and empty the boiler. He must clean the chimneys, when necessary, and also the windows. He must mend the electric light when it fuses. He must unstop the sink when it is blocked by his waste. In short, he must do the little jobs about the place which a reasonable tenant would do.

In addition, he must, of course, not damage the house, wilfully or negligently; and he must see that his family and guests do not damage it; and if they do, he must repair it. But apart from such things, if the house falls into disrepair through fair wear and tear or lapse of time, or for any reason not caused by him, then the tenant is not liable to repair it.’

Crown copyright material is reproduced under the Open Government Licence v2.0 for public sector information:

Transactional decision
A decision by a consumer relating to a potential or actual transaction and the decision points relating to this. Examples include decisions to accept an offer, view a property or commission a survey (defined in regulation 2 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008).
The responsible person

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