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Usually defined on a plan prepared by the Land Registry which don’t always match the physical boundaries such as walls, fences and hedges on the ground.

Building Regulation Approval

Council approval needed by homeowners who wish to extend their property, put up a new structure or install heating, hot water, new windows or similar services in a building.

Buy to Let

Buying a property specifically to rent out.

Certified Copy

A copy of an original document certified by a solicitor, often more convenient to use instead of originals during the conveyancing process.


The line of buyers and sellers involved in property transactions which are linked to each other.

Cleared Funds

A balance in a bank account that is able to be withdrawn or used.


When the title to the property is transferred from one person to another.


The agreement to buy and sell a property, of which there are two copies - one copy is signed by the buyer and one by the seller.


An umbrella term encompassing all the legal work done during the buying and selling process.

Covenants/Restrictive Covenants

Rules written into the title deeds as to how the property may be used or obligations placed on the property owner.

Declaration of Trust

A document which sets out the respective shares of the property owned by more than one person.


An amount of money paid on the exchange of contracts – this is when a sale becomes legally binding. The amount of money will depend on various aspects of the sale, but is usually 10% of the purchase price. If a buyer pulls out of a sale at this point, any deposit paid is likely to be non-refundable.


Fees which are payable during the conveyancing process, an example being for searches or registration.


Rights that one person has over another person's land. A common easement is right of way – the right to walk over land or use a pathway through a piece of land.

Energy Performance Certificate

A certificate that demonstrates the energy efficiency of a home. This includes information on insulation, double glazing, boiler efficiency and central heating, and is a required document for the seller to produce.

Environmental Search

A search commonly undertaken during the conveyancing process which identifies potential risks from contaminated land, flooding, landfill sites etc.

Exchange of Contracts

The point at which the sale becomes legally binding. Before contracts are exchanged, all the relevant checks and searches must have been carried out, and a mortgage must have been secured (if appropriate).

Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form

A form which sets out any items included in a sale (curtains, carpets, etc.).


If a property is freehold, the owner owns the property itself, as well as the land it is built on.

Ground Rent

An annual fee payable to a Landlord on a leasehold property.

Home Buyers Report

A report carried out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) that shows the condition of the house.

Indemnity Insurance

Insurance sometimes obtained during the conveyancing process to protect a buyer against a defect in the title.

Joint Tenancy

When a property is jointly owned by two or more people in such a way that if either party were to die, the property automatically passes to the survivor.

Land Registry Fee

The fee paid to register a purchased property with the Land Registry.

Land Registry Search

A search that determines ownership of a property and includes a title plan, title register and details of whether the property is subject to any financial charge or third party interests.


A property owned for a specific amount of time. Most flats are leasehold. Leases of 999 years are very common.

Local Authority Search

A search detailing aspects of the property and local area including conservation areas, nearby highway schemes, tree preservation orders and listed status.

Mining Search

A search to determine whether a property is built on land previously used for coal mining.


A loan taken out by buyers to purchase a property.

Mortgage Redemption

The process of paying off a mortgage.

Negative Equity

When a property is worth less than the mortgage taken out on it.

Planning Permission

Permission needed from the local authority to build a new structure or make significant changes to an existing building.

Property Information Form

A questionnaire to be completed by the seller which provides essential information about the property.

Stamp Duty

A tax payable to the Inland Revenue based on the purchase price of the property.

Structural Survey

A comprehensive survey carried out by structural engineers. All aspects of a building's structure will be surveyed, including the foundations, walls and roof.


Movement in the foundations of a building. Subsidence should be highlighted by the above survey, it can be very serious, requiring a home to be underpinned at a high cost.

Tenants in Common

Where a property is owned by two or more people who are not joint tenants. The property does not automatically pass to the survivor on death.

Tin Search

Required on properties built in tin mining areas, usually in Cornwall.

Title Deeds

Title deeds are documents including mortgages, conveyances and leases that prove the ownership of property or land - usually stored electronically by the Land Registry.

Transfer of Equity

The transfer of one owner’s share of a property to another person, often subject to an existing mortgage.


A professional estimate of how much a property is worth.