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Jargon and Terms of Renting: What do They Mean?

19 June 2020 Simon Banks Read time: 4 min
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Simon Banks

If you find an agent asking you when you’re going to sign an AST, so you can do the check-in before moving into the landlord’s BTL or Build-to-Rent apartments, you might just ask yourself what on earth is going on?

Sometimes agents (and even us Movebubblers) can slip into renter jargon without even realising it, using specific terms while speaking the lingo. And you may find yourself thinking “WTF” while politely nodding and smiling.

Well, your polite nodding days are over. In this guide, we’ve put together a list of renter jargon terms so that you don’t need to be left confused during your renting experience. So, without further ado, here is a list of key jargon terms in the world of renting.

What does let agreed mean?

Shaking hands on a let agreed

Every renter and landlord looks forward to hearing the all-important “let agreed”, which means a deal in principle has been agreed for the rental property. Once a let is agreed, and you pay the holding deposit (more on that later), the property will be removed from the rental market.

Find out more about the process of renting

What is an AST?

The AST is an acronym for Assured Shorthold Tenancy. This is the most common form of contract between tenants and property owners, and it details the conditions of the tenancy. Once the AST is signed, sealed and delivered, you’re ready to move into your new home.

Get more info on an AST

Do you need to know what a Buy-to-Let is?

Buy-to-let is the name given to properties bought by a landlord and then rented out to you lovely renters. You don’t need to concern yourself with the meaning too much, but it can be helpful knowing what it stands for if you hear the word every now and then.

How is Build-to-Rent different?

Build-to-Rent community

Build-to-Rent represents homes built exclusively for renters. Instead of dealing with a landlord, you rent from the operators of the Build-to-Rent building. They’re quite a big deal in the rental market at the moment and build on the idea of holistic living for renters.

Learn more about Build-to-Rent


The letting agent or landlord records an inventory which states the contents and condition of the property. The inventory is then used at check-in and check-out to cross-reference the overall conditions of the home before and after you move in.

Find out more about inventories and the checklist needed to rent successfully

What is check in and check out?

Before you move into a property, a managing agent or landlord will conduct a check-in. They essentially walk you around the home and point out anything you need to know, such as the location of smoke alarms, how locks work, the locations of gas and electric meters. The check-out takes place at the end of the tenancy and compares the property to its pre-move in condition (minus fair wear and tear).

Find out more about wear and tear and getting your security deposit back

What is the zero deposit scheme?

Zeor deposit

Zero deposit replaces the traditional security deposit (more on that later too), which currently sees renters paying five week’s worth of rent. The scheme is designed to help tenants, so they don’t need to pay a full security deposit before moving in.

Find out more about the zero deposit scheme

Other terms you may like to know

Because there’s a fair few of them...

Break clause

A provision built into the tenancy agreement that allows the renter or landlord to end the tenancy early.

Credit search

A search that reveals your past credit history.


Someone who guarantees the rent if you are unable to make payments.


Per calendar month, which usually refers to the amount of rent paid each month.


Per week, which refers to the amount of rent on a weekly basis

Security deposit

A deposit held against the property in case you are responsible for any damages during the tenancy. Security deposits are capped at five week’s rent.


Tenancy deposit scheme, which is an official scheme where the landlord must hold your security deposit.


When a renter lets part of the property (or all of it) to someone else. You must have permission from the landlord to sublet.


Sharing is when several renters live together but don’t form an official family.

Managing agent

The agent who looks after the property and manages aspects like maintenance repairs.

Fixtures and fittings

The items provided by the landlord in the rental property.

Holding deposit

The amount you pay to secure the property after a “let agreed” occurs. The holding deposit is typically one week’s rent and is deducted from the first month’s rental payment.


An energy performance certificate lets you know a property’s energy efficiency. Landlords are required by law to provide a valid EPC that has a rating of E or higher.


The gas safety record is a certificate that states all gas appliances, pipework and flues are safe in the property. Landlords are legally required to provide a gas safety check every 12 months.

Right to Rent

The right to rent check shows that you can legally rent a property in the UK. Landlords and agents are required to perform a right to rent check before you move into the property.

Wear and tear

Natural damage that inevitably happens in a property over time. Renters are not liable for wear and tear, as it’s considered the result of ageing and the property being lived in.

Notice period

The amount of notice a landlord or renter needs to provide before they move out.


Unpaid rent that is outstanding to the landlord


Items that have been damaged during the tenancy and lie at the fault of the renter

Contents insurance

Insurance that covers the personal items of a renter, including furniture, computers, jewellery et cetera


A renter-first app that lets you find your next home without even getting off your couch, thanks to video viewings, easy agent interaction and the ability to secure a home in just a few clicks.

Be a rental pro

Whether it’s lingo like “let agreed”, “right to rent” or “TDS”, you’ll never have a problem again when it comes to navigating all the jargon. Now that we’ve broken down rental jargon and terms in the industry, you can go about securing for your next home like an absolute pro.


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