top of page

Glossary | Conveyancing Terms


A brief explanation of legal and conveyancing terms used.


Abstract or Epitome of Title

A summary, extract or list of historic title deeds proving the ownership of a Property


Adopted Highway

A road (and sometimes paths and verges) maintained by the local authority at public expense



The original amount of the loan from a Bank, Building Society or private lender



The name given to a special transfer document used by the representatives of a deceased owner to transfer Property


Assured Shorthold Tenancy

Tenancy agreement for a length of time.  It permits the landlord to re-claim possession of the Property at the end of the agreed tenancy. Called an Occupation Contract in Wales



A person appointed to act on behalf of another person and sign documents on their behalf. AKA Power of Attorney

Base Rate

The rate of interest set by the Bank of England upon which most other interest rates are based


Brine Search

A search to find out if a Property might be affected by ancient brine (salt) workings near the purchase Property


Building Regulation Consent

Approval by the local authority (council) regarding the method of construction and materials used in building work, alterations or a building project


A sum of money paid by the Lender on completion of a mortgage (where this formed part of the lender’s mortgage offer)


Caveat Emptor / Buyer Beware

This always applies when you purchase Property and means that the Property you are buying is “as is” or subject to all defects. It is vital that you carry out a full inspection and survey of the Property to ensure that you are aware of any issues or defects.  If there are any defects from completion, then you will take the Property subject to these. 



A position in which Seller 1 sells to Buyer 1 and Buyer 1 sells to Buyer 2 and so on creating a chain of connected transactions


Chancel Repair

Chancel Repair Liability is a liability on a homeowner to contribute towards the upkeep and maintenance of a church or chapel near the Property.  To protect the buyer and lender indemnity insurance is normally put in place. 


Commons Registration Search

A search to ensure the Property is not registered as common land or part of a village green.  If it is, then other people may have rights over the land.



Completion of the transaction when the Seller receives the money, and the Buyer receives the keys.



The written legal agreement prepared in duplicate with one copy signed by the Seller and the other by the Buyer. The contract sets out the legal rights and obligations agreed between the parties.



A historic document or deed used to transfer ownership of an unregistered Property from the Seller to the Buyer



The legal process used to buy and sell land and Property



Legal promises or obligations to do a thing.  In other words, they must be adhered to.


Deed of Covenant

A document or deed containing an agreement to pay or do something


Deed of Gift

A document or deed used to transfer ownership of Property from one party to another.  No payment is made. There is no consideration as this is done out of love and affection


Deed of Guarantee

A document used where one person agrees to be responsible for someone else's debt or mortgage obligations if that person fails to carry out his/her own obligations under the mortgage

Deed of Postponement or Priority

Where a Lender agrees that its mortgage will rank or take effect in priority after another lender's mortgage



Documents which establish ownership and confirm the Owner's title to the Property



An agreed amount to be paid on exchange of contracts by the Buyer to the Seller as security for the performance of the Contract by the Buyer. 10% of the price is the standard figure


Payments made on the client’s behalf, but which are the client’s responsibility


A legal right to cross or otherwise use someone else's land for a specific purpose. Usually written into deeds

Environmental Search

A search to see whether there is any indication that the Property may be affected by contamination, subsidence, flooding etc



When talking of Property and mortgages this normally means the difference between the value of a property and the amount owed on the mortgage(s)


Exchange of Contracts

The formal exchange of the two identical copies of the Contract when the Seller and Buyer become legally bound to complete the transaction on an agreed date


Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form

A standard form in which the Seller lists items in or attached to the Property which are included in the sale at a stated price


Flying Freehold

Where a part of one Property is built on top of part of another Property (and the upper Property owner does not own the whole building or land underneath the "flying" part) and the legal structure of the block is not leasehold.  This will be a flying freehold. They can prove to be a problem where a dispute occurs.   Mortgage lenders do NOT like them


Permanent and absolute title with the freedom to dispose of the property as you wish



The person who owns the freehold


Full Title Guarantee

The standard guarantee, given by a seller who owns with absolute title (the best form of ownership), to the Buyer


Further Advance

An additional amount loaned to an Owner (the borrower) after completion, on roughly the same terms as the original mortgage


Ground Rent

This is the rent paid by a lessee to a lessor where a Property is leasehold. It is often paid yearly. A peppercorn rent is common and this is a nominal sum like a pound

High Loan to Value Fee

This is charged where you borrow more than a certain % (normally 75% or higher) of the value of a Property.  It is used to insure the lender against loss if the Property is sold by the lender after mortgage default

Index Map Search

A search at the Land Registry to see if a Property is registered or unregistered land

Land Charges Search

A search against a person's name at the Land Registry to see if that person has been the subject of any bankruptcy proceedings and (if the Property is unregistered) to see if there are any mortgages or other adverse / onerous interests registered against the Property


Land Registry

A government organisation who maintains the register of properties in England & Wales. recording their legal owners, prices paid and lenders. 


Land Registry Fee

The fee payable to the Land Registry to register any change in the Property details including a change of ownership / lender

Land Registry Search

A search at the Land Registry to check that nothing new has been registered since the date the registers were last inspected


Landlord / Lessor

Often, but not always the Freeholder, but always the person entitled to receive the ground rent from the Lessee or Tenant (leasehold owner)


A document setting out the rights and obligations of the Landlord and Tenant (Lessor and Lessee) in the leasehold arrangement.  This is the contract of rights and terms.



Where the ownership of Property is for a limited time only. For example, 99 years or 999 years.  Involves payment of an annual ground rent & service charge.  Leasehold reverts to freehold owner at the end of the term.


Legal Charge

This is the same as a Mortgage. The terms are used interchangeably.


A Bank, Building Society or other person or company who lends money to a property owner. A charge is registered on the title to provide security.



The present owner of the leasehold Property.  As opposed to the freeholder, or landlord, whose interest is subject to the lessee's rights under the lease until the lease term expires


Another word for "Landlord". They grant the lease or are the current landlord.



Limited Title Guarantee

A title guarantee given by a Seller who has limited knowledge of the Property and cannot give a full title guarantee. Used where someone is selling on behalf of a deceased owner and has no personal knowledge

Local Search

A search of local authority registers (records) to obtain information specific to the Property including details on planning permission(s) and whether the adjoining roadway is maintainable at public expense. Also reveals repayable council grants & government compulsory purchase orders.


Mining Search

A search to check whether the Property may be affected by past or present coal or tin mining and at risk of subsidence. 


Mortgage Deed

A document used when a Lender lends money to a Buyer or existing Owner. It is registered against the Property at the Land Registry and ensures repayment

Mortgage Offer

This sets out the terms upon which the Lender is prepared to make the loan including interest rate and repayment period.


Mortgage Term

The length of time agreed before the repayment of the loan is required


The Lender (a person or Company) who benefits from the Mortgage security (e.g. lending Bank or Building Society)



The Property Owner (i.e. the Borrower) who enters into a mortgage deed in favour of the Lender. 


Occupier's Consent

The person who lives at the Property, but is not an owner, and will not be signing the mortgage deed is the occupier. The occupier will be asked to consent to the mortgage and to agree to move out if the lender takes possession because of default by the owner.


Party Wall

A wall owned jointly with a neighbour and repairable at joint (and normally equal) expense.


Planning Permission

Approval by the planning authority (council) to the construction (or extension / alteration) of a property or a change of its use. 


Power of Attorney

A document which appoints a person to act as attorney for another person

Private Road

A road which is not an adopted highway and not maintained at public expense.  Property owners need to have documented rights to use the same.


Property Information Form

A questionnaire completed by a Seller to give information about the Property to the Buyer.  It covers information like who maintains boundaries and whether there have been any disputes. 


Radon Gas Search

A search to see if the Property lies in an area affected by a naturally occurring gas called radon. Radon is believed to be carcinogenic at high levels. If Radon is above safety levels it requires preventative measures.  It can build up in cellars and areas with poor ventilation.



The repayment of an existing mortgage or loan. Redemption statements are usually required. 


Redemption Penalty

A penalty payment charged by a Lender if a loan is repaid within a period set in the mortgage offer (some loan products only)


Registered Land

Property which has been registered at Land Registry



Paying off one mortgage loan and taking out a new mortgage product


Some freehold properties pay a small rent.  This is used to maintain common areas or estate parks.  It is sometimes created by developers for profit, but it can also be used as a legal device to ensure estate covenants (conditions) are enforceable.


Reservation Fee

An initial payment to a builder or Developer (or its agent) to reserve a newly built Property


Restrictive Covenants

These are conditions or promises that restrict you from doing something on the land.  You must not breach these.  If you think the seller has breached these then speak to your conveyancer


Service Charge

A payment required by a landlord (their agent) or management company to cover the costs of insuring and/or maintaining the development, block or building housing the apartment.


Stamp Duty Land Tax / Land Transaction Tax

A government tax payable on completion of a purchase.  (England / Wales).



Where a property moves and is damaged due to poor construction or ground movement.



In most instances this is the same as "Lessee" (See above). 


Tin Search

A search to see if the Property could be affected by past or present tin mining. Frequents required in Cornwall.



An owner's actual right of ownership (whether or not the owner is in occupation).



A dealing with Property (e.g. sale or purchase or remortgage). 


Transfer Deed (TR1 / TP1)

A document which transfers ownership of a property from one person to another (as opposed to a Contract which may include an obligation to affect a transfer at a later date).


Transfer of Equity

A document transferring ownership of a share or interest in a property from one person to another.


Tree Preservation Order

An order made by the planning authority ordering a tree or group of trees as protected and requiring council permission to cut branches. You cannot take these trees down without consent.


Unregistered Title 

A Property which has not been registered at Land Registry.  The title will be proved by historic conveyances (deeds) and other documents.


Vacant Possession

Sellers must give vacant possession on completion and leave the Property, garden and outhouses, empty of people, possessions and rubbish



A very simple form of survey designed to establish what the Property is worth and nothing more.



An older word for Seller.

Wayleave Agreement

A written agreement entered into with an owner to give a service provider (e.g. Electricity or Telephone company) a right for their cables to pass under or over the Property.




NB: This glossary is basic and subject to exceptions.


It is a guide and not intended to be a guaranteed definition of terms you encounter in your legal documentation. 


If you are not sure of the meaning or effect, then you should ask your conveyancer for further advice. 











bottom of page