Conveyancing jargon untangled

Absolute title: The highest class of ownership that the Land Registry can give to land

Abstract of title: A summary of the title deeds and documents which prove title to unregistered land.

Additional rent: A sum payable under a lease (eg service charges), which is to be treated as rent, giving the landlord the same remedies as if it were rent.

"Alienation clause: Provision in a lease, which restricts the tenant’s rights to assign or sublet."

Adverse possession: Occupation of land without the owner’s permission. In certain circumstances the occupier may gain title to the land.

Agreement for sale: The contract that sets out the agreement of the sale.

Alienation clause:The contract that sets out the agreement of the sale.

Apportionment: Adjusting the purchase price of land to take account of all outgoings affecting it.

Assign: To transfer a right in property over to another.

Attestation clause: The part of a document containing the signatures of the parties.

Beneficial owner: The person entitled to enjoy the benefit of the property.

Benefit: The right to enforce compliance with a covenant.

Bridleway: Piece of land where the public have a right of way, but not by vehicle.

"Caveat emptor: ‘Let the buyer beware’, emphasising that it is the seller’s responsibility to discover problems with the property"

Building lease: Long lease under which the tenant is obliged to carry out building work on the demised property (i.e. parts of the premises where leaseholder or tenant is permitted to occupy).

Building regulation approval or consent: Confirmation that the plans for proposed building work show that it will comply with the Building Regulations.

Burden: The obligation to comply with a covenant.

Caveat emptor: “Let the buyer beware”, emphasising that it is the seller’s responsibility to discover problems with the property.

Charge: An interest in land or a chattel by way of legal mortgage, securing the payment of a debt.

Chattels: Items of property other than land, eg furniture.

Common land: Land over which the inhabitants of a locality can exercise rights.

Common parts: Parts of a development used in common by all the occupiers.

Conveyance: Document used to transfer property from one party to another.

Corporeal hereditament: Physical property

Counterpart lease: A lease is generally drawn up in two parts (i.e. the lease signed by the landlord and the counterpart signed by the tenant).

Covenant: An obligation entered in to by a land owner.

Deed: A document executed in accordance with various formal requirements

Defective title insurance: Insurance taken out to protect a buyer and/or lender against the consequences of a specified defect in title.

"Easement: the right over a piece of land for the benefit of another, such as a right of way"

Disbursements: Payments made by a solicitor on behalf of the client

Dominant tenement: The piece of land that benefits from an easement.

Easement: The right over a piece of land for the benefit of another, e.g. a right of way

Enfranchisement: In leases, this is the process of tenants acquiring the freehold to their land.

Epitome of title: A chronological list of all documents that prove title to unregistered land.

Fixtures: Items affixed to the land which become part of it e.g. a bath or toilet.

Forfeiture: A landlord’s right to terminate a lease early due to a tenant’s failure to comply with their obligations.

Good leasehold title: Guarantees the ownership of the lease, although it does not guarantee that the landlord had the right to grant that lease.

Head lease: A lease granted directly by a freeholder

HMRC: Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs - the government department responsible for the administration and collection of taxes.

Incorporeal hereditament: An intangible right over land.

Incumbrance: An adverse right affecting a property.

Lease: Used interchangeably to mean either a leasehold interest in land or the document creating that interest.

"Party wall: a wall or fence owned jointly by adjoining land owners over which both have rights and responsibilities"

Managing agent: Someone appointed to oversee the day-to-day running of a property.

Official copies: Copies of the registry entries relating to a property.

Party wall: A wall or fence owned jointly by adjoining land owners over which both have rights and responsibilities.

Possessory title: Title granted when the owner has lost title deeds or has acquired the property through adverse possession.

Public highway: A road over which the public have rights to pass on foot and with vehicles.

Rent charge: A sum of money payable by the owner of freehold land.

Reversion: The interest which the lessor pays after the grant of a lease.

Stamp duty land tax: Tax payable to the government on the purchase of a property or the transfer of a lease.

"Stamp duty land tax: tax payable to the government on the purchase of a property or the transfer of a lease"

Telegraphic transfer: Term still used to signify the transfer of money from one bank account to another.

Tenant: The person to whom a lease is granted.

Title: The ownership of a piece of property.

Transfer: The document used to pass the ownership of land to another.

Tree preservation order: An order made by the local planning authority preventing the felling or lopping of trees without permission.

Vacant possession: No tenant or other person in occupation.