Common UK accommodation related terms

Types of property

Term Description
flat or apartment A self-contained unit within a larger building, which could be a house where rooms have been converted into flats, or a purpose-built block. A flat normally comprises a kitchen area, a living area (which may be combined), a separate bathroom and one or more bedrooms. Flats are normally on one level. While each flat has its own secure entrance, entrance to the building is generally shared with other residents. Big old houses are often converted into flats, and sometimes residents have access to a communal garden or even a private outdoor space. Some flats have an allocated parking space but this is not guaranteed.
serviced apartment The Assocation of Serviced Apartment providers states that serviced apartments 'offer facilities much like a traditional hotel but with added space, convenience and privacy like home, so you can enjoy living like a local when travelling. They have private cooking facilities, sometimes a kitchenette but sometimes a full-size kitchen with dishwasher and washing machine, larger living/sleeping areas than most standard rooms, and often having access to gyms, restaurants, meeting space, concierges and other hotel-like services'.
maisonette A flat which is on two levels and which has its own separate entrance from street level. There is no shared indoor space with other residents.
bedsit An abbreviation of 'bed-sitting room'. The sleeping and living areas are combined in one room, normally in a shared house. Basic cooking facilities may be provided, or a kitchen may be shared with other residents. Bathroom facilities are also normally shared with the other residents of the house.
studio flat A studio flat is similar to a bedsit except that the living space is fully self-contained, including cooking facilities and a private bathroom.
flat or house share You will have your own bedroom but all other spaces are normally shared. 
terraced house A row house. An end-of-terrace house shares one wall with the neighbours; a mid-terrace house shares two walls with the neighbours. Normally each terraced house will have its own outdoor space.
semi-detached house A semi-detached house is joined to another house with only one shared wall.
detached house A detached house stands on a self-contained plot with no shared walls. 
link-detached house A link-detached house is mainly detached but is linked to the neighbouring house as some point. This link is typically made where a pair of garages is set between the two houses.
bungalow A house with one or more bedrooms, all on one level. A bungalow can be detached or sem-detached.

In and around the house

Term Description
attic or loft Attic and loft are generally interchangeable terms for the roof space of a house. The loft is normally accessed through a hatch in the ceiling at the top of the staircase. Some houses have a built-in loft ladder which can be pulled down from the open hatch. In other houses, you need to use a step ladder. In some houses, boarded flooring is installled in the loft, making the whole space suitable for storage. Where boarded flooring has not been installed, you need to be very careful where you stand as the floor may not bear your weight.
utility room In many British houses, the washing machine is in the kitchen and there is no basement or cellar. However, some houses have a utility room where there is space for a washing machine and perhaps a tumble dryer. There is often also a second sink with hot and cold running water, which is very useful if you have muddy sports gear, for example. 
yard or courtyard garden A yard or courtyard garden is a small outdoor space normally found at the back of a terraced house. Semi-detached and detached houses usually have a much larger outdoor space known as a garden. A patio is a paved area in a garden, normally right outside the house, which is used for outdoor dining, entertaining or relaxing.
tap Tap (UK) = faucet (US)
central heating and hot water The majority of British homes have gas or oil-fired central heating systems or an electric storage heating system. In most houses, the supply of hot water is regulated by the central heating boiler, although in older houses and some flats, hot water is provided by an electric immersion heater. These systems do not produce boiling water; in order to make a cup of tea, you will need to buy an electric kettle. See our Shopping page.