29 Mar

From alienation to quittance, explaining conveyancing’s most obscure terms

Any lay person – and that’s most of us – can often be bamboozled by the phrases and legal terms using in correspondence with a solicitor. When you’re buying or selling a house, the terms your solicitor will use for conveyancing services may be everyday language for him or her but are likely to send you straight for the dictionary.

Whether it’s quittance for being released from a debt such as a mortgage or chancel repair search relating to ancient Church of England rights, it’s easy to be confused by conveyancing terms.

Here we take a look at seven some of the more unusual expressions you’ll see in correspondence from the solicitor you instruct through Homeward Legal.


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Alienation: The transfer of property ownership from one person to another is referred to alienation.

Chattels: When items such as furniture, electrical items and carpets are included in the purchase price of a house, those items are referred to as chattels.

Easement: This expression refers to the right of way over another person’s land, such as a footpath to access a rear garden.

Engrossment: This is the final version of a document, usually a contract in conveyancing, that is signed by all parties.

Office Copy Documents: HM Land Registry holds the legally permissible documents that detail who owns your property. Your conveyancing solicitor will request the Office Copy of these documents during the conveyancing process.

Quittance: When you are released from debt or another financial obligation, quittance refers to the receipt or document that certifies the release. This can apply when you repay a mortgage on completion of a sale.

Redemption fee: When you sell a property with an outstanding mortgage, your solicitor will request a redemption figure from the lender. On the day of completion, the solicitor will pay the redemption figure from the sale fee.