The Top Ten Scary Renting Terms: Explained

Nothing says October quite like a scary movie marathon or a haunted house that gets your adrenaline pumping and your heartbeat racing. Halloween is best known for all things spooky and scary. Well, and sweets (or as I would say “candy”). Lots and lots of candy. While the world may never come to a consensus on the scariest Halloween movie (The Shining) or the most overdone costume (three-way tie between a vampire, nurse and any Harry Potter character), there is one topic known to send a shiver down anyone’s spine – scary and confusing renting terms. Whether you’re currently renting or planning to rent soon, keep reading for the top ten scary renting terms explained. After all, it is the most frightening time of the year.

Renting Term 1: Assured Shorthold Tenancy

An Assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST) is the most common and the default form of residential tenancy agreement. Introduced by the Housing Act 1988, this type of renting agreement allows a landlord to let out a property to a tenant while retaining the right to repossess the property at the end of the term of the tenancy. A tenancy is considered AST if all of the following apply:

The property you rent is private

Your tenancy started on or after 15 January 1989

The property is your main accommodation

Your landlord doesn’t live in the property

Renting Term 2: Rent Arrears/Defaulting on Rent

A tenant becomes a rent arrear when they are behind on rent, by any amount. If it is determined that the tenant does not have the means or intention to resolve the rent arrears, then the tenant is deemed to have defaulted on their rent. Defaulting on your rent comes with legal and financial consequences.  

Renting Term 3: Guarantor/Guarantor Deed

In a renting agreement, your guarantor will sign on in agreement to cover your rent if you default. In the UK, international renters are required to provide a guarantor. Without a guarantor, international renters may be asked to provide 6-12 months of rent upfront, and they may be in a tricky situation if anything goes wrong with their accommodation. Check out Housing Hand, the leading UK housing guarantor for more information and for a free quote.

Renting Term 4: Holding deposit  

A holding deposit, also known as an application fee is not to be confused with a tenancy or damage deposit. A holding deposit is paid once your offer has been accepted. This renting term means that you are financially tied to the property. The holding deposit is often deducted from the final invoice (which typically consists of: first month’s rent, six weeks security deposit, and administration charge imposed by your Agency).

Renting Term 5: Deposit Protection Scheme

This is a government-backed scheme (either insurance or custodial-based) that protects your deposit once paid to your landlord. Your landlord must register this and must supply you with proof that it has been protected. Currently, deposit protection is only mandatory for AST tenancies.

Renting Term 6: Inventory

Inventory is done the day you move in. Typically, this is done with a third party inventory company. They will show you around the property and do a final check before the keys are handed over. On the day you leave the property, a clerk will come back and check over the apartment to make sure it is left in the same condition as the check-in report shows.

Renting Term 7: Joint and Several

The renting term Joint and Several means that two or more persons are responsible for the liability of the tenancy. If and when you sign onto a joint and several rental contract, you assume all of your roommate’s risk and crucially so do all the rent guarantors, meaning parents aren’t aware of their risk of standing as rent guarantor. International students commonly sign Joint and Several Contracts only to find themselves in trouble when their housemates don’t pay their share. Check out Only My Share, a service that will protect you from the possibility of financial disaster.

Renting Term 8: Break Clause

There are a number of different break clauses in tenancies. The most common is the “general break clause” where both parties have the right to terminate the agreement by giving the other party no less than two months written notice. Typically, the earliest point at which the tenancy can end without penalties is 6 months.

Renting Term 9: Prorated Rent

Prorated rent is the amount of money a landlord charges a tenant when he/she is only occupying a unit for a partial term. For example, you may pay prorated rent if you move in at the middle of the month or if your lease ends in the middle of the month.

Renting Term 10: Fixed Term Tenancies versus Periodic

A periodic tenancy is one that continues until either the tenant or the landlord gives written notice to end it.  A fixed-term tenancy only lasts for a set amount of time – for example, one year. The amount of time must be written on the tenancy agreement. At the end of the fixed term agreement, if neither party have served the written notice, the tenancy enters into a periodic tenancy.

This article about “Scary Renting Terms Explained” was written for Housing Hand – the Award-Winning UK Rent Guarantor Service by Ameena Debboun. For more information on how Housing Hand can help you secure your rented accommodation, visit or call 02072052625.


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