This content applies to

EEA nationals

The EEA is the European Economic Area. Citizens of the following countries are EEA nationals: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland (not actually part of the EU or EEA, but linked to the EU by an agreement), United Kingdom. From 1 May 2011, also nationals of the former A8 countries ie Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Eligible children

Young people still in care, aged 16 and 17, who have been looked after by social services for (a total of) at least 13 weeks from the age of 14.

Eligibility for assistance

To qualify for help under the homelessness legislation or to be entitled to housing benefit, an applicant must be eligible for assistance. Eligibility for assistance is dependent upon the applicant’s immigration status, or her/his right of residence in the UK (for EEA nationals) or whether s/he is habitually resident in the UK. Many EEA nationals (eg workers) are automatically treated as eligible for assistance.

Emergency accommodation

Housing that can be accessed very quickly, such as bed and breakfast, hotels or hostels. Local authorities often provide emergency accommodation to homeless applicants while enquiries are made into whether any further help should be provided.


A premium paid to an insurance company, which is invested to pay off a mortgage at the end of the term.

Enforcement notices

The local authority can issue an enforcement notice where there is a breach of planning permission. An enforcement notice would contain the details of the breach and the required steps that are needed to be taken to ensure that the breach is remedied. Failure to comply with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence, and the planning authority has the power to enter the land to take steps to enforce the notice.

Environmental health

The local authority department with responsibility to protect public health and the environment. It can address problems such as pollution, noise, infestations, overcrowding, and serious disrepair. It is responsible for assessing housing conditions under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, licensing HMOs and statutory nuisance inspections under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.


The difference between the market value and the unpaid mortgage balance on a property.


Promissory estoppel is a legal principle that prevents a person from going back on her/his word or promise where the person to whom the promise was made has relied on that promise and acted upon it.

European Convention of Human Rights 1950

The Convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe, such as the right to life, to respect for private and family life and the home, prohibition of torture and discrimination, etc. It was implemented in the UK by the Human Rights Act 1988. The Convention established the European Court of Human Rights. People who believe their rights under the convention have been violated can ask the domestic court to make a declaration of incompatibility and/or take a case to the European court.

Evidence in chief

A way in which a freeholder can go to court to evict a leaseholder if s/he breaks a condition of the lease, such as not paying the ground rent or service charges.

Ex parte

Ex parte refers to proceedings conducted when one party is absent. This also known as ‘without notice’ proceedings. For example, a court can conduct a hearing and make an order for possession even if the tenant does not attend the hearing.

Ex proprio motu

When the court does something, like continue a case, of its own accord without being asked by the parties involved.

Exceptional leave to remain

An immigration status which is no longer awarded. Prior to 1 April 2003, people whose applications for refugee status had been refused could be granted exceptional leave to remain due to personal circumstances or circumstances in a particular country at that time. This status has been replaced with ‘humanitarian protection’ and ‘discretionary leave’.

Exchange of contracts

When the seller and buyer of a property exchange contracts and the sale becomes legally binding. No changes can be made to the condition of the sale after contracts are exchanged unless both the buyer and seller agree, and neither side can pull out of the sale without financial penalty.

Excluded occupier

Previously known as a 'Mareva' injunction, a form of interim injunction, available in the High Court, restraining a party in proceedings from removing or otherwise dealing with assets located within the jurisdiction of the court.

Exclusion order

A court order suspending a person's right to occupy a matrimonial or family home.

Exclusive possession

The right of a tenant to exercise full control over premises and to stop other people from entering without permission. Whether or not an occupier has exclusive possession is one of the deciding factors in whether s/he is a tenant or a licensee. This is sometimes referred to as exclusive occupation.

Execution of service

A document in which a solicitor or court officer, who is required to serve a writ/summons on another person, certifies that s/he has done so.

Exemplary damages

Damages awarded by the court when the defendant's acts were malicious, violent, oppressive, fraudulent, wanton, or grossly reckless. These damages are punitive and will exceed the amount required to compensate the claimant for loss or injury suffered.

Express term

A term in a contract agreed upon by the landlord and tenant, either orally or in writing.