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Definition of property contractual terms

If you are renting, buying or leasing a commercial property you need to fully understand the contract. Here is a list of definitions in plain English.

Break clause-allows a tenant to end a lease, at specific times during the lease period.

Conveyance-this deed conveys the property rights.

Covenant--a promise within a contract for the performance, or non-performance, of a specified act.

Deed-the written document by which ownership of property is transferred from one person to another. A deed is only effective if properly executed and delivered.

Disclaimer-written document to deny legal responsibility, or a limitation on right that might otherwise be claimed.

Easement-An interest in land owned by another that allows specific or limited use by another person. For example the right to cross land to access another property, or the right to continue to have an unobstructed view over it.

Encroachment-when a portion of land, building or fixture (wall, fence) extends over another property and illegally intrudes upon that of the adjoining owner.

Equity-Monetary value of a property after any claims, eg a mortgage, are subtracted.

Eviction-Dispossession of a tenant of rented or leased property through legal proceeding and force.

Exchange-The transaction of agreed, signed documents between the seller and the buyer which is then legally binding. Completion-including transfer of money-generally takes place 2-4 weeks later.

Fixture-A fixed object such as furniture or equipment incorporated into a property permanently. By definition that removal would cause damage to the business land and/or the business buildings, and is therefore, a legal a part of it.

Freehold-Outright ownership. Person owns a property completely with no debts incurred against it. Whereas a leaseholder only has rights to occupy for a contracted amount of time.

Habitable-able to be lived in. Premises must be free of faults that could endanger health or safety of occupants.

Holdover tenancy-Arises when a person stays in a property and hold over the tenancy after the previous tenancy has expired. The new tenant is accepted and recognised by the landlord by paying rent.

Indenture-Document or deed which binds two or more parties.

Invitee-A person, such as a customer, present in a place because of an express or implied invitation of the occupier. The occupier has to exercise reasonable care to ensure the wellbeing and safety of the invitee.

Landlord-owner of leased or rented property.

Lease-contract where owner of property conveys exclusive use of property for specified payment over a specified time. Once contract has expired the property revert to owner.

Legal duty-the responsibility to act according to the law.

Loss of use-Result of property not being able to be used in normal way due to negligence or wrongdoing of another party.

Notice to quit-Communication or notification to a tenant to leave specified premises. This is usually due to breach of lease terms.

Occupancy-the person occupying a particular place.

Partition-Division of jointly owned property into parts, or the sale of such property by the court. The proceeds are then divided.

Party wall-a wall dividing two separately owned premises. The party wall is a joint responsibility of owners, e.g. semi-detached homes, owned separately and joined at a wall.

Premises-the whole building or where appropriate, part of it, including the grounds adjacent.

Quit-term used for a tenant to move out of a premises.

Reasonable wear and tear-any damage sustained during normal use.

Repossess-- Refers to property or goods that are taken back after failure to pay owed money. A court order may demand this, or the creditor company e.g. vehicles, furniture obtained using short term finance.

Search-an inspection to establish if any legal restraints, planning applications, or aspects of legal ownership could possibly affect the purchase of a property. A search into land registry and local government will be done by solicitors as part of a search.

Sublease-a lease given by tenant of part or all of a premises allowing another person to occupy for a shorter time period than the original lease, while still retaining some interest.

Tenancy-temporary occupancy or possession of property belonging to another. Also refers to the period of the tenant's occupancy.

Tenure-how a property is held, e.g. freehold tenure or leasehold tenure.

Trespass-Invasion of property, or a willful act or active negligence, that may cause injury to another person.

Vendee-the person to whom a property is sold.

Vendor-the person selling the property.
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