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Conveyancing Jargon Buster (A – C)

Conveyancing Jargon Buster

CMS and its panel solicitors aim to speak and write to you in plain English in terms that are easy to understand.

See our jargon buster below to make sense of some of those words that the estate agents and solicitors use everyday (but which may need some explanation).


Another word for Contract (see below)

This is where a property is bought at an auction house. Once the gavel goes down contracts are exchanged (see Exchange of Contracts below).

Bankruptcy Search
A search made by the conveyancer to check whether a buyer or a borrower has been, is or is about to be declared bankrupt.

The person taking out a loan or mortgage on a property that they own, sometimes also known as the Mortgagor

The boundaries define the extent of the property and are usually marked out on the ground by fencing or hedging. Boundaries are also often although not always shown on the deeds plans.

Bridging Loan
This is a loan taken out to “bridge” the gap whilst waiting for the sale of a property or the receipt of a mortgage.

Building Insurance
Insurance taken out by the owner of the property to insure the property against risks such as fire, landslip etc. The responsibility to insure the property often passes to the buyer on exchange of contracts. See our links page for Buildings Insurance

This is the person that is buying the property, sometimes also known as the purchaser

Buy To Let
This is where a buyer buys a property with the intention of letting it out on a commercial basis. There are usually mortgages specific to this type of purchase known as buy to let mortgages

Caveat Emptor
Literally means let the buyer beware. The buyer is responsible for finding out the condition of the property by survey and any matters affecting the legal title to the property by using a conveyancer to check the title and carry out searches.

These are the property buyers and sellers that link together to make the chain for your particular sale or purchase. The chain may consist of only two people i.e. you as buyer and the person you are buying from as seller or it may consist of several buyers and sellers. The beginning of the chain usually starts with a first time buyer or a buyer with nothing to sell and the end of the chain usually ends with a seller who is buying a brand new home or who is not buying another property. Your sale or purchase can only proceed at the same pace as every one in the chain. It is a bit like being in a traffic jam.

The person who has asked the conveyancer to act for them in legal matters.

Client Care Letter
The conveyancer must send the client this letter at the beginning of the transaction. The letter must give clear details of what work will be carried out, who will be doing it, at what cost and the complaints procedure of the firm. The client is usually asked to sign and return one copy. The conveyancer is not allowed to start work for a client until the client confirms in writing that they wish the conveyancer to do so.

Coal Mining Search
If the property is in an area designated as a Coal Mining Area the conveyancer will search to see whether there are any issues which currently affect the property.

Completion Date
This is the date when the purchase becomes final and the Purchase Price is paid by the buyer’s conveyancer and received by the seller’s conveyancer. The seller must move out of the property on this date. The keys are released to the buyer and they may move into the property.

Completion Statement
This is the final account that the conveyancer will send and it will detail his fees plus the VAT and all searches etc. This is usually sent after exchange and before completion.

Conditions of Sale
The conditions of the sale are detailed in the Contract that the seller’s conveyancer prepares and sends to the buyer’s conveyancer. There are standard Law Society conditions to which the conveyancer adds any Special Conditions.

Conservation Area
This is an area protected by the Local Authority. Properties in a conservation area may be subject to planning restrictions particularly relating to the exterior of the property.

The legal document that confirms the sale/purchase of the property. This is prepared in a draft form by the seller’s conveyancer and sent to the buyer’s conveyancer. Once all queries are answered it is then approved and the seller and the buyer each sign their own copy.

Conveyancer/ Conveyancing
Conveyancing is the legal description for the work that is done to transfer ownership of a property from one person to another. Conveyancer is the job description of the person doing the legal work.

This is the old fashioned name for the document that transfers a property from one person to another. Conveyances are rarely used nowadays and property is usually transferred by a Transfer document.

Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC)
the organisation that governs Licensed Conveyancers in the same way that the Law Society governs solicitors.

Covenants/Restrictive Covenants
These are obligations/restrictions that are attached to the property. For instance there may be an obligation to maintain a fence or boundary which is a positive covenant or there may be a restriction on the type of building on the land which is a restrictive covenant.

Conveyancing Jargon Buster (D – J)