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Common Conveyancing Jargon Explained

By: Liz Lennox - Updated: 21 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
Service Charge Ground Rent Bankruptcy

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it does contain many of the terms you will come across when you are moving house.


The amount of service charge and ground rent to be repaid to the owner, or paid to the buyer to ensure that the new owner only pays from the date of purchase.

Bankruptcy Search

This is a search taken out just prior to completion to check that there are no pending bankruptcies since you applied for your mortgage.

Building Regulation Consent

Ensures that structural works comply with the regulations in force at the time.

Caveat Emptor

Loosely translated this means 'Buyer Beware' and places the onus for any defects in the property on the buyer, if they would have been evident upon a 'reasonable inspection of the property'.

Cleared Funds

Essentially it means that it is not enough that your cheque or bankers draft is with your Conveyancer; the money must have physically been transferred by the bank and be in your Conveyancers client account and ready to use.

Completion Statement

This is the financial statement showing all of the proposed transactions and movement of your money. It is likely to be in a draft form until final redemption figures or apportionments are received.

Completion Date

This is the date that property actually changes hands and must be vacated completely by the old owner.


The formal document which sets out the exact circumstances of the sale of the property. It must include the names of all parties, a full description of the property, with a plan if necessary, and it must state exactly how much is to be paid and at what time.


This is a legal promise to do, or not do something to the property. They may be years old but can still take effect.

Capital Gains Tax

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is a tax levied by the Government on a proportion of the profit made from the sale of second or investment properties. It is not levied on the price you sell it for; only the profit made.

Chancel Repair

This is a relatively new phenomenon and refers to a potential right granted to the Church force homeowners to pay towards the upkeep of the Parish Church.

Coal Mining Search

This is self-explanatory; this is a search to confirm whether the property has ever been, or will be, affected by any underground mining works.

Conservation Area

This is a designation placed on a property by the local authority which restricts development or works to properties.

Contaminated Land

This refers to any land that may have a history of contaminative works or the potential for ground contamination; i.e. an old petrol station or landfill site.

Defect in Title

Any situation which calls into question the owners exclusive right to sell the property that they are purporting to sell.


The proportion of the purchase provided by the client, rather than by the mortgage lender, on exchange of deposits.


Any part of the legal costs that are paid to third parties for searches, taxes or registration, for example.

Disadvantaged Area Relief

A tax allowance granted by HM Revenue & Customs to assist in the re-development of certain areas of towns.


The point at which the contract is finalized and a binding legal agreement is made.


The portion of the property value that is over and above the amount to be repaid to the mortgage lender

Flying Freehold

A portion of a freehold property that is built above a neighbouring freehold property.

Indemnity Insurance

A legal tool whereby a title defect or adverse search entry can be neutralized. A one-off payment is made to the insurer.

Mortgage Deed

The legal document which represents the agreement between the client and the mortgage lender.

Mortgage Lender

Any financial institution authorized to make secured loans against property.

Mortgage Offer

The formal proposal from a mortgage lender stating all terms involved in a secured loan.

Occupier Consent Form

A declaration by any non-owning occupier that they will not make any claim over the property before the mortgage lender, in the event of repossession.

Office Copy

An official copy of the title to a property as held by the Land Registry.


The formal document which transfers the title to a property between people.

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a leasehold flat in a freehold property (England). A re-mortgage on the flat is stalled because the builder who did the conversion from single dwelling to multiple units had a charge against the freehold. The flat was purchased around 5 years ago and the landlord has confirmed that the debt relating to the charge was paid in full and the charge should have been removed. The remortgage is needed as soon as possible so the charge needs to be taken off. What is the most effective way to achieve this? Many thanks
Lynne - 21-Jul-17 @ 4:23 PM
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