Affordable Housing Jargon Buster


Affordable Housing Affordable housing is housing built with subsidy from the Government, Housing Association or other means. Because of the subsidy, the cost of renting or buying is lower and therefore more affordable for people who could not otherwise afford to rent or buy in the area.
Choice Based Lettings (CBL) The process now commonly used by local authorities, under a variety of different names, to allocate social housing vacancies (council houses or housing association properties) in their area.  When a property becomes vacant it is advertised and potential tenants can bid for the property. Each property is then offered to the bidder in the highest priority band.
Completion This means that the sales process is now finished and that your home is now legally yours. You can collect the keys on this day and you can move in.
Contract The legal, written agreement between the vendor and the purchaser.
Conveyancer A solicitor or a licensed professional who deals with the legal side of buying a property.
Data Protection The law which protects your personal details held by others either in hardcopy or  on electronic files.
Deposit A down payment on a property, usually calculated as a percentage of the value or the share being purchased.
Do It Yourself Shared Ownership (DIYSO) A previous shared ownership scheme which allowed purchasers to choose a property from the open market.  This scheme is not currently offered by providers.
Early Repayment Charge A charge to your lender if you pay back part or all of your mortgage earlier than the agreed term.
Equity The amount of money either put into buying a property, or the deposit placed on a property,  which may increase if the property rises in value.  It is also known as capital.
Equity Loan An additional loan to top up your mortgage.  The amount you ultimately have to repay on this loan is linked to the value of your property. As the property's price increases or decreases, so does the amount of your loan. This loan is registered as a second charge against your property so you have to have a mortgage as part of buying a property this way. 
Exchange of Contracts The point at which you are legally bound to buy your property although you cannot take possession until you have reached Completion.
Extra Care Schemes Extra Care schemes are usually aimed at people aged 55 or over and can be either for rent, shared ownership or outright purchase.  Care to support residents is provided and the level of care can be increased as people's needs dictate.
Financial Advisor (FA) A qualified professional who can give you advice on mortgages.
First Charge The principal loan or mortgage on the property.
FirstBuy A Government scheme funded in partnership with private developers. This scheme is no longer available.
Freeholder As a Freeholder you own the property and the land on which it stands.
Ground Rent An annual payment to the Freeholder of the land on which your property is built.
Help to Buy - Shared Ownership  You buy a proportion of a property, usually through a Registered Provider, and pay a subsidised rent on the portion that you do not own.   
HomeBuy The umbrella term for all current homeownership schemes, such as Help to Buy - Shared Ownership and Help to Buy - Equity Loan. HomeBuy has now been rebranded as Help to Buy.
Homes England The Government agency which provides funding for affordable housing and regeneration in England.  They also regulate Housing Associations. They were formally known as the Homes & Communities Agency.
Housing Association An independent, not-for-profit organisation which provides affordable homes for rent or shared ownership.
Income Multiplier A formula used by financial advisors and housing associations to work out how much you can borrow with a mortgage.  Most income multipliers for Help to Buy schemes work on 3-4 times your household income after other financial commitments have been taken into consideration.
Intermediate Rent A rent calculated at 80% of the market rent.
Intermediate Rent Schemes A scheme where you rent a property at an intermediate rent for up to 5 years in preparation for moving onto home ownership.
Keyworker Someone who works in a frontline post which is essential to the community, such as nurses, teachers, police, firefighters.
Land Registry Fee The fee payable to HM Land Registry to register the ownership of your property.  This is usually paid via your solicitor or conveyancer.
Lease The legal agreement which gives you the right to live in a property for an agreed period of time and under certain conditions (where you are not the freeholder).
Leasehold A leasehold property is one where you buy the right to live in the property for an agreed period of time but you do not own the land the property is built on - this is owned by the Freeholder.
Lender The organisation lending the mortgage or equity share loan.
Lessee The person to whom a lease is granted ie the tenant.
Lessor The person or company who grants a lease ie the landlord.
Loan to Value The amount of mortgage required in relation to the value of the property. 
Local Connection Some schemes, particularly in rural areas, require potential purchasers to have family or other links with the local area to be eligible to purchase.
Market Rent The rent charged by private landlords on the open market.
Mortgagee The lender of a mortgage, such as a Building Society or Bank.
NHBC guarantee A 10 year guarantee on newly built properties, provided by the National House Building Council.  If any serious defects appear within the 10 year period, the builder / developer should put them right.
Open Market HomeBuy A scheme which allowed purchasers to buy a property with the help of an equity share loan, on the open market.  This scheme is not currently offered by providers.
Private Developer A private company which develops and sells properties such as Barratts, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon etc.
Registered Provider The term for a Registered Social Landlord.  This includes housing associations and local authorities.
Registered Social Landlord Another term for a Housing Association.
Rent to Buy A scheme which allows you to rent the property first for a period of 3-5 years on an intermediate rent.  At the end of the rental period you can choose to buy the property under Help to Buy - Shared Ownership or move on.
Resales A re-sale is a shared ownership property that has come back onto the market.
Reverse Staircasing Some RPs may buy back shares in a shared ownership property if the leaseholder experiences problems paying their mortgage or rent.  This is called Reverse Staircasing.
Second Charge Your mortgage is the first charge and takes priority over every other loan (charge) secured against your home. Should you wish to take out another loan and secure it against your property, you will need the permission of your mortgage lender before you are able to do this. Once permission is given by the mortgage lender, the loan will become known as the second charge.  Should the bank that lent the money for your second charge wish to repossess you for the repayment of the loan, they will not receive any money until the mortgage (the first charge) has been repaid.
Service Charges The money leaseholders may pay for services such as grounds maintenance, lighting, maintenance of common parts of a building and possibly the buildings insurance premium.  Your lease will specify.
Social Rent A subsidised rent, usually provided by a Local Authority or Registered Provider.
Staircasing Where you buy more of a share of your property or pay back part of your equity loan.
Stamp Duty When you buy a property you may have to pay a tax to the government.  This is called Stamp Duty.
Survey A surveyor's report on the condition of your property.  There are different types of survey, some more detailed than others.   A survey usually includes a Valuation.
Title Deeds The legal documents which establish who owns a property and on what terms.  The title to the property is registered with HM Land Registry.
Valuation As part of negotiating a mortgage, the lender will require the property to be inspected and valued (usually by a qualified surveyor).  The purchaser normally has to pay for this valuation.  It may form part of the Survey of the property.
Vendor The person selling a property.