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Short Message Service. Commonly known as text messages.


A request or enquiry for information concerning the property held by a local authority or by the Land Registry.


A property that is joined to one other house.

Service charge

See maintenance charge.

Share of freehold

Where the freehold on which the property stands is owned by a limited company and the shareholders of that limited company are the owners of the property.

Short let

A short let is a property which is typically let for a period of less than six months (subject to local authority restrictions). When renting a property on a short let basis, all utility bills are included in the rent (excluding telecommunications services).

Sitting Tenant

A person occupying a property who is legally protected against being removed.

Sole agent

When a seller chooses only one estate agent to sell their property.

Sole occupancy

A property that is occupied (lived in) only by the mortgage applicant(s) and their direct family.


Legal expert handling all documentation for the sale or purchase of a property.

Stamp duty

A tax paid by purchasers of between 1% and 4% depending on the value of the property.

Standard variable rate

Mortgage lender’s standard rate of interest, which may be increased or decreased periodically by the lender depending on prevailing economic conditions.

Structural survey

This is based on a detailed inspection of the property and reports on the general structural condition.

Studio flat

A flat consisting of one main room or open-plan living area, incorporating both cooking, living and sleeping facilities usually with a separate bathroom/shower room.

Subject to contract

Words which confirm that an agreement is not yet legally binding.


A professional person qualified to estimate the value of land and property.


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