Property Details Glossary

Understanding the details of property is crucial when it comes to buying or renting a new home. However, navigating the dozens of property terms, charges, types, and tenures within the UK housing market can be overwhelming.


Understanding Property Tenure

Property tenure refers to the legal rights and ownership arrangements of a property. It is important to understand the different types of tenure when considering buying or renting a property. Here are the most common forms of property tenure in the UK:


If you own a property freehold, you own both the property and the land it sits on outright. This means you have complete control over the property’s sale, development, and maintenance. Most houses in the UK are freehold properties.


A leasehold property gives you the right to live in a property for a fixed period, typically from 99 to 999 years.

However, the freeholder (landlord) owns the land the property stands on and the overall building structure, and therefore controls certain aspects of the property’s use and upkeep.


Commonhold is a newer form of property tenure where the freehold of a property is divided into individual units, and each unit owner owns a proportion of the freehold.

This means that each unit owner has a say in how the property is run and is financially responsible for repairs and maintenance. Commonhold properties are still relatively rare.

Shared Ownership

Shared ownership allows you to buy a percentage of the property (usually between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remaining share owned by a housing association or developer.

The initial share can be increased over time through a process called staircasing. Although this means you do not own the property outright, it can be a more affordable way to get onto the property ladder.


Types of Properties

When searching for a property in the UK, it’s essential to understand the distinct types of properties available to you.

Each property type has its own unique features and characteristics, so it’s crucial to choose the right one to suit your needs and preferences.

Here are some of the most common types of properties you may come across:

Detached Houses

These are properties that are independent and are not attached to any other houses. They often have private gardens and driveways, offering more privacy and space.

Semi-Detached Houses

These are properties that share one common wall with another house. They are often more affordable than detached houses but still offer some privacy and space.

Terraced Houses

These are properties that share both walls with other houses in a row. They are often more affordable than detached or semi-detached houses.

Link-Detached Houses

These are properties that do not share a common wall with another house, but they are usually linked by a garage. They are neither detached nor semi-detached.


Leasehold Properties Explained

Leasehold properties are common, especially in urban areas, and come with specific considerations:

Length of Lease

This is critical as it determines how long you own the property. Shorter leases (typically under 80 years) can devalue a property and make it difficult to obtain a mortgage.

Ground Rent

A fee paid to the freeholder. It is important to know how much this is, how often it is due, and the terms under which it can increase.

Ground Rent Review Period

This defines when and how the ground rent can be increased. Some leases have clauses that can lead to significant increases, impacting affordability.

Peppercorn Rent

A term for nominal rent, often just a symbolic amount. It is a quirk of some leasehold agreements, essentially meaning no actual rent is paid.

Annual Service Charge

This covers the cost of maintaining and repairing shared parts of the building, like the roof, lifts, and communal areas. It can vary from year to year and is an important factor in your annual budgeting.


Renting Terms Explained

Renting is a common choice for many, and understanding the terms involved is key:


The amount you pay to live in the property. It’s usually due monthly and can be subject to increases, depending on the terms of your lease.

Security Deposit

A sum held by the landlord or letting agent as security against damage or unpaid rent. It’s typically equivalent to several weeks’ rent and is refundable at the end of the tenancy, subject to the condition of the property.

Tenancy Length

The duration of your rental agreement, which can range from short-term (such as six months) to long-term (several years). Understanding the length and terms of your tenancy is crucial for planning your future housing needs.


Additional Costs: Council Tax and EPC Ratings

Council Tax Band

Council Tax is a local tax system in the UK, levied on households based on the estimated value of a property and the number of people living in it. This tax is used to fund local services like rubbish collection, road maintenance, and local schools.

The amount of council tax you pay depends on the property’s valuation band, which ranges from A (the lowest) to H (the highest) in England and Scotland, and from A to I in Wales.

EPC Rating

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a key part of the property’s energy efficiency. It provides a rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient), which reflects the property’s overall energy use and typical energy costs.

The EPC also includes recommendations on ways to improve the home’s energy efficiency and thus reduce energy bills.

An EPC is required whenever a property is built, sold, or rented. The higher the rating, the more energy-efficient the property is, leading to lower energy bills and a smaller carbon footprint.


Key Takeaways

Understanding property terms is essential in making informed decisions in the real estate market. Whether you are buying, selling, or renting, this knowledge empowers you to navigate the process with confidence.

Remember, in the property world, knowledge is not just power – it’s peace of mind.

Looking for your perfect home? Why not view the new build developments by Hopkins Homes.

Our properties are spread across sought-after locations like Essex and Cambridgeshire, offering a variety of homes to match your space needs and budget.

Interested in one of our new builds? We would love to chat with you about it – get in touch.