A Guide To Renting Terminology

Finding your first place is a big step towards adulting.

But if you’re feeling out of your depth with all the renting terms, acronyms, and jargon you’re suddenly faced with, don’t panic. 

Our guide to renting has the scoop on all the phrases you need to avoid the rental market’s potential perils. Whether you’re looking for a student house share for your second year at uni or you’ve just graduated and are looking for a property to rent in Newcastle, we’re here to help you feel right at home in the heart of Newcastle. 

What types of renting are there? 

Before signing the dotted line, you need to know what your rental agreement means. We've put together some details in this first-time renting guide. 

What is a lease? 

A lease agreement is an agreement between you and your landlord. It gives you the right to live in their property for a period of time — usually 6-12 months. Your lease agreement will include things like the amount of rent you’ll pay and the responsibilities you have as a tenant of the property. 

What is a fixed-term tenancy?  

A fixed-term tenancy has a pre-set end date, for instance, one year. This gives you rental security but you won't be able to get out of the agreement early unless your landlord explicitly agrees.  

If your landlord does not regain possession at the end of your fixed term tenancy, and you do not sign a new fixed-term agreement, then it becomes a rolling tenancy. 

What is a rolling tenancy?  

Letting your tenancy rollover is a good option if you're happy with your place and the rent you pay. You'll pay the same rent and likely only need to give one month's notice to leave. However, it is easier for your landlord to evict you, although they must follow the correct legal procedure.  

What does the term ‘Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement’ mean?  

Most new tenancies are automatically ASTs, usually for a fixed term. In short, your landlord has the right to repossess their property once the agreement is up, but they must give you two months' notice. 

What is the term for a person renting?  

Anyone who rents from a landlord and pays rent is known as a tenant. Other less common terms include renter and lessee. 

Who counts as a landlord? 

Anyone who owns property that's rented out counts as a landlord. But you won't necessarily deal directly with the property owner if they use a management company — like Seekers — to handle things. 

Other key renting terms to know 

The good news is renting doesn’t have to be a minefield with our renting guide. So don’t let these common renting terms trip you up when you’re house or flat hunting: 

The Property Ombudsman (TPO)

All letting agents must be a member of a redress scheme, such as TPO. If they are not, then they are operating illegally. TPO has a set of rules regulating how agents can operate, and how complaints are handled.


You should also look for an agent who is a member of a professional body, such as Propertymark. Propertymark is the leading membership body in the UK for agents. 


This is the amount of money you owe in unpaid or late rent.  

Break Clause 

A clause that lets you or your landlord end a tenancy agreement early. It’s important to know whether your contract includes a break clause to make sure you aren’t stuck paying for a property you’re not staying in.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) 

Every private rental property must have an EPC so that you can evaluate the energy efficiency and performance of your new home. EPC ratings range from A to G and are colour coded.

Gas Safety Check  

Your landlord must have a Gas Safety Check done annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. 


No matter if you’re a student or a first-time renter, you’ll likely be asked to provide a guarantor. Generally, they’re a financially solvent person who agrees to pay if you get behind with the rent. 


A House of Multiple Occupancy (or HMO) could refer to a house split into individual units, or a student houseshare in Newcastle where a group of three or more unrelated tenants live together and share communal spaces.


When you start your tenancy, your landlord will draw up a list of the property’s contents and condition. Then, when your tenancy ends, they’ll refer to the list again to see if any damage has occurred during your stay.

Joint Tenancy  

If two or more people rent together, they’ll generally take out a joint tenancy where everyone has equal rights and responsibilities for things like paying the rent. 


A Section 21 notice is used to terminate an AST and must be served at least two months before the landlord wants you to move out. 

You'll get a Section 8 notice if you don't pay your rent or damage the property — this gives you 14 days to move out. 

References / Referees 

When you rent, you’ll likely be asked to provide a reference from a landlord or employer or name a referee who can vouch for you.   

Right to rent 

Under the Right to Rent scheme, you'll need to prove you're in the UK legally and submit to identity checks using your passport, driver's licence or immigration documents. 

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) 

You'll be asked for a security deposit when you start your tenancy. When the tenancy agreement ends, the landlord will use this money to pay for any damage or rent arrears. Your landlord must legally use a recognised deposit scheme to protect the funds in case of any disputes when you leave. Seekers use TDS.

Tenant Referencing Checks 

Your landlord will check to assess whether you're a suitable tenant. These checks may include references from previous landlords, credit checks and your employment history. 

Looking to rent in Newcastle? Contact Seekers 

At Seekers, we make it our business to find you a place to call home, whether you’re a student or a young professional looking for your first-time rental in Newcastle. For a more in-depth guide to renting, explore our Student Hub articles.

Ready to find a property? Contact our friendly team and say hello to your new life in Newcastle.