Renting is a popular option for many; some may be saving to buy their own home, others renting in an area where they work. Renting suits several situations, but it can be confusing if you don’t understand some of the terminology.

Our jargon buster is here to help renters understand any confusing terminology, phrases and acronyms.

ALRA Propertymark

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) is the UK’s most professional body for lettings agents. You will see at the bottom of our website that we are ARLA-registered; this protects and guides tenants and landlords to raise professional standards in the sector.


Late or unpaid rent is known as arrears, and is owed to the landlord.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)

An Assured Shorthold Tenancy, or AST as it is known, is the most common type of rental agreement in the UK, and lasts for a fixed period of at least six months.

Break Clause

A break clause is sometimes included in a fixed term tenancy agreement. Typically it allows for, after a year or more, the landlord or tenant to give written notice after a particular date or period within the tenancy to end the agreement earlier than the original term.

Council Tax

Your local authority charges a tax for the property, which is usually paid by the tenant.

Credit Search/Checks

Checks are carried out by the landlord or lettings agency to confirm that the tenant can afford the rent and will be able to reliably pay it throughout their tenancy. To be in the best position to pass the checks, you can check your credit score for free online and make any necessary changes where needed.


At the beginning of your tenancy you may be required to pay a refundable sum of money to your landlord, taken as security against any possible damage to the property or breach of the tenancy terms and conditions.

Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS)

Legally, your deposit is required to be kept in one of three government-approved protection schemes, which are designed to ensure that you get your money back provided you meet the terms of your tenancy, don’t damage the property, and pay your rent and bills.


Before you rent a property you will need to provide certain documentation, including your passport, birth certificate or driving licence, a recent utility bill, bank statement and confirmation of your job role and salary.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Landlords are legally required to provide an EPC for each rental property setting out how energy efficient a property is.

Fixed Term Tenancy

A tenancy that has a specific start and end date.

Gas Safety Check

A Gas Safety Check must be carried out every year by a Gas Safety engineer and the landlord must provide the tenants with a certificate confirming that all appliances are safe.

House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

Properties with at least three tenants that comprise more than one household and share a bathroom, toilet or kitchen facilities are classed as a HMO.


The inventory will list all of the contents of a rental property and note their condition to form the basis of a dilapidation report at the end of a tenancy.


In addition to credit checks, you may also be required to provide references from previous landlords or employers to your letting agent or new landlord.

Tenancy Agreement

This is the legal paperwork between the tenant and landlord outlining the terms and conditions of the tenancy and signed by both parties. You should always read it thoroughly to understand what you are signing.

If you have decided that renting is right for you and need some help as you find a property, please call our team on 01633 870777 or, if you have a property to rent and need some advice, you can get a free market-led valuation by calling the same number.