All you need to know about

Jargon Buster Guide

Here’s our handy guide to help bust the industry jargon for good!


Rights to dispose of a leasehold interest in land or property are described as alienation provisions. Usually, a lease on a commercial building will permit assignment or subletting but dependent upon a raft of conditions being satisfied.


The transfer of a lease from one party to the other. Once a lease has been assigned, the assignee becomes responsible to the landlord for paying the rent and fulfilling the other obligations of the lease. However, in the event of default, the landlord may be able to require the assignor to pay the rent.

Authorised guarantee agreement (AGA)

A common requirement on granting a lease. The tenant gives an AGA if it assigns the lease, guaranteeing the assignee’s performance of the lease obligations given to the landlord.

Break clause

A clause in a lease giving either or both parties the right to terminate a lease in specified circumstances.

Brownfield land

Previously developed land.

Business rates

The way in which businesses and other occupiers of non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local authority services. The VOA is responsible for assessing the rateable value of all non-domestic and business property in England and Wales. In broad terms, the rateable value is a professional view of the annual rent for a property if it was available on the open market on a set date. All current rateable values are based on a valuation date of 1st April 2017.

Local councils use the rateable value, in conjunction with a factor called the multiplier, to calculate the basic business rates liability for each property, before applying any discounts or reliefs. Local councils are responsible for sending out the bills and collecting the rates payable. Rateable values are reassessed, or revalued, every five years, bringing them into line with current market values.

Capital value

The value of an asset, freehold or leasehold, as distinct from its annual or rental value.


The word is used in two senses: First, in the strict legal sense, it refers to a clause in the lease requiring the tenant (or landlord) to do something or to refrain from doing something. Second, it is used in the wider sense to denote the worth of a tenant and hence the risk of default, which will have a bearing on the value of the lease.

Demised premises

Premises which are the subject of a lease.


This term principally covers proceedings whereby a landlord, by service of a ‘schedule of dilapidations’ seeks either to enforce a tenant’s repairing obligations under a lease of business premises or claims compensation for lack of repair by the tenant at the end of the lease term.

Equivalent yield

The yield worked out on a discounted cash flow basis, considering initial and reversionary yields.


One holding an estate in “fee simple absolute in possession”.

FRI lease

A Full Repairing and Insuring lease where the costs of all repairs and insurance are borne by the tenant.

GIA (gross internal area)

The GIA refers to the total area within the perimeter walls of a property and makes no allowance for the space occupied by staircases, walls, WCs etc. This measurement is the standard measurement given for industrial property.

Greenfield land

Undeveloped land.

Ground lease

A lease of the land only. Usually, the land is leased for a relatively long period of time to a tenant that constructs a building on the property. A land lease separates ownership of the land from ownership of buildings and improvements constructed on the land.

Headline rent

The rent apparently being paid, which may not take account of concessions such as rent-free periods.


A unit of rateable occupation for rateable value purposes.


The regular adjustment of a rent in accordance with a specified index, eg the Retail Price Index.

Initial yield – gross

The immediate investment yield received by a property purchaser – i.e. rent as a percentage of purchase price, without allowing for any purchase costs incurred such as legal, agents and valuation fees, bank fees and Stamp Duty.

Initial yield – net

The yield available to the purchaser after taking into account purchasers costs detailed above.

Internal repairing (IR) lease

Under this type of lease, the landlord retains responsibility for structural and external repairs without reimbursement. The tenant’s only responsibility is for repairing the inside of the let premises and contributing towards the maintenance of any common parts via a traditional service charge.

Investment yield

Annual rent passing as a percentage of the capital value.


A contractually binding agreement that grants a right to exclusive possession or use of property, usually in return for a periodic payment called rent.

Managed office space

A hybrid of serviced office space and conventional office space, fully managed by outside companies. It offers highly equipped office space on flexible terms.

Mezzanine floor

Is an intermediate floor that can be installed post construction, height permitting, to provide additional storage /office space.

NIA (net internal area)

The NIA is defined as the usable space within the perimeter walls of a property. It excludes areas such as the WCs, space occupied by solid dividing walls, staircases etc. NIA is the standard figured quoted for office space.

Purchaser’s costs

These costs include Stamp Duty Land Tax, legal and agency fees, and survey charges. They are traditionally calculated at 5.7625% of the purchase price, on the assumption that the property has a value in excess of £500,000.

Rent review

Leases generally contain clauses providing for a periodical review of the rent, say at five yearly intervals. The lease will generally specify the basis of review, which may be to Market Value or by reference to an artificial means like the Retail Price Index (RPI).

Rent review (market value vs indexed-linked)

Reviews to ‘market value’ are the most common form of rent review for commercial leases. Indexed-linked reviews are where the rent review is linked to an index, typically the Retail Price Index (RPI). Indexed-linked reviews are often used a substitute for market value in an attempt to keep the rent in line with market value, although such indices (i.e. RPI) bare no relation to property values. Indexes are mainly used for properties where there is little or no comparable evidence and can often lead to a reviewed rent being either grossly inflated or undervalued if adopted over a lengthy period of time.

Restrictive covenant

A covenant in a lease restricting the tenant in some respect, eg a covenant in a shop lease providing that only a particular type of trade may be carried out at the premises.

Reverse premium

On assignment, the payment of a sum of money by the assignor to the assignee e.g. a sum of money to reflect the unfavourable lease terms, eg where there is over-renting.

Reversionary yield

The yield the purchaser should be likely to receive on the purchase price following a rent increase or a rent review to an already agreed or assumed market rent.

Service charge

The amount a tenant pays for services his landlord provides e.g. when the building is let to multiple tenants it will cover common parts and the exterior.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

Tax payable to the Government, which is calculated on the purchase price of a property. For commercial properties up to £150,000 there is no SDLT, for properties between £150,001 and £250,000 the SDLT is charged at 2% and for properties above £250,001 the SDLT is calculated at 5%.


Where the tenant lets part or all of the premises to a subtenant, as permitted by the terms of the lease. It differs from assignment in that the head lessee remains responsible to the landlord for the payment of rent and fulfilment of other obligations.


The coming or bringing to an end of a lease, by mutual agreement, by the effluxion of time, or by the exercise of a right of one of the parties.

Use classes

The Town & Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 puts uses of land and buildings into various categories. A use class is a grouping together of similar land uses.

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