Landlords, did you know that on June 26th 2018 the Government published an updated How to Rent guide? In addition to this there are three housing guides comprising of four in total:-

  • How to Rent
  • How to Rent a Safe Home (supplementing How to Rent)
  • How to Let
  • How to Lease

Let’s take a look at what the changes mean to you.

How to Rent

How to RentThis is primarily aimed at tenants in the private rental sector who are renting or are about to rent a property on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) basis. You must provide a copy of the latest version of the How to Rent guide to your tenant at the beginning of the tenancy. Failure to provide the tenant with a copy could restrict your ability to serve a Section 21 notice terminating an AST.

The purpose of the How to Rent guide is to help tenants understand their rights and responsibilities. Some of the contents include:-

  • Pre-rental considerations such as budget, location, right to rent and guarantor requirements. There are also ways to rent, deposit protection, length of tenancy, safety, furnishings and bills.
  • Documentation – documents that the landlord must provide to the tenant are How to Rent guide, a gas safety certificate, deposit paperwork, electrical performance certificate (EPC) and records of electrical inspections. Details of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors must also be outlined.

How to Rent a Safe Home (supplementing How to Rent)

This guide supplements the How to Rent guide. As a landlord you have to provide this to current or prospective tenants to outline potential hazards which can occur in residential properties. It explains common and dangerous hazards, when and how to report them to the landlord.

The guide sets out the landlord’s duties in terms of safety and the responsibility for repairs.

How to Let

The How to Let guide is for present and prospective landlords in England letting to tenants on an AST basis. It sets out your legal responsibilities such as protecting deposits in a tenancy deposit scheme. The guide also covers factors like legality letting as well as regulations concerning letting agents. Sections include the Agreed Terms of Tenancy along with steps to be taken at the end of the tenancy.

How to Lease

This info is meant for leasehold occupiers or prospective purchasers in England. It explains what a long leaseholder is and outlines the difference between a leaseholder and a freeholder. The guide also focuses on steps required to purchase a leasehold and additional costs to consider for instance, ground rent, service charges or reserve funds.

To sum up

For clarity to the recent Government How to Rent guide changes, check out the relevant guides online. Landlords entering into tenancies will have to give this new version to their tenants without delay or they are leaving themselves at risk. A Section 21 notice is not valid unless the correct How to Rent guide has been provided to the tenant. This applies whether it’s a new tenancy or a renewal.

Don’t panic, tenants who are currently in a fixed term do not need to be given a replacement of a How to Rent guide. Keep your eyes peeled for further updates involving the introduction of banning orders for landlords, the rogue landlord database and legislation on fitness for human habitation. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss these guides in a little more detail, feel free to get in touch and our team would be happy to help.