Apartment Building

Glossary

Assignment:

The transfer of a property from seller to buyer.

Annexed: 

attached in some way, either to a document or a piece of land.

 

Common Parts: 

those areas used by all, or some, of the leaseholders, e.g. hallways, stairs and gardens.

 

Covenant: 

a promise, or agreement, to carry out certain procedures, eg "to maintain the windows and doors in the flat"

 

Demise:  

legal jargon for the extent of the flat or house, e.g. "The demise known as 1 Acacia Avenue".

 

Easement: 

a general term meaning a right one property has over another, eg a right
of way or a right of light.

 

Enfranchisement: 

the process of extending the lease or purchase of the freehold.  As in the Leasehold Reform Housing & Urban Development Act 1993 (as amended).

 

First Tier Tribunal (Property Camber): 

a court which deals with property related matters, particularly leasehold disputes.  Less formal than a normal court, but still entail costs which can be considerable.  However they are sympathetic to individuals taking a case to court.

 

Forfeiture: 

the right of the lessor or freeholder to take possession of a property if there are any serious breaches of the lease. If it happens the lessee loses everything, not only the property, but the lessee still has the debt of the mortgage.  This rarely happens, as the courts are very reluctant to enforce it.

 

Freeholder:  

the person or company who owns the land on which the flat or house is situated.

 

Headlease: 

in a large development where there are separate buildings there may be a headlease for the whole development and separate leases for each building.  These leases are known as sub-leases or underleases.

 

Lessor: 

the person or company which is entitled to receive the ground rent and is responsible for the maintenance of the property.  Usually the freeholder, but their may be a headlease where the freeholder owns several blocks of flats and each one has a separate lease.

Lease-advice website:

 

Leaseholder:

the "owner" of the flat or house.  Also referred to as Lessee.  In fact you do not own the flat, you are a tenant who has the right to live at the property until the lease expires.

 

Managing Agent: 

an organisation appointed by the freeholder or lessor to look after the property.  Their costs will be part of the service charges.  They are controlled entirely by the freeholder or lessor, and the leaseholders have no say in who is appointed and how much they charge.  Because of this they have no incentive to offer a good service at a competitive price.

 

Notice: 

any letter or email received from an organisation such as the council, water authority, or telecoms informing the owner or occupier of a property that they are in breech of the law or that work will be carried out which might affect the property in some way

 

Notice of Assignment: 

a formal notification of a transfer of the property to a buyer.  This must be sent to the freeholder or managing agent as soon as a property has been sold.  This is very important as future service charge demands need to be sent to the new owner.  It must state the address of the new owner as it may not be the same as the address of the property.

 

Premium:

the amount to be paid for a leas extension, purchase of the freehold or similar.

 

Quiet enjoyment:

every lease has a clause giving the leaseholder the right to quiet enjoyment.  This should prevent the freeholder from harassing the leaseholder.

 

Reversion:

another word for the freehold or superior title.

 

Right to manage:

the right to take over the maintenance and repair of a development
in place of the freeholder or management company, as set out in the Commonhold
and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

 

Title Deeds:

until recently a bundle of documents were kept by the owner, or in most cases by the lender if there is a mortgage.  Originally comprising all the previous transfer documents (or conveyances as they used to be called) but when compulsory registration was introduced a copy of the title replaced these.  The Land Registry became responsible for showing details of the title, i.e. ownership, mortgages, leases, covenants, restrictions and a plan showing the extent of the property.

 

Tripartite Lease: 

some leases are written with three participants: the freeholder, the leaseholder and a management company.  The lease will set out the responsibilities but basically the management company will deal with the maintenance of the property.  In many cases the leaseholders will have a share in the company, thus exerting complete control of the company.