Conveyancing glossary

This term is used most often in relation to Leasehold property where rent and service charges will need to be apportioned between the seller and buyer. The act of apportioning the rent/service charge is generally required because the rent/service charge is due for a particular period i.e. six months and the liability for that the period has to be spilt between the seller and the buyer.

This is only applicable if you are planning to have a mortgage on your purchase property when we are required to undertake this search on behalf of your lender.

Building Regulation is a separate matter from planning permission and applies to most building work. The Local Authority is responsible for issuing building regulation approval and completion certificate once the works have been completed. To find out more about Building Regulations click here.  

Many people confuse building insurance with contents insurance. Building Insurance is to insure the fabric of your property (the bricks and mortar themselves!). Many mortgage providers will require sight of your insurance policy prior to completion and will have their own requirements in respect of the type and amount of cover. If the property you are purchasing is leasehold flat, the landlord /managing agent will probably take out the buildings insurance and you will be responsible for a proportionate part of the premium which will be recovered through the service charge.

A search to check whether the property is in an area which is responsible for chancel repairs.

To ascertain whether land adjoining the property has a public interest.

This one is actually as it says on the tin! This is the day everything is completed and you move out/in and handover/collect your keys.

A statement showing the amount of money required to complete a transaction.

Sometimes referred to as an agreement, this is the legally binding document between a seller and a buyer that contains all the terms of the agreement.

A covenant is quite simply a promise to do or not to do something. You are most likely to hear the term covenant used in respect of restrictions contained within the title deeds to a property which affect the way in which a property can be used. For example, the deeds to a property may contain a covenant that the property may only be used as a private dwelling i.e. no trade/business can be carried on from the premises.

The person/agent holding the Title Deeds to your property. If you have a mortgage on your property your deeds may be held by your current lender. As soon as a sale is agreed on your property you should locate your deeds. It may be that even if you lender holds some of deeds; you may have some miscellaneous documents. Any deeds/guarantees/permissions/consents etc which you may hold should also be forwarded to us with your title deeds. If your deeds are held by you lender, we will need your mortgage account number to enable us to request these deeds on your behalf. You will be asked to sign an authority to enable us to obtain the deeds on your behalf.

A payment made to the seller from the buyer on exchange of contracts. The deposit paid is usually 10% of purchase price, although the seller may agree to accept a lower deposit.

Charges payable to third parties.

A search to check that the land upon which property is built has not been contaminated.

The term exchange relates to the physical exchange of contracts between seller and buyer. Once exchange has taken place, the parties to the contract are legally bound to it and normally neither party may withdraw without liability for breach of contract.

This is a standard form sent to seller to complete showing all items that will remain in property when sold. This list once completed is supplied to the buyer. Any changes to completed list must be communicated to the buyer.

Complete ownership of property and the land on which it is built.

Annual fee payable to landlord on leasehold properties.

A government agency responsible for recording who owns what land in England & Wales. Whenever a property is purchased or mortgaged you are required to register the transaction at HMLR. (see Land Registration Fee below).

This is the process of checking the title deeds to ensure that the seller of a property is legally able to pass good title to a buyer.

Where a property is held by more than one person it is owned in one of two ways namely either as joint tenants or as tenants in common .If you choose joint tenancy then on the death of one joint owner the property automatically vests in the survivor. If you choose to hold the property as tenants in common then you will have to decide on the share each of the owners is to have. In cases of tenancy in common when one party dies the property is dealt with as determined in the will of the deceased and does not automatically vest in the survivor.

Whenever a property is purchased or mortgaged you are required to register the transaction at HMLR. (see HMLR above). HMLR charge a fee for dealing with the registration. The fee is calculated according to the value of the property. Please refer to your quote for the fee.

A check prior to completion to ensure that the office copy entries that we possess have not been subsequently amended since we received them i.e. a further loan secured on the property.

Property held under a lease where ground rent is payable. If you own a leasehold property the lease gives you rights of ownership for a stated number of years.

If you are selling a leasehold property you will be asked to complete a Leasehold Information Form. The form will ask questions such as who is responsible for collecting the ground rent/service charge. It may be that we have to make specific enquiries of your landlord/managing agents. In purchases since we are relying on a third party giving us the information these details may take some time to be sent to us .

This is a search of the Local Authorities records. This search is to check for information in relation to planning, whether adjacent roads are adopted, whether the property is in a conservation area etc.

A company appointed to carry out tasks such as collect ground rent on the landlord’s behalf, service charges and in some cases insure, repair and maintain property.

This is issued by the estate agent and provides details of the property being sold, for how much, by whom, who is buying and which firm of solicitors are acting for each party.

To check whether the property is likely to be affected as a result of any past, present, future mining activity.

Purchase- We will charge this fee if you are buying the property with a mortgage as we will have to advise you on the details of the mortgage, obtain search results to satisfy your new Lender, contact the Lender for release of monies in order to complete the transaction and also register relevant documentation at Land Registry for the Lender too.

Sale- We will charge this fee if you have a mortgage on the property you are selling as we will have to contact your Lender to obtain a redemption figure, obtain signed and sealed documentation from them and also register this documentation with the Land Registry.

Document signed by the person(s) taking out a mortgage, agreeing to the mortgage lenders terms & conditions.

These documents are copies of the title deeds obtained via a direct computer link with HMLR (see HMLR above). We can only obtain these for properties that have been registered with HMLR.

The consent given by a Local Authority to a person who wishes to develop land or change its use in some way.

Statement issued by your current lender detailing the total amount owing under your present mortgage.

This is a standard form which is completed by the seller detailing such things as shared boundaries/development and planning etc. This information is passed on to the buyer through the solicitors. The buyer is entitled to rely upon the replies given by the seller.

Service Charges most often relate to Leasehold Properties in which there are common parts of the building to be maintained. A managing agent is appointed to take care of the common parts, organise insurance etc and the managing agents costs and expenses are recovered from the property owners via a service charge.

A property bought from a Housing Association or Local Authority when the purchaser will own a percentage of the property i.e. 50% but Housing Association/Local Authority retains the other 50% ownership. To find out more visit

A tax imposed by the government on property purchases.

Transfer of monies via a bank electronically .Funds are usually transferred in this way on completion. A charge shall be made in respect of each transfer. Please refer to your quote.

These documents show the history of a property & ownership details. (See Deedholder and Investigation of title).

Sometimes referred to as a conveyance this is a document which transfers ownership of a property from one person to another.

Properties that are not registered at HMLR (See HMLR). If your property is unregistered we shall have to obtain your original title deeds (See Title Deeds and Deedholder) before we can draft your sale contract.

Means that a property is unoccupied and not subject to any lease or tenancy.

A search to ascertain that the property has mains water and drainage.

If you wish to speak to one of our specialist conveyancing solicitors, please contact us on freephone 0808 155 4870. We have offices in London, Manchester, Salford & Birmingham and operate nationally.