Rent Officer Handbook: general matters related to all Rent Officer work

Other: glossary of terms

A glossary of Rent Officer terms.

v2 2017

The following list comprises commonly used Rent Officer terms, and has simple but non-exhaustive definitions. Greater details about these terms may be found elsewhere within the Rent Officers Handbook.

Term Definition
Affordable rent Affordable rent properties provided by a registered provider are subject to regulation by the social housing regulator. The regulations provide that registered providers are able to let a property at an affordable rent of up to 80% of the gross market rent.
Agent Someone acting on another's behalf
Agricultural tenancy Residential letting associated with qualifying agricultural work, including statutory tenancies arising out of the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976
Assignment An assignment of a lease is where the tenant transfers/sells its entire interest in the property for the unexpired term of the lease to an assignee.
Assured shorthold tenancy This is the formal name for the standard tenancy type in England and Wales. There is no minimum length of contract, but it is typically six months or more. The contract gives the tenant some protection from eviction, and although the landlord can give notice at any time, in practice there is a minimum notice period of two months.
Assured tenancy Tenancy usually under the provisions of the Housing Act 1988. Private tenants with an assured tenancy have long-term tenancy rights.
Attendance A service personal to the tenant performed by an attendant provided by the landlord.
Board Meals provided for a tenant under their tenancy, which may include preparation and clearing away
Broad rental market area Area relating to access to facilities and services containing a variety of residential lettings across which Local Housing Allowances (LHA) are determined.
Broad rental market area (Local reference rent) Area relating to access to facilities and services containing a variety of residential lettings across which Local Reference Rents (LRR) are determined.
Cancellation The annotation of a registered rent on the register of fair rents such that it no longer applies.
Civil partnerships Registered ‘civil partners’ have the same rights as married couples for succession to protected, statutory, secure and assured tenancies. Same-sex couples who have not registered a formal partnership have the same rights and status as unmarried opposite-sex couples.
Claim related rent The lowest Rent Officer Determination of: the referred rent, the significantly high rent, the size and rent determination, and the exceptionally high rent, applicable to a housing benefit referral.
Consultation A meeting between the rent officer and the parties to an application for the registration of a fair rent to discuss the rent to be registered.
Consumer Price Index A measure that examines the weighted average of prices of a basket of consumer goods and services. The CPI Index is used to track price changes associated with the cost of living. In the commercial property market leases are often granted with rent reviews occurring by reference to either the Consumer Prices Index, or more commonly, the Retail Prices Index (normally on an upwards only basis).
Controlled tenancy Type of tenancy created before 6th July 1957 which is convertible to regulated tenancy after 28th November 1980.
Depreciation Depreciation is a method of allocating the cost of a tangible asset over its useful life.
Determination Rent Officer decision under a Housing Benefit referral or an application to register a fair rent.
Disrepair The assessment of the condition of property, which highlights areas where repair is required.
Dwelling Residential accommodation whether or not consisting of the whole or part of a building and whether or not comprising separate and self-contained premises.
Dwelling houses Residential properties whether or not consisting of the whole or part of a building and whether or not comprising separate and self-contained premises.
Effective date The date that a determination or decision comes into effect
Equivalent fair rent Informal advice provided by a rent officer for specific lettings, about what a registered rent might be if the letting was eligible for rent registration.
Exceptionally high rent Rent officer determination of the highest reasonable rent for housing benefit purposes.
Fair rent The maximum rent a landlord can charge, registered by a Rent Officer.
First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) Appeal body dealing with objections to rent officers’ registered rents.
Full repairing and insuring A term used to describe a lease where the tenant is responsible for all repairs and for insuring.
HERBS Access to facilities for the provision of Health Education Recreation Banking and Shopping required to help determine Broad Rental Market Areas
Houses in multiple occupation A property which is rented to at least three tenants who form more than two households who share toilet, bathroom, kitchen or other facilities.
Housing Benefit referral An application from a Local Authority for a rent officer determination of a reasonable rent for housing benefit purposes.
Indicative rent level An indication of a rent level upon which the Local Authority bases housing benefit interim payments until a rent officer determination is made
Informal advice Information provided by a rent officer for specific lettings, about what a registered rent might be if the letting was eligible for rent registration.
Inspection A visit to a property or inspection of an asset, to examine it and obtain relevant information, in order to express a professional opinion of its value.
Joint tenant One of two or more tenants who have joint and several liability for the property they rent
Jurisdiction The Rent Officer’s legal authority to carry out their functions.
Jurisdictional hearing A meeting to establish whether or not the Rent Officer has authority to register a rent under an application for registration of rent
Lettings information Record of residential lettings at market rents collected and collated by the rent officer.
Licence An authority to do something that would otherwise be inoperative, wrongful or illegal. This may be used, for example, to permit occupation of land and buildings or allow a tenant to carry out alterations, or to assign or sub-let.
List of rents List of market rents within a Broad Rental Market Area used by the rent officer to determine Local Housing Allowance rates.
Local authority An administrative body of local government.
Local Housing Allowance Rent officer determinations of rents for different categories of accommodation, used to determine Housing Benefit levels.
Locality A broad area across which a rent officer determines levels of scarcity.
Local reference rent A formulaic Rent Officer determination to limit the level of Housing Benefit
Low rent A term used in the Rent Act 1977 where either no rent is paid or the rent payable is less than two-thirds of the rateable value on the appropriate day. Provisions do not apply to tenancies arising on expiry of a protected occupancy under the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976
Market rent The estimated amount for which an interest in real property should be leased on the valuation date between a willing lessor and willing lessee on appropriate lease terms in an arm’s length transaction, after proper marketing and where the parties had each acted knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion.
Maximum fair rent A limit on the amount of rent increase a registered rent is subject to, based on a formula relating to changes to the Retail Prices Index.
Mutual exchange Assignments of tenancies where tenants swap leases of dwellings.
Neighbourhood The area across which market rents are compared by rent officers to determine an exceptionally high rent.
Objection A written request for reconsideration made by one of the parties to a rent officer’s registered rent. The case is then remitted to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)
Pre-tenancy determination A Rent Officer determination made in advance of the letting commencing or being renewed.
Protected tenancy Tenancy defined by the Rent Act 1977, superseded by the Housing Act 1988
Redetermination A fresh Rent Officer determination by a different Rent Officer following an appeal
Referred rent The rent payable under the letting on a Housing Benefit referral
Referral An application from a Local Authority for a rent officer determination for housing benefit purposes.
Re-referral An application made by the Local Authority for a fresh rent officer determination (after 52 weeks).
Register of fair rents A statutory public register listing all registered rents hosted on gov.uk
Registration area The original administrative areas for registering rents based on Local Authority areas (County and Borough Councils).
Registered rent The amount of rent registered as the maximum lawfully recoverable rent under a tenancy under the Rent Acts
Registered social landlord The general name for housing providers which supply social housing and which are approved and regulated by Government; for example Housing Associations.
Regulated tenancy A protected tenancy which has a registered rent and is let by a private landlord
Relevant time The time when the Local Authority made the referral, or when the tenancy ended if earlier, when the rent officer determination is based.
Rent The consideration paid by the tenant to the landlord for the ability to occupy premises under a lease.
Rent Officer A statutory officer created by the Rent Acts to undertake various statutory functions.
RR1 The form used for an application for a rent to be registered.
RR2 A notification letter to the parties upon the rent officer’s receipt of an application for the registration of rent
RR3 A letter of request for further information by the rent officer to the parties to an application for the registration of a rent.
RR4 A statutory notice of a consultation.
RR5 A statutory notification of the registered rent.
RR103 The form used by a landlord to apply to have the registered rent cancelled.
RR104 The form used by a landlord and tenant to apply jointly to have the registered rent cancelled.
Scarcity A rent officer judgement of the amount by which rents are inflated in the market as a result of an imbalance of supply and demand of comparable rented accommodation.
Secure tenancy A type of Housing Association or Local Authority tenancy.
Services Contractual obligations provided by a landlord under a tenancy, which the tenant would otherwise have to provide for themselves
Security of tenure Protection for tenants afforded by legislation under tenancies
Service charge Service charge is payable by a tenant for services provided by the landlord under the tenancy
Shared ownership A form of tenure where the tenant pays a premium for a discount on the lease
Significantly high rent A rent officer determination for a Housing Benefit referral where the passing rent is above a market rent
Single room rate A rent officer determination of Local Housing Allowance of the amount a landlord might reasonably expect for the letting of a single room in shared accommodation.
Single room rent A rent officer determination for a Housing Benefit referral of the amount a landlord might reasonably expect for the letting of a single room in shared accommodation.
Size and rent determination A rent officer determination for a Housing Benefit referral of an amount of rent for an equivalent dwelling with the appropriate number of rooms under the size criteria
Size criteria A set of regulations in the Rent Officer (Housing Benefit Functions) Order 1997 (as amended) which limits the number of bedrooms and rooms suitable for living in depending on the size of a claimant’s household.
Statutory tenancy A tenancy the terms of which are determined by statute rather than contract
Substitute determination A method of correcting an erroneous Rent Officer determination under a housing benefit referral
Substitute referral A Housing Benefit referral which corrects an error on an earlier referral.
Succession The passing of a tenancy to a new tenant upon death of the former tenant.
Tenancy The holding of a legal interest in Property by a Tenant under a Lease or other Tenancy Agreement (as distinct from a licence).
Tenant's improvements Works, funded or carried out by a tenant, which usually require the landlord's prior approval. Tenant's improvements may have an impact upon the future rent payable by a tenant.
Tenant's representative An agent appointed by the Tenant to represent them.
Tenure The nature of a legal estate.
Transfer A new letting by the same landlord such that the tenant’s protected status is retained.
Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) The appeal body where parties can challenge a decision of the First-tier Tribunal. The case will be heard afresh.
Variable services Services provided under a tenancy where the terms of the tenancy allow the landlord to vary the cost of provision even if the rent is registered
Vicinity Small area within which a rent for a letting is compared with other rents for similar lettings
Withdrawal If an applicant no longer wishes to continue with an application they may apply in writing for it to be withdrawn, and if agreed, the application is discontinued.