Glossary of terms for landlords

ARLA - Association of Residential Letting Agents

ARLA Propertymark is the UK’s foremost professional and regulatory body for letting agents. Members operate to professional standards far higher than the law demands. By using an ARLA Propertymark Protected agent, consumers have the peace of mind that their agent will provide a professional service and their money is safeguarded by Propertymark’s Client Money Protection scheme.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)

This is the most common type of tenancy agreement and provides the tenant with certain protections under The Housing Act 1988. The tenancy is for a period of six months or more and the tenant is an individual, or group of individuals, rather than a company.

Annual rent review

We review all rents for managed properties on an annual basis and we contact tenants two months before the anniversary to advise them of the new rent. The rental cost is increased, as per the terms of our tenancy agreement, in line with the RPI with a minimum of 3% and a maximum of 8% per annum. Before proposing a rental increase to tenants, we will of course advise you of our intention. .

Break clause

A break clause gives the tenant or landlord the right to terminate a tenancy agreement before the date the agreement is officially due to end, in writing and under specific circumstances. This is often requested by large corporate organisations in order to minimise their risk.

Check-in and check-out

We undertake the check-in with tenants at the start of the tenancy for both managed and let-only properties when required. As well as finalising the contract and handing over the keys, we will arrange maintenance checks, meter readings and inventories. However, we only undertake the check-out for managed properties. This involves making sure that the property is left in good condition, fair wear and tear expected, so that the tenant’s deposit can be returned. If required, we can recommend an inventory clerk to undertake this task for let-only landlords.

Company tenancy

This form of tenancy agreement is used where a limited company is the tenant. There is no additional statutory protection; both landlord and tenant are bound by the terms of the written agreement.

Carbon monoxide monitors

Even though the installation of carbon monoxide monitors is not mandatory, we strongly recommend that a monitor is installed in any room where there is an open fire or gas appliance such as a boiler or hob.

Credit check - see ‘references’

TThis is the procedure by which a credit check is made on the credit history of an applicant, usually conducted by one of the large dedicated credit check agencies. The check will reveal history of credit card repayments, outstanding debts, arrears and County Court Judgements. We use an independent company called Keysafe Tenant Referencing, who are renowned for being very thorough.


Where possible, we use contractors that have been working with us for many years and who we trust. Generally, contractors will collect keys from our office and return them to us on the same day. We achieve extremely favourable rates, which we pass directly onto our landlords and we do not add on a handling charge.


We use an electronic form of signature for tenancy agreements and associated paperwork, which is recognised in a Court of Law. This allows greater flexibility when we arrange to meet tenants at a property as the paperwork has been signed in advance of the check-in.

Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

Regulations that require all electrical installation and appliances within the property are maintained in good order and regularly checked for safety by a registered engineer.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An EPC measures the energy efficiency of a property using a scale of A-G. It is a legal requirement and the landlord's responsibility to have a valid EPC for your property when it is marketed with a minimum rating of E required. An EPC lasts for ten years for a rental property.

Extension of tenancy - see ‘renewals’

A legal agreement that extends the term of a rental agreement.

Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and (Amendment) 1993

Regulations that require all domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery in a property to be certified as compliant.

Gas Safety Regulations 1998

This refers to any gas appliances in a rented property to be inspected by a gas engineer, who is certified by the Gas Safe Register, prior to tenants moving into a property and annually thereafter.

(See ‘Carbon monoxide monitors’ also.)

Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO)

A building of three floors or more which is to be occupied by three or more people and where these people live as more than one household and share facilities such as bathrooms, toilets or cooking facilities.

Please refer to


An inventory is a list which describes the condition and contents of a property. It is produced prior to the commencement of the tenancy and is referred to at the end of the tenancy to identify any damage and dilapidations which the tenant may be responsible for. It is for this reason that we strongly recommend that a professional inventory is undertaken prior to the start of the first let. This will help to support any claims against the deposit which the tenant may dispute and will be used by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) as evidence in any dispute.


Contents insurance:

This is a policy which covers the contents of a property including electrical goods, carpets, furniture and curtains, as well as Indemnity Cover for landlords. We recommend that landlords have this in place even for unfurnished properties. Tenants are responsible for arranging their own contents insurance.

Buildings insurance:

Landlords must also have this in place. In most cases the management company (if the property is in a block of flats) has this in hand.

Joint and several

A joint and several tenancy means that all tenants are liable for the rent so that if one leaves or does not pay the rent, the other tenants are liable for the full amount.


We will require one set of keys in order to start marketing your property. For properties that we manage, we will require a minimum of two further sets prior to the tenants moving in. For let-only properties we will issue two sets of keys to the tenants. For properties that we do not manage, we do not hold keys in the office.


We would kindly ask that all bulbs are working at the start of the tenancy. If they are not, and we have to instruct an electrician, an additional charge will be made.

Maintenance charge/management charge - see ‘service charge’ also

This refers to the cost of repairing and maintaining external or internal communal parts of a building, charged to the landlord. Also known as a service charge.

Our maintenance department

For managed properties, landlords will have a dedicated property manager to assist with any maintenance issues. They will liaise with our maintenance department which aims to resolve issues as quickly as possible and with the least possible inconvenience to tenants and landlords.

Our office is open from 9am - 5.30pm Monday to Fridayfrom 10am - 4pm on Saturday and from 12.00pm – 4.00pm on Sunday. You can also email at any time.

Non-resident landlord scheme

If you live abroad for six months or more per year, you're classed as a 'non-resident landlord' by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) - even if you're a UK resident for tax purposes.

You can either receive your rent in full and pay tax through self-assessment or with 20% tax already deducted by your letting agent or tenant. If you prefer to pay tax on your rental income through self-assessment, fill in form NRL1i and send it back to HMRC. If your application is approved, HMRC will tell us not to deduct tax from your rent and you will then need to declare your income in your self-assessment tax return. HMRC will not approve your application if your taxes aren't up to date, e.g. if you are late with your tax returns or payments.

If we deduct basic rate tax from your rent (after allowing for any expenses we've paid) we will give you a certificate at the end of the tax year saying how much tax we've deducted.

(See ‘Overseas landlord’ also.)


A sum of money that the tenant offers to pay to rent a property.

‘On the Market’

This is the name of a website where we advertise all our properties.

Portable Appliance Test (PAT)

This is a test carried out by a registered engineer to ensure that all electrical installations and appliances within a property are safe, in conjunction with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.


Please ensure that if you have lived in the property that you set up a redirection service as tenants have no responsibility to forward your mail.

Quarterly routine visits

If we manage your property, we carry out regular visits to the property and a summary report will be emailed to you each time. The first visit will take place within a few weeks of the tenant moving in. Subsequent visits will be carried out quarterly.

Renewals of tenancy

We will contact tenants two and a half months prior to the end of the Fixed Term Agreement to see if they wish to remain in the property or leave.

Right to Rent Act

From 1 February 2016 all landlords of private rental accommodation in England must carry out Right to Rent checks for new tenancy agreements to determine whether occupiers aged 18 and over have the right to live in the UK legally.


This is the name of a website where we advertise all of our properties.


We use an independent company called Keysafe Tenant Vetting to verify tenant's references. This includes sourcing a reference from the tenant’s previous landlord (where applicable), Right to Rent, employer reference and credit check..

Service charge

See ‘Maintenance charge’.

Statutory periodic tenancy

When the fixed term of an Assured or Assured Shorthold Tenancy comes to an end but the tenant stays, a periodic tenancy automatically follows if no additional contract is signed. The tenancy will continue on the same basis as the original agreement.

The Property Ombudsman (TPO)

TPO is a government approved scheme to provide independent redress in relation to disputes between consumers and property agents. Sarah Kenny Residential Lettings is a member of this scheme.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

Sarah Kenny Residential Lettings registers all managed deposits with this Government-approved scheme and some let only deposits where required by the landlord. We take a five-week deposit which is calculated by taking the monthly rental x 12 / 52 x 6.5

Utilities and transfer

We will advise the following utility providers of tenancy start dates and details:

  • Gas (if applicable)
  • Electricity
  • Bristol Water
  • Council tax

Please note that you will still be liable for any standing charges while the property is vacant.

Void period

This refers to the period of time when a property is empty/unoccupied by a tenant. We recommend that you allow for an average period of two weeks per annum.

Welcome pack

We provide tenants with a welcome pack upon check-in which includes relevant information about the property that you provide to us for tenants.

eXtra clauses

On the special conditions page of the tenancy agreement, we will add any additional clauses that you have advised us of. This might be in relation to the property’s outdoor space such as a garden, balcony or parking etc.


YShould you decide to expand your property portfolio, we are always on hand to offer professional advice to ensure that you receive the best possible return on your investment.


With your property in the capable hands of Sarah Kenny Residential Lettings, you can sleep well and leave all the work to us!