Legal jargon buster

Sometimes the terminology used in the property buying and selling process can be confusing.  That's why we have produced a helpful 'jargon buster' to explain what the terms used mean in plain English. 

  • Conveyance

    This has now been renamed as a 'transfer' which is a document transferring land from the seller to the buyer.

  • Conveyancing

    This is the legal process of selling and buying land and property in England and Wales.

  • Covenant

    Refers to a promise contained within a Conveyance, Transfer or Deed.

  • Deed

    A legal document which is signed and witnessed and usually contains an agreement between two or more parties to do something relating to land or property (e.g. to allow someone access over another's land).

  • Estate

    This has two main meanings (i) all property and assets owned by a deceased person or (ii) when relating to land, it refers to the land they own - either leasehold or freehold.

  • Execute

    It simply means 'to sign a document'.

  • Freehold

    Outright ownership of land and any buildings on that land without anyone with a superior interest in the land such as a landlord.

  • Joint Tenant

    Is where more than one person owns the particular parcel of land.  If one of them dies then the deceased's share passes automatically to the survivor(s) (and 'joint tenancy' means that you hold as a joint tenant).

  • Land Registry

    Is a British Governmental organisation created in 1862.  The Land Registry is responsible for publicly recording interests in registered land in England and Wales.

  • Lease

    A contract between a landlord and a tenant most commonly signed by tenants when a property or land is rented out.

  • Leasehold

    The alternative to freehold mentioned above.  This is where a property reverts back to the owner (i.e. the landlord) when the lease expires so essentially, you rent it for a period of time.  If you own a leasehold property, you may have to pay a small amount in 'ground rent' every year.

  • Lease Term

    The duration of the Lease that the landlord has granted.

  • Legal Charge or Mortgage

    They are the same and it is the legal security that a lender takes over a property when lending money.  It gives them rights to ultimately sell the property if the money is not repaid.

  • Power of Attorney

    A Power of Attorney is the written authority given by someone to allow another person to act on their behalf in their absence, illness, infirmity or simply if they are not wishing to be personally involved.

  • Probate

    Written legal authority given by the State (via the Probate Registry) to Executors named in the deceased's Will.

  • Register

    This usually refers to the process of producing your Deeds or your Transfer/Conveyance to the Land Registry who record property ownership.

  • Standard Conditions

    These are the fine print contained within contracts for the sale of land.  They are designed to streamline the timetable for a transaction.

  • Subject to Contract

    This means that the terms are provisionally agreed but without legal effect until a contract is actually signed and 'exchanged'.  Until that point, either party can pull out of the deal, and neither will face liability for doing so.

  • Title Deeds or Property Deeds

    In the case of land not yet registered at the Land Registry, they will comprise a whole series of Conveyances recording the names of the owners of a piece of land.  In the case of Registered Land 'Title Deeds' are now a misnomer, as on first registration, all the old unregistered Conveyances would have been replaced with a computer summery (called an Official Copy) the original record of which is then held simply as electronic data centrally on the Land Registry computers.

  • Title Number

    A bit like a licence plate number on a car.  If you have registered land, the extent of the land will be edged in red on a plan and the parcel given a unique number which is all that is needed to look up at the Land Registry to track who owns it.

  • Tenancy

    Temporary possession of land or property owned by another called a Landlord.

  • Tenant

    A person occupying property or land under tenancy or Lease.

  • Tenants in Common

    Opposite of Joint Tenants.  If more that one person has an interest in land and one of them dies, the ownership would not pass to the surviving party but would pass under their Will into their Estate.  Commonly adopted by unmarried couples.

  • Trust

    A Trust is where Property is held by a trusted person (i.e. a Trustee) for the benefit of possibly them and others (i.e. the Beneficiaries).  Usually created for tax reasons or as a way of protecting the property for a spendthrift or unreliable relative/beneficiary.

  • Vendor

    A Seller

  • Will

    A Will is a legal document which sets out a person's wishes on what happens to their property when they die.

Meet the team

Mark Daniels
Partner & Head of Residential Property Poole
Residential Property
Poole
01202 339007
0779 381 6844
Residential Property
Tim Higham
Partner & Head of Residential Property Group
Residential Property
Salisbury
01722 426985
07917 756 132
Residential Property
Katie Bickerstaff
Associate
Residential Property
Poole
01202 339037
Residential Property
Holly Dennis
Associate
Residential Property
Salisbury
01722 426974
Residential Property
Halina Tomlinson
Senior Associate & Head of Residential Property Team Southampton
Residential Property
Southampton
023 8082 0481
07500 935696
Residential Property
Michele White
Associate
Residential Property
Southampton
023 8082 0450
Residential Property
Mariana Crawford
Solicitor
Residential Property
Salisbury
01722 426916
Residential Property
Julie Culverhouse
Solicitor
Residential Property
Southampton
02380 820476
Residential Property
Peter Hawker
Solicitor
Residential Property
Poole
01202 339042
Residential Property
Laura Russell
Solicitor
Residential Property
Southampton
023 8082 0528
Residential Property
Lyn James
Conveyancing Executive
Residential Property
Poole
01202 339029
Residential Property
Jon Laidler
Senior Conveyancing Executive
Residential Property
Salisbury
023 8082 0481
07881 343969
Residential Property
Natasha Neal
Conveyancing Executive
Residential Property
Salisbury
01722 426939
Residential Property
Jack Newton
Conveyancing Assistant
Residential Property
Salisbury
01722 426978
Residential Property
Catherine Duthie
Conveyancing Executive
Residential Property
Southampton
023 8082 0459
Residential Property
Lydia Bendle
Legal Secretary
Residential Property
Southampton
02380 820 509
Residential Property
Hannah Forrest
Legal Secretary
Residential Property
Salisbury
01722 426926
Residential Property
Nichola Gurd
Legal Secretary
Residential Property
Southampton
023 8082 0540
Residential Property
Katie Healey
Legal Secretary
Residential Property
Southampton
023 8082 0497
Residential Property
Jennifer Merrington
Legal Secretary
Residential Property
Poole
01202 339043
Residential Property
Sarah Miller
Legal Secretary
Residential Property
Southampton
023 8082 0471
Residential Property
Harriet Newell
Legal Secretary
Residential Property
Salisbury
01722 426968
Residential Property
Rebecca Ormsby
Legal Secretary
Residential Property
Salisbury
01722 426919
Residential Property
Louise Robbins
Legal Secretary
Residential Property
Poole
01202 339047
Residential Property
Sonia Silman
Legal Secretary
Residential Property
Poole
01202 339018
Residential Property
Carole Stevens
Legal Secretary
Residential Property
Poole
01202 339 026
Residential Property
Anna Taylor
Legal Secretary
Residential Property
Poole
01202 338550
Residential Property
Jane Usher
Legal Secretary
Residential Property
Salisbury
01722 426944
Residential Property

First person - Property

Tim Higham