The A-Z of Conveyancing

Here we have a handy guide to the A - Z of conveyancing! 


A legal document that sets out all details regarding a property transaction that both parties agree on including information on the property itself, the buyer, and the seller.

Anti-Money Laundering (AML)

A process of due diligence that a conveyancer legally must undertake on every client and property transaction they manage in under to prevent money laundering, fraud, and the funding of terrorism. The AML procedure will include, but may not be limited to, confirming the ID of a client, being satisfied of the intentions of the transaction, hold proof of the source of the funds that are used to purchase a property, and confirm the ownership of the property.

The formal document required to transfer ownership of a property to a person entitled following the death of the owner.

Basic Fee/Legal Fee

The fee charged by your conveyancer for the benefit of their knowledge, time, and expertise during your property transaction. At Dezrezlegal we offer a fixed fee for standard transactions and itemise any additional charges and disbursements on your estimate. Some firms will charge you an hourly rate for their time rather than a fixed basic fee.

Breach of Contract

Once contracts have been exchanged, if either party pulls out and does not complete the property transaction they are in Breach of Contract and the non-defaulting party can take legal action to recover losses incurred.

Brine Search

Carried out to establish if a property is affected by disused brine mines and works in close proximity.


Boundaries define the extent of the property that is being transferred and are usually marked by physical structures such as fencing, hedging or walls. The legal boundary is usually illustrated explicitly in H. M. Land Registry records either as a description of the area dividing one property from another or as a line on the title deeds plan.

Building Insurance
Once contracts have been exchanged, you will in most cases become responsible for the new property’s building insurance. This must cover the cost of rebuilding the entire property if it is destroyed. 

Caveat Emptor

This Latin term literally translates to ‘let the buyer beware’ and means the buyer is responsible for finding out the condition of a property using a surveyor.


Where the success of one purchase transaction depends on the sale and purchase of another. Several ‘links’ in the chain can make the conveyancing process particularly complicated.


A mortgage/loan secured against a property.


Items of personal property left at a property that are included in the purchase price, such as furniture. These are described on the Fixtures, Fittings and Contents form.

Client Care Letter/Initial Letter

The initial letter sent to you by your conveyancer to provide contact details, confirm the scope of the work that will be carried out, costs associated to your transaction, and provide you with access to their complaint procedure.

Coal Mining Search

If the property is situated in a coal mining area this search will be conducted by your conveyancer to find out if previous or existing coal mining activities will affect the property in the future.

Commons Registration Search

A search carried out at local authorities to ensure a property is not registered as common land or connected to a village green, resulting in third party rights over the property.

Completion Date

The legal end of the conveyancing process – the point at which full payment has been made and the buyer takes ownership of the property. In everyday language it refers to handing over keys and the buyer physically moving into the property.

Completion Statement

A documented financial breakdown of the property transaction, which details the conveyancer’s full fees including disbursements and VAT.

Conservation Area

If the property to be bought lies in a conservation area protected by a local authority, it may be subject to exterior planning restrictions to preserve the look of the area.


A legal document that sets out all details regarding a property transaction that both parties agree on including information on the property itself, the buyer and the seller.

A common name for the historic legal document that officially confirms the sale or purchase of a property or piece of land. Now the property transfer is conducted using a Transfer Deed although in some cases a Conveyance may still be used.
The legal and administrative process of transferring property title from one party to another. 
Conveyancers are those who have undertaken the conveyancing process for their clients. Individuals carrying out the conveyancing process do not need to be regulated, though the firms they work within must be. Licensed Conveyancers complete rigorous training and exams to be personally licensed to undertake conveyancing services by The Council for Licensed Conveyancers and are specialist lawyers in the field.
Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC)
The governing body that licenses and regulates individual licensed conveyancers and CLC regulated firms. Dezrezlegal is a firm licensed and regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and have received several very successful audits.
Contract Race
When a seller accepts two competing offers on their property on the understanding that the party that can exchange first will be able to complete the contract and purchase the property.
Obligations and restrictions, known as ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ covenants respectively, that can be attached to a property. Such covenants may require you to maintain something within your boundaries (positive) whilst restrictions may prevent the construction of specific structures or a particular use of the property (negative).
Deed of Covenant
A legally binding agreement in which a party agrees to carry obligations or terms that are stipulated within the agreement. A deed of covenant is frequently required when purchasing a leasehold property for the buyer to formally agree to the terms of the lease.
Deed of Guarantee
A legal document used when a person agrees to be responsible for another person or company’s loan/mortgage should they not meet their obligations under the terms of the loan/mortgage agreement. The person securing the loan/mortgage will be asked to take separate legal advice from the person/organization purchasing the property.
Deed of Postponement
Used when there is a second registered charge on the property, such as a secured loan. The deed of postponement is used to ‘postpone’ the second charge so that the new loan/mortgage being setting up will become the first charge registered at H.M. Land Registry and the second charge will remain a second charge.
Deed of Trust
A legal document used when two people are purchasing a property together as tenants in common and both are contributing funds. The deed of trust states the division of ownership of the property so that if it is
Deed of Variation
A legal document that varies the terms of an existing agreement by agreement of the parties involved. For example, a common deed of variation is to extend the term of an existing lease or correct a defect with the agreement of the landlord and the tenant.
Official documentation outlining the owner of a property and their mortgage lender in the event the property is mortgaged.
A deposit is paid to the seller, usually via the conveyancer, on exchange of contracts: this is normally 10% of the purchase price although is negotiable subject to agreement from the seller.

As I went on, still gaining velocity, the palpitation of night and day merged into one continuous greyness; the sky took on a wonderful deepness of blue, a splendid luminous color like that of early twilight; the jerking sun became a streak of fire, a brilliant arch, in space; the moon a fainter fluctuating band; and I could see nothing of the stars, save now and then a brighter circle flickering in the blue.

Drainage and Water Search

A search carried out during the conveyancing process to reveal information on sewer and water connections to the property.

Draft Contract Pack
A pack of documents provided to the buyer’s conveyancer by the seller’s conveyancer. The pack usually includes a copy of the draft contract of sale and transfer for the buyer to agree and sign, as well as important supporting information such as the Office Copy documents for the property, completed fixtures and fittings form, property information forms, and guarantees and certificates to cover work undertaken on the property.
This pack is then used to produce a title report for the buyer as well as raise enquiries to be sent to the seller to answer.
Early Repayment /Penalty (ERP)

If your property purchase or remortgage completes before the end of your existing mortgage term you will be paying back your mortgage loan early. In most cases your mortgage lender will charge you an additional sum of money to cover the interest they will not receive on the amount you have repaid early. This additional charge is called an ERP.


A right of way over another person’s piece of land.

An issue with a property that reduces its value, makes it less marketable, and or restricts the owner’s ability to transfer the property.
Questions and requests for further supporting evidence that the buyer and their conveyancer raise with the seller’s conveyancer until they are happy to proceed with the transaction to exchange. Enquiries are usually prompted by receipt of the draft contract pack, search results, and from the responses to previous enquiries. Enquiries usually take several weeks to resolve due to the nature of gaining information from a wide variety of third parties.
Environmental Search
A search that gives details on past uses of the land a property is situated on and within the vicinity of. It highlights whether any past uses of land are likely to have caused potential contamination.
Epitome of Title
A document put together for unregistered properties/land to prove ownership and a right to sell as well as things like easements and rights that accompany the property/land. It consists of a schedule of all the documents of title along with photocopies of the documents themselves taken from the original deeds.
The difference between the value of a property and the figure owed to any mortgage lender.
Contracts are signed and exchanged through your conveyancer. This is the stage that the process becomes legally binding. After exchange of contracts, neither buyer nor seller can pull out of the transaction without possible legal consequences.

As such your conveyancer will need consent to exchange from all individuals they represent before they complete the exchange process with the other parties’ conveyancer. When gaining your consent to exchange your conveyancer will run through all the major details of the contract as well as the confirmed completion date to make sure you are happy to proceed and have been fully informed.
Fixtures, Fittings and Contents form

This form is completed by the seller and provided by the seller’s conveyancer to the buyer’s conveyancer. It sets out what parts of the property are included in the sale and must be viewed and approved by the buyer before it forms part of the contract and exchange takes place.

Flying Freehold
When a section of a freehold property is structurally above another property and does not touch the ground. In this arrangement the upper property owner does not own the building or land under the ‘flying’ portion of their property. 
When a seller accepts an offer on their property from one buyer, but then accepts a higher offer from another potential buyer.
Gifted Deposit

When a homebuyer is given a lump sum of money towards the deposit for their property purchase. The giver of the sum does so as a gift and not a loan and has no intention of owning part of the property. Usually, mortgage lenders require such gifts to be referred to them for approval and they may require the giftor to sign a statement to confirm the gift and that they have no intention of asserting any ownership rights over the property at that time or in the future.

Ground Rent
A regular sum paid by a leaseholder to a landlord or freeholder when a property is leasehold.

H.M. Land Registry

The government body that ensures the correct registration and recording of ownership of property and land throughout England and Wales.

House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO)

The definition is complex but generally a HMO is when a property is let to more than one household with more than 2 occupants. If a property is a HMO the landlord has additional legal responsibilities that must be met. You can find out more on the government website Private renting: Houses in multiple occupation - GOV.UK (

I.D. Check
An electronic check carried out by a conveyancer through a third-party AML provider that does not leave a mark on a person’s credit record. Information will be taken from several sources of evidence such as a passport, driving license, mobile telephone number, proof of recent address and cross checked through data centers to provide a credible level of positivity that the owner of that evidence is in fact the same individual that the conveyancer is representing. Such checks are compulsory to comply with Anti Money Laundering legislation.
Indemnity Insurance Policy
An insurance policy taken out to protect a buyer against any issues incurred by a defect in the legal title.
Index Map Search
A search undertaken at H.M. Land Registry to determine whether a property or area of land is registered or unregistered.
Islamic Mortgage
A mortgage that is compliant with Sharia law. These mortgages differ from traditional home loans in that they do not involve paying interest, as that is forbidden under Sharia law. To qualify for a Sharia mortgage, you will typically need a deposit of at least 20% of the property.
Joint Tenants

A type of registered property ownership where all owners own the entire property. Should one of the registered owners die their share automatically passes to the remaining owners.

Where the owner purchases the right to own the property for a given length of time, which may extend into hundreds of years. Once this period ends ownership of the property returns to the freeholder unless the freehold is bought, or the lease extended. 
Leasehold Property Information Form (TA7)

A form completed by the seller of a leasehold property at the start of a transaction. This form provides information about the lease associated to the property, any landlord or management company, as well as financial information about ground rent or service charges.

The seller is required to complete this document truthfully and the best of their knowledge. The completed form is sent to the buyer’s conveyancer by the seller’s conveyancer and usual forms part of the Draft Contract Pack.

The owner of a leasehold property.
The Legal Ombudsman

The Legal Ombudsman offers independent and impartial complaints handling to all those that are unhappy about services they have received across any area of the legal sector. Once you have complained to your conveyancer they have 8 weeks to deal with your complaint to your satisfaction. If you are not satisfied by the outcome of the complaints process and the 8-week period has expired, you may then escalate your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.

Local Authority Searches

The Local Authority Search is conducted during the early stages of the conveyancing process and is obtained to highlight any plans of the local authority that may affect the state of the property. It is important to note that this only refers to things affecting the land up to the legal boundaries of the property.

A loan of money from a bank or building society to assist a person in buying a property. On completion of the purchase the buyer will pay the lender a monthly amount at an agreed level including interest, for the agreed term of the mortgage.

A conveyancer acts for both the seller or buyer and the mortgage company when undertaking a transaction where their client has or is taking out a mortgage on a property.

When buying with a mortgage or remortgaging, on completion of the transaction the name of their lender is registered on the property title document at H.M. Land Registry to show that they have an interest in the property. Should the owner wish to sell the property the outstanding mortgage amount will need to be paid off entirely on completion of that transaction so that their mortgage lender’s interest is cleared from the title.
Mortgage Deed

A legally binding agreement that uses property as security for a loan. The mortgage deed is the document that your conveyancer will send you on behalf of your mortgage lender that you sign to confirm your agreement for the mortgage lender to place their interest of the title of the property until the loan is paid in full.

Mortgage Offer
The formal document issued by the mortgage lender confirming the amount the lender is happy to loan the borrower as well as the fees and conditions associated.

Your mortgage lender will issue two copies of your mortgage offer. One will go directly to you while the other is sent to your conveyancer. Your copy often reaches you a few days before your conveyancer will get their copy. When your conveyancer receives their copy, they will provide you with a summary document of the loan arrangement as well as the mortgage deed for you to sign. 
Negative Equity
When the amount of money a seller owes on the property, usually via a mortgage, is more than the sale value of the property.
National House Builders Council provides a 10-year warranty and insurance for new homes.Find your policy document | NHBC
Notice of Transfer
A lease may require that the new leaseholder notify the landlord when the ownership of a leasehold property changes. To comply with his obligation the buyer’s conveyancer will send a notice of transfer to the landlord.
Office Copies

The document outlining who owns the property, held by H.M. Land Registry. It is requested by your conveyancer at the start of the conveyancing process.

Occupier’s Consent

Mortgage companies require conveyancers to collect occupier’s consent on their behalf when a person over 17 lives at a property but is not named on the mortgage. Consent is required to confirm that the person will move out of the property if the mortgage lender takes possession due to a default of the mortgage

Power of Attorney
A legal document that allows a person to act as a legal representative of somebody else with their consent and make decisions on their behalf. These are often used to protect the financial interests of the ill or the elderly.
Pre-Completion Searches
Searches undertaken by your conveyancer on a purchase transaction after contracts are exchanged. OS1 searches are carried out against the property to confirm if there have been any changes to the Land Registry office copies. K16 bankruptcy searches are carried out against the buyers to confirm that their situation has not changed in relation to their ability to purchase the property.
Property Information Form (TA6)
A form completed by the seller of a property at the start of a transaction. This form provides information about boundaries, disputes, services, relationships with. 

The seller is required to complete this document truthfully and the best of their knowledge. The completed form is sent to the buyer’s conveyancer by the seller’s conveyancer and usual forms part of the Draft Contract Pack.
Redemption Payment
This is the sum of money transferred to a mortgage lender or loan provider on a sale transaction to settle the mortgage or loan registered against a property. Your conveyancer will send you a redemption statement from your lender and will undertake to your lender that they will facilitate the payment in full before completing the transaction. Redeeming the mortgage in full allows the lender’s interest in the property to be removed from the title documents ready for the new owner to register theirs and is a contractual requirement of the conveyancing contract.
Redemption Statement
A financial statement provided by your mortgage lender or loan provider during a sale transaction that details the amount that needs to be paid back to complete.

Your conveyancer will request this information from your mortgage lender or loan provider twice during the transaction. Once at the start of the transaction to give you a reasonable idea of how much you will need to repay, and once after exchange of contracts using the completion date agreed to gain an exact figure. Your conveyancer will produce a copy of our bill and a completion statement on both occasions so that you are able to financially plan for completion and provide the correct funds.
Restriction on Title
An entry made on the title document for a property that prevents a sale, transfer, gift, or new mortgage of the property being registered unless certain conditions are met. Restrictions are relatively common and can be used to protect someone’s interest in a property or ensure obligations are met when a property is sold, for example the repayment of a loan or mortgage in full.
When funds are held by a conveyancer on behalf of their client until clarity can be gained on costs associated with an issue. This may be after completion of a transaction. For example, a common use of a retention is when a conveyancer holds funds until annual management accounts have been published on a leasehold property and responsibility for the fees can be apportioned correctly between the previous owner and the new owner. Once clarity has been gained the appropriate payments will be made and the remaining funds transferred back to the person who paid the retention.
Service Charge
A charge paid to the landlord to cover any repairs, maintenance or improvements that need to be made to a property. 
Shared Ownership
A type of home ownership where the purchaser takes out a mortgage on a share of a property and pays rent to a landlord on the remaining share.
Simultaneous Exchange and Completion (SIM)
When exchange and completion occur at the same time. This can be advantageous if there is a fear of circumstances changing between exchange and completion which may threaten the completion of the contract. It may also allow for a swifter completion of a transaction if all parties agree. However, it is important to note that the contract of sale is not executed until exchange of contracts and so in the instance of a SIM completion both parties have no time between the confirmation of the agreement and the day the property legally changes hands.
Increasing ownership of a shared ownership property usually by buying additional shares from a housing association or other social landlord. When more of the property is owned the rent will decrease.
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) /Land Transaction Tax (LTT)
The tax payable based on the purchase price of the property. The money is payable to HMRC or the Welsh Revenue Authority. It is usually paid to them by your conveyancer on your behalf on completion of the transaction. This expense will form part of your completion statement.   
Subject to Contract (STC)

A term used during contract negotiations; nothing is legally binding until contracts are exchanged.

Where a property moves due to inadequate foundations or significant change in underlying ground resulting in the instability of a building structure.
Tenants in Common
A type of registered property ownership where owners have a specified percentage share of a property. Each owner can pass their share of the property onto whomever they wish.
Freehold or Leasehold property ownership.
Third Party Rights
When someone other than the legal owner of a property has the right to use or control the land of which they have no ownership.
Transfer/Transfer Deed
The document that legally transfers the property into the name of the buyer at the Land Registry. Your conveyancer will normally provide you with a draft copy of the transfer for you to sign when they issue or receive the draft contract pack. 
Transfer of Equity
The addition or removal of owners from the title of a property.
Transfer of Part
When portion of a property/land is sold, and the rest retained. For example, if someone owns a house and garden under one title and wishes to sell part of the garden.
Land and property not registered at H.M. Land Registry. When land and property is registered it is provided with a unique identifying title number and office copies are held that detail the definition of the property and ownership. Unregistered properties do not have a H.M. Land Registry record and conveyancers are reliant on original deeds to ascertain ownership of the property. If a property has not changed hands since 1985 it may be unregistered. 
Wayleave Agreement
A formal agreement with a property owner enabling a service provider (electricity or telephone company) to install piping or cabling through or over the property.