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Housing Jargon Busters


When it comes to housing and contracts in any circumstance, some terms are thrown around in letters, phone calls, and in person. For this reason, we have put together a jargon buster for those who may not understand the ins and outs of getting a tenancy when homeless. It will also be useful for those who have received post informing them of a development in their application but do not know what they are trying to say.


Assured Shorthold Tenancy – a contract between tenant and landlord for a fixed period, usually 6 or 12 months.

Allocations – The process of a landlord choosing who can move into the property.

Allocations Policy – The rules that the landlord sticks to for allocations.

Choice Based Lettings – Applicants bid for the properties that they chose.

Code of Conduct – The guidelines stating the expectations on landlords, tenants, and applicants to behave in a certain way and how to do this.

Data Protection/Data Protection Act – Anyone that holds information about you must look after it and they must show it to you on request.

Decent Homes Standard – A target to get all social housing homes into good quality accommodation.

Disability Discrimination Act – Provides for the equal access of people who are disabled without discrimination.

Equal Opportunities – This means treating all people equally, and not being prejudiced or discriminating against someone because of their ethnic origin, religion, sexuality, disability, gender or age.


Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay


Foyer - Accommodation for young homeless people. As well as housing they provide training and educations as well as life skills.

HMOs - Houses in Multiple Occupation – A property that is shared by unrelated people.

Hostel - Hostels provide temporary accommodation for the homeless.

Housing Association (HA) – Housing for low income people or families and those with particular needs.

Housing Benefit – Money paid to the landlord on behalf of the tenant.

Housing Officer – Works with the tenants to manage cases and participation.

Independent Housing Ombudsman (IHO) – Investigate complaints about housing associations.

Introductory Tenancies/ Starter Tenancy – A tenancy that lasts for one year which changes to a secure tenancy if the tenant upholds their responsibilities.

Joint Tenancy – More than one person live in the property.

Local Housing Company (LHC) – A not for profit company set up to manage homes.

LSP - Local Strategic Partnership – A body that brings together local organisations to get them to work together.

Monitoring – Checking that everything works as it should.

Management Committee – Those who make sure everyone follows the rules.

NCVO - National Council for Voluntary Organisations – Works with charities and organisations to give advice and guidance.

Needs Allowance – How much the government says a person needs to live on each week.



Neighbourhood Management – Joins up local services to make them more useful to you.

Neighbourhood Warden/ Street Warden – Works closely with the local police to make sure the area is safe and clean.

NHF National Housing Federation – Makes guidelines for housing associations.

Not for Profit – A charity that does not make any profit.

Possession Order - A legal document obtained from a magistrates court by a landlord to gain possession of a property from a tenant.

Quiet Enjoyment – All tenants have the right to be undisturbed by their landlord apart from repairs and inspections which must be prearranged.

Rent Money – Money paid to the landlord weekly or monthly.

Rent Arrears – Falling behind on the money that you need to give to the landlord.

Registered Charity – A registered organisation with charitable aims and objectives.

RSL - Registered Social Landlord – A social landlord who is registered.

Scrutiny Committee/ Scrutiny Panel – A group that scrutinises decisions to make sure they are fair.

Service Delivery – How the service works in reality.

Shared Housing – Private bedrooms but share some rooms like bathroom or kitchen.

Sheltered Housing – For individuals who need help in emergencies.

Short Life Housing – A property that is only for a short time until a long term home is found.

Social Exclusion – Government wording for those who live in the worst housing estates.

Service Charge – Money that needs to be paid towards services (cleaning in shared hallways).

Social Housing – Cheaper housing when compared to the local housing market.

Social Landlord - Provider of social housing such as a local authority or registered social landlord.

Tenancy Agreement – A contract between the tenant and landlord that lets everyone know what is expected of them.

Tenant – Person who lives in a property.

Supported Housing – Housing with paid staff to support the tenants care needs.

Tenant Satisfaction Surveys – A form that asks how satisfied the service user is with the service.

Tenant’s Handbook - Book with the important information given to new tenants.

Voids – Properties that are waiting for someone to move into.

Warden/Warden Controlled – Paid staff within the building look after those with specific care needs.


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