Jargon buster



Accidental Damage

Damage caused as a direct result of a single unexpected event.

Accidental Damage Excess

Excess specifically relating to accidental damage claims.

Affordable Housing

Low cost housing for sale or rent, often from a housing association, to meet the needs of local people who cannot afford accommodation through the open or low cost market, or subsidised housing.


The individual or group that are interested in renting a property – also known as the potential tenant.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)

This is the most common type of Tenancy Agreement. It also assures the landlord the right to retrieve the property at the end of the term made clear in the agreement.



Single room accommodation which serves as a bedroom and living space in one. Generally sharing a bathroom and/ or kitchen.

The Beaufort scale

Categorises wind speed on a scale of 0 to 12. Insurers sometimes say that only winds above a certain point on this scale represent “storm force” winds that are capable of damaging a building.

Break clause

A break cause allows the landlord or tenant to get out of a Tenancy Agreement before the agreed official end date.

Buildings Insurance

Buildings Insurance protects your property against hazards such as fire, flood and subsidence. Usually mandatory on all properties financed in party a mortgage.

Building Sum Insured

The Building Sum Insured is usually the re-building cost i.e. the amount it would cost to rebuild your home in the event of it being totally destroyed.



The process where you notify your insurance company of an event, such as an accident or theft/attempted theft, where you wish to claim against your insurance policy.


Buying with another person who isn’t your partner, generally in order to be able to afford property you couldn’t otherwise.

Common areas

Common areas are parts of a property that are shared among tenants such as hallways, receptions, kitchens and in some cases bathrooms.


All authorised insurance companies must comply with Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations. This means they are bound by certain rules and principles, which are in place to protect consumers and ensure they are treated fairly.


Household goods such as personal belongings, clothing and other items which belong to you, and are kept within your home.

Contents Insurance

These are an optional policy which provides protection for items in your home, including furniture and personal possessions, in case they’re stolen, lost or damaged.

Contents Sum Insured

The Contents Sum Insured is the total amount of cover required to replace all your belongings, in the event of everything being destroyed.

Credit history

A credit history reveals an extensive record of prospective tenants’ past borrowing habits. This will include information about late payments and bankruptcy, if applicable.



A fixed sum taken by landlords/ letting agents at the start of a tenancy to cover reasonable losses (rent arrears, damages etc.). (See Tenancy Deposit Scheme)


Any damage or harm to a property. The cost to repair such damage is usually taken from the deposit held.


This house is not available to those reliant on state benefits to pay their rent.


EOW (Escape of Water)

When damage arises following escape of water, examples include: pipes freezing, sinks overflowing and leaks from underneath floors.


Is the period covering the reign of King Edward VII, 1901 to 1910.


This is the amount of money you have to pay towards the cost of any claim you make. With home insurance there are varying excesses such as all sections excess, accidental damage excess, escape of water excess or subsidence excess.


FCA (Financial Conduct Authority)

Regulates financial firms providing services to consumers and maintains the integrity of the UK’s financial market – focusing on the regulation of conduct by both retailers and wholesale financial services firms.

Financial Ombudsman Service

Is an independent service in the UK for settling disputes between businesses providing financial services & their customers.

Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

The FSCS is an independent body and they are the UK’s compensation fund of last resort for customers of authorised financial services company, including authorised insurance companies.

The simply means that the FSCS will compensate you if you have a claim that your insurance company can’t pay. The service is free to customers.

FLEA cover

Fire, Lightning, Explosion and Earthquake cover, a very basic form of insurance for unoccupied properties.


Gas Safety Regulations 1998

These regulations monitor various activities relating to the safety of installations and appliances using Natural Gas and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

Gradual deterioration

Also known as ‘wear and tear’ – when an object deteriorates due to the passing of time alone.


HMO (House in Multiple Occupations)

Refers to certain types of accommodation shared by several people.



The person covered by an insurance policy.

Insurance Premium Tax (IPT)

Insurance Premium Tax is a tax on general insurance premiums. There are two rates:

    A standard rate of 12 percent. 

    A higher rate of 20 percent for travel insurance, some insurance for vehicles and domestic/electrical appliances.


A list that describes the contents of the property and the condition before a tenant moves in. This list in referred to at the end of tenancy to ensure the property is in similar condition.


Joint Proposal

Where two adults reside at the same address both names should be noted on the policy. This is referred to by Insurers, as a joint proposal.


Key Facts

A summary of the policy cover from Discount Landlord that does not include the full terms and conditions of the contract, these can be found in the policy wording.


Landlord references

A reference given by the tenant’s previous landlord who gives the new landlord insight into whether or not the tenants will adhere to the terms and conditions set by the landlord.

Lease agreement

The formal, binding and legal document between a landlord and a tenant that reflects the terms and conditions previously agreed upon.


Liability means you’re legally responsible for causing loss to someone either because you’ve injured them, or because you’ve damaged something that belongs to them.

Listed building

A listed building, in the United Kingdom, is a building that has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.


A lodger is someone who rents accommodation in another person’s house.

Loss Adjuster

Someone who investigates the legitimacy of a claim.

Loss Assessor

A person employed by an insurance company to work out if the risk to be undertaken is acceptable. They also calculate the premium to be charged, based on the level of risk involved.


Maintenance charge

The cost of repairing and maintaining shared parts of a building usually paid by the landlord.


National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS)

The National Approved Letting Scheme, NALS, is an accreditation scheme in the United Kingdom for lettings and management agents.

New for Old Cover

Meaning the insurer will replace your old items with new ones in the event of a claim.


Owner Occupier

Is a person who lives in and owns the same home.


Peppercorn rent

A nominal rent that is charged on leasehold properties. It should be noted in the conditions of sale but it is rarely collected.

Period of cover

Period of cover is the duration of your insurance policy. This is the period between the start date and the renewal date.

Premium lease

A premium lease is when the full amount of rent is paid up front.

The Property Ombudsman (TPO)

The TPO is a free, fair and independent mediation service which provides sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants with a guarantee that they will receive the highest level of customer service.


A premium is the money you have to pay in return for insurance cover. Your premium includes Insurance Premium Tax (IPT).

Price Comparison Website

Is an insurance system that captures and displays quotations from many insurance providers in one process – which allows you to compare products and prices at a glance.

PRA (Prudential Regulation Authority)

Responsible for the prudential regulation and supervision of banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and major investment firms. Its role is defined in terms of two statutory objectives; to promote the safety and sound of these firms and, for insurers, to contribute to the securing of an appropriate degree of protection for policyholders.

Public Liability

Public Liability covers legal liability for injury or damage caused to others.

Public Open Space (POS)

Land provided in urban or rural areas for public recreation, though not necessarily publicly owned.

Policy Wording

Contains all the details of your policy.


Is the person who the insurer issues the policy to.



The process of obtaining the price an insurer intends to charge you for the stated period of time based on the information you’ve provided and any other assumptions made.


Rating factors

Rating factors are used by underwriters to work out the price you pay for your insurance. They use claims experience to determine the effect a factor, such as age or gender, will have on the likelihood of you making a claim. 

Rebuilding Costs

The cost of rebuilding your property completely from scratch is not the same as the market value.


A property built between approximately 1800 – 1837.

Renewal date

This is the date your insurance policy expires, which means it’s the end of your period of cover.

Renewal notice

This is to let you know that your policy is due to expire and to give you sufficient notice to renew your policy.


Is a breach of a contract by one party that justifies cancellation by the innocent party. Repudiation is conduct which exhibits the clear intention of the party concerned to no longer be bound to the contract.



This is the amount you are paid for a claim.

Single Article Limit (SAL)

A limit placed on a value under a section of the policy.

Specified Items

Items which are specifically named within your contents sum insured or all risks sections.

Storm damage

Damage to a property caused by violent winds, usually accompanied by rain, hail or snow.

Subject to contract

A phrase used on documents during contract negotiations to confirm an agreement is not yet legally binding.


An arrangement where the existing tenant lets all or part of the property to another.


This is the substitution of one claim for another, for example an insurer who has indemnified a policyholder can take over any legal rights the policyholder may have had respect of that particular claim.

Sum insured

The amount for which you are covered under either the buildings, contents, or all risks section of your policy.


Tenancy deposit scheme

A government scheme introduced in 2007 to safeguard deposits taken by landlords. There are several suppliers used by landlords and letting agents – tenants should ensure that the company used is authorised to do so.


A person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.

Trace and access

Provides cover for the costs incurred in locating the source of any escape of water or fuel, including subsequent repair to walls, floors or ceilings.



An underwriter is the person who decides whether to accept a risk (i.e. whether to insure you) and also works out what Premium you should pay.


Is defined differently by insurers, some insurers define it as a property left without an occupant for more than 30 days, others define unoccupied, as when left unfurnished.



Items that have considerable monetary worth; costing or bringing a high price i.e. a valuable painting, a piece of jewellery.


A property built between approximately 1837 – 1901.

Void period

A time period during which a property remains empty between tenancies.


Wear & tear

Is damage that naturally and inevitably occurs as a result of normal wear or aging.


Year built

The year the property was built.

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