Lettings Glossary for Agents, Landlords & Tenants

Our useful renting and lettings glossary to help you understand your tenancy 🏠

At flatfair, we want to help our tenants and landlords understand more about some of the common words that can often leave people in a state of confusion. Here is our lettings glossary which is sure to help you understand your tenancy better!

Administration Fee:

These were fees charged to tenants by landlords and lettings agents that included renewal fees, credit check and referencing fees. Agents or landlords are no longer allowed to charge these due to the Tenant Fee Ban introduced in June 2019.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST):

A written contract between a landlord and a tenant where the rent amount and the minimum term is agreed on.

Buy to let:

Buying a property with the intention to use it as an investment by renting it out and making a return.

Break clause:

A clause in a contract between a landlord and a tenant that allows a tenant to terminate or break the contract if certain conditions are met.

Check-in/out report:

A report on the state of the property that is drawn up at the beginning of a tenancy and at the end of a tenancy. This allows the agent to compare the condition before and after. Tenants will be charged for damage that has occurred since the check-in report.

Credit check:

This check allows an agent to see if a tenant has been able to pay bills in the past and would be able to pay for their lease agreement.

Deposit alternative:

These are used instead of paying a traditional 5-week deposit. Instead, landlords or agents allow a tenant to pay an upfront cost.


These are the costs for a tenant at the end of their lease, that come from any damages that may need to be repaired to the property.

Deposit Protection Service (DPS):

A government-backed tenancy deposit scheme that acts as a custodial to protect tenants deposits.

Duty of care:

In accordance with UK law, it is the obligation of a landlord that they are responsible for the upkeep of a property


The act of having a tenant removed from a property by a landlord. Once the tenant has received notice, they are obligated to leave the property after a certain period.


In a furnished letting one would expect a bed and wardrobe in each room, kitchen appliances, a couch or chairs in the lounge, a table and chair in the dining room and soft furnishings.

Fully managed:

This means that an agent would be the point of contact in the instance that a tenant needs to report anything with the property they are leasing. In fully managed properties an agent acts on behalf of the landlord.

Fixed-term tenancy agreement:

A written agreement between a landlord and tenant that includes a fixed start and end date.

Gas safety regulations:

This regulation stipulates that it is a landlord’s obligation to fit, service and repair gas appliances within their property.

Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO):

A license that enables multiple tenants to live in a property. This varies in different areas.


An in-depth report of the physical assets that are included in a leased property.

Inventory clerk:

The individual who writes up an inventory report of a property. They write a detailed report of the condition of the inventory in the property.

Joint tenants:

When multiple tenants have signed the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) to let a property from a landlord.


When a tenant leases a property, they have an agreement with a landlord where they are obligated to pay them an amount to stay on their property.


A lessee rents a property from a lessor. The Lessee would be the tenant.


A lessor allows a lessor to rent their property from them. The Lessor would be a landlord.


The owner of a property that allows other people (tenants) to rent that property from them in exchange for money.

Maintenance costs:

The costs that are incurred to upkeep the property. These would include property repairs, refurbishment and cleaning.

Managing agent:

The lettings agent that would manage a property for a landlord. They would be the point of contact for a tenant if they had any issues.


A tenant would make an offer to an agent or landlord if you liked the property and wanted to live in it. The offer would be the amount that you would be willing to pay. The landlord doesn’t always accept an offer.


A property would only have some of the items that would be offered in the furnished property. Eg. Only beds in the bedrooms but no dining and living room furniture.

Private landlords:

They do not use an agent to let out their owner property, they rent out their property directly to the tenant themselves.

Professional cleaning:

Often at the end of a tenancy you have to pay a professional cleaning company to clean the property. This will usually be stipulated in your AST, and you may be required to have a professional cleaning of the house or carpets for your end of the tenancy. You would have to have it done to a professional standard to avoid being charged.


The agreed amount that is paid to a landlord or an agent (on behalf of the landlord) in exchange for living in a landlord’s property.

Security deposit:

A landlord is allowed to ask for a security deposit of up to 5- weeks worth of rent, in the case that the tenant causes any damages, doesn’t pay rent or doesn’t clean the property when they move out.


An individual or individuals who rent a property from a landlord in exchange for money.

TPO (Property Ombudsman):

The TPO is a free service available to landlords and tenants that aims to protect them from unfair practices demonstrated by their agent.

Utility bills:

These costs would include water, electricity and gas for a property. Either these would be agreed to be included or not included in the rental price.


A property that is unfurnished wouldn’t have any furniture included. A tenant would be expected to bring in their own furniture.

Wear and tear:

This would be the damages of a property due to the ongoing use of it by those living within the property. Eg. A couch may become scruffy over a couple of years, a carpet may fade in colour etc.

We want landlords and tenants to stay ahead, so we strongly encourage you to use our lettings glossary to be on top of your rental game!