Glossary – A

A1 Shops – Use Class: Shops, retail warehouses, post offices, dry cleaners, showrooms, funeral directors, sandwich bars, the sale or display of goods other than heated food, pet shops, ticket agencies, travel agents and internet cafes.

A2 Financial and Professional Services – Use Class: Banks and building societies, betting offices, professional financial services ( which exclude medical/health services) and employment agencies.

A3 Restaurants and Cafes – Use Class: Restaurants, cafes, wine bars, pubs and snack bars which sell food and drink for consumption on the premises.

A4 Drinking Establishments – Use Class: public houses, wine bars or other drinking establishments where the primary purpose is the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages (excluding night clubs).

A5 Hot Food Takeaways – Use Class: Primary purpose of selling hot food for consumption off the premises.

Abandonment – The surrender of a legal right, particularly that of an interest in (tenancy) of land and property. Tenants sometimes leave their accommodation empty for long periods or vacate early before the end of the term certain. Landlords cannot automatically assume that their tenants have abandoned their tenancy rights.

Absolute Compliance – Requires a party to agree by legal contract to fully comply with the requirements on the specified contract. The absolute compliance of a break clause means certain conditions are the prerequisite of successfully satisfying the break clause.

Accelerated Possession – A procedure where landlords can regain possession of properties let on Assured Shorthold Tenancies, providing all necessary procedures have been complied with, such as serving a valid section 21 notice, purely on the basis of documentation and a written submission to the court. There is usually no need for a formal county court hearing.

Accommodation Agency – Provides details of properties to let, usually looking to prospective tenants for a fee. Governed by the Accommodation Agencies Act 1953.

Adjudication – A general statutory procedure for settling building disputes quickly, usually within 28 days. A decision made by an adjudicator is binding, although the decision can be changed through a court of law or arbitration.

Adverse Possession – more commonly know as “Squatter’s Rights” Squatters who occupy land and property for a period of at least 12 years without the owner’s consent may acquire legal title. In any event, squatters have certain legal rights.

Agent – One who acts on behalf of another and can form legally binging agreements on the principal’s behalf: Estate Agent, Letting Agent, Managing Agent, Commercial Property Agent, Insurance Agent – property sales, lettings, management and insurance.

Alienation – The transfer of an interest in real estate to another, such as the sale of a freehold or the grant or assignment of a lease. Commonly applied to lands or property, as to alien (that is, to convey) land in fee, in mortmain.

Alterations – When a tenant modifies, relocate, cuts, divides or alters the demise (conveyance or transfer of property or a title by will or lease), which can include the building, electrical and mechanical services, partitions or even finishes.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) – There are various methods by which legal conflicts and disputes can be resolved through negotiation, conciliation, mediation and many types of arbitration. ADR is less formal than a court process and can include the appointment of a third-party to preside over a hearing between the parties.

Amortisation – The gradual reduction of a debt or liability, especially by means of the payment of a mortgage loan (equal periodic payments) over a period of time. In total these payments are sufficient to extinguish the capital debt and the interest payments on the loan.

Antecedent Valuation Date (AVD) – The date set by Parliament on which all valuations are based. For council tax 1 April 1991 sets the time at which capital values of domestic property must be looked at when assessing the council tax band. For rating, 1 April 2008 is the date at which rental levels must be looked at when assessing the rateable value of a property on the 2010 rating list.

Apportionment – The division of a liability or benefit in proportion to the interests of the parties. Tenants in a multi occupancy property may be charged rates or service charges in proportion to the floor area occupied, for example Apportionment Acts 1834, 1870.

Arbitration – A means of resolving disputes using an independent arbitrator as opposed to a court of law – RICS provide such a service. Often used for lease contract disputes, rent reviews etc. The Small Claims procedure in the County Courts is an arbitration service.

Asset Valuation – A method of assessing the worth of a company, real property, security or other item of worth. Asset valuation is commonly performed prior to the sale of an asset or prior to purchasing insurance for an asset.

Assignment – Transfer of an interest in property. Usually when a tenant (assignor) transfers a lease, with the landlord’s consent, not to be unreasonably withheld, to another tenant (assignee) before the original term expires – mainly commercial property.

Assured Tenancy – Most residential tenancies now come into this category. The landlord can charge a market rent and can regain possession of the property under certain grounds or conditions – as laid down in the Housing Act 1988 and the Housing Act 1996.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy – A form of assured tenancy which gives landlords an absolute right to repossession after a fixed term under the “shorthold” ground. New residential tenancies now automatically become ASTs unless otherwise stated.

APR – Annual Percentage Rate- An overall figure of loan interest which allows comparison of actual interest paid between different types of loan.

Auction – An auction is a sale which takes place, usually in public, when a property is sold to the highest bidder, ensuring the bid is higher than the reserve price. Sellers will pay a listing fee or percentage of the final price to the auctioneer.

Authorised Guarantee Agreement (AGA) – When a lease is assigned to a third party the outgoing tenant or their guarantor may be asked to guarantee the incoming tenant’s liabilities under an authorised guarantee agreement (AGA).