There are a lot of different legal terms & jargon used in relation to housing. Here are some of the main ones explained:
Agent: Someone who acts on behalf of the landlord.
Assignment: This is in some ways a bit like sub-letting. It’s basically where a tenant moves out but ‘assigns’ their room to a new person, who pays rent directly to a landlord. The tenant that moved out however isn’t necessarily discharged of all financial liability for the property. NB assignment, like sub-letting, is usually not allowed without the landlord’s prior permission.
Contract: See ‘Tenancy Agreement’ below (they’re the same thing).
Deposit: A refundable sum of money which many (but not all) landlords ask you to pay up front as security against your obligations in the contract; often to cover the costs of damage of other debt that you incur towards the landlord. See ‘Deposits‘ page for more information.
Deposit Protection: The legal requirement for a landlord (or their Agent) to register your deposit with a government-approved Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme. See ‘Deposits‘ page for more information.
CP12: Gas Safety Certificate that you should be provided with (usually a pink slip of paper) which is issued after a gas safety inspection (the landlord is legally required to arrange one of these at least once every 12 months).
Guarantor: Someone who provides surety for a tenant – i.e. agrees to pay the tenant’s rent if the tenant doesn’t. Some landlords ask for a guarantor, some don’t. See ‘Guarantors‘ page for more information.
Individual Tenancy: Where each tenant has their own individual contract with the landlord and seen as an individual tenant in their own right. See ‘Contracts‘ page for more information.
Joint Tenancy: Where several tenants are part of the same tenancy and sort of seen as one ‘big’ tenant rather than several ‘little’ ones. See ‘Contracts‘ page for more information.
Joint and Several Liability: Where a group of tenants are on a joint contract and share liability for the whole rent for the whole property. See ‘Contracts‘ page for more information.
Landlord: The person who owns the property. Regardless of whether or not the landlord uses an Agent, your contract is always between you and the landlord.
Let only: Where a Letting Agent lets a property (i.e. shows people round the property, takes care of the paperwork, etc) on behalf of a separate landlord but then hands everything over to the landlord and has nothing more to do with you – once you’ve moved in you deal with the landlord directly.
Managing Agent: An Agent who manages the property on behalf of a separate landlord. If for example something breaks, you contact the Agent, not the landlord directly, to report it for repair.
Surrender and Re-grant: A legal term referring to where a contract is ‘cancelled out’ and replaced with a new one – this usually occurs where one tenant moves out and is replaced by a new tenant, so a new contract is signed which can be identical to the old one except with the new tenant’s name in the place of the old one’s.
Tenancy Agreement: The contract, usually in the form of a written document which you and your landlord sign, which outlines the terms & conditions of your tenancy.
Unipol: A Leeds-based student housing charity which runs an accreditation scheme (the Unipol Code of Standards) for landlords, owns and manages properties itself, and offers a range of other services to both students and professionals related to student housing (details on their website). Their website is also the place we recommend you start when house hunting, as it lists properties managed by not only Unipol itself but also landlords / Agents who are members of the Unipol Code of Standards. Unipol’s website can be found at www.unipol.org.uk.