A glossary list of definitions for conveyancing terms and abbreviations beginning with ‘S’ can be found below.


SDLT is the abbreviation for Stamp Duty Land Tax.


There are various different types of Search that can be carried out to ensure there are no recorded problems with a property being sold. Some are mandatory and some are optional; further information on the searches available to you will be provided to you when you buy a property.


A person selling a property. Can also be known as a Transferor or Vendor.

Service Charge

A payment required by a Lessor or managing agent to cover the costs of maintaining and running a development (e.g. gardening, decorating or insuring a block of flats).

Shared Equity

Shares the same definition as Shared Ownership.

Shared Ownership

A scheme enabling buyers to buy an equity share or part ownership in a property with the aid of a mortgage. The developer/housing association will own the remaining share. This often allows first time buyers to gain access to the property market even when they cannot afford a mortgage for the whole property value. The developer/housing association will usually receive annual rent in return for their share held in the property. The developer/housing association would be entitled to their share of the equity of the property in the event it is sold at a later date.

Smoke Control Order

An order made by the local authority designating an area to be one in which only smokeless fuels may be burnt (i.e. not coal or wood).

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Can be abbreviated to SDLT. A Stamp Duty Land Tax is a personal tax payable on purchase of property and land over a certain price. SDLT forms must be submitted to the HM Revenue & Customs, along with any payment applicable, within 30 days of Completion or a fine may be issued to the Buyer.


Applies to first time buyers within shared equity property who have the option to increase or ‘top up’ their ownership share percentage in their part-owned, part-rented property until they own 100% of the property.

Standard Conditions of Sale

A form of general conditions created by the Law Society to cover all residential property sales within England and Wales.

Statutory Declaration

A formal statement by the current owner of a property stating details about the property, and witnessed in the presence of a solicitor. Usually these are required to support a claim regarding usage where there is no formal evidence exists within the legal title (for example, a right of way or easement).

Structural Survey

A comprehensive report on the physical state of the property indicating whether the building is structurally sound and listing any major and/or minor defects together with any recommendations of works that may be required. Generally this will be the most detailed type of report you could obtain for a property.

Subject to contract

A phrase used to indicate the property transaction has not yet exchanged contracts.


Where a property moves due to inadequate foundations or severe change to the underlying ground. This results in instability in the structure of a building often evidenced by cracks in walls.


A report on the physical state of a Property which may raise concerns or problems with the property’s construction or condition. There are different types of survey such as Valuation Survey, Homebuyer Survey and Full Structural Survey.