• An updated ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England guide’ has been released by the Government. Landlords of residential properties in England must serve this version at the start of any new tenancy or renewal (when a statutory periodic tenancy). This new edition was rolled out on 24 March 2023.

    Rules were brought in eight years ago making it mandatory for landlords in England to provide the latest version of the ‘How to Rent’ guide to their tenants when the first tenancy starts and on renewal if there has been an update to the contents of the guide.

    It forms part of the prescribed information landlords must issue, and if they do not, they lose the right to repossess using the Section 21 notice.

    The guide has been updated to reflect some recent changes, including the requirement for carbon monoxide alarms to be fitted in every room with a fixed fuel burning appliance. The guide has also been updated to reflect that Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs) must be provided to the tenants. It also contains information on fitting smart meters and there is a section in the guide on ensuring the property is suitable if you have a disability.

    As mentioned above, the importance of using the correct version of the ‘How to Rent’ guide is connected to the serving of a valid Section 21 notice to seek possession of premises let under an assured shorthold tenancy on or after 1 October 2015. The ‘How to Rent’ guide (current at the time) must be served on a tenant (amongst other statutory requirements) before a Section 21 notice can be served. If a landlord (or their agent) fails to do so, the Section 21 notice will not be valid and the ‘How to Rent’ guide will need to be provided to the tenant before a new Section 21 notice is served, causing a delay before possession proceedings can commence.

    The version of the ‘How to Rent’ guide to be served is that which has effect for the time being, e.g. the one in force at the time it is served.

    The guide may be provided to the tenant/s by hard paper copy; or by email, where the tenant has notified the landlord, or their agent, of an email address at which the tenant is happy to accept service of notices and other documents given in connection with the tenancy.

    If the ‘How to Rent’ guide is amended during the tenancy period there is no requirement to serve the new version immediately on the existing tenant, but where a written renewal of the tenancy is made between the same landlord and the same tenant for substantially the same premises, another copy of the ‘How to Rent’ guide only needs to be provided, if the guide has changed since the previous tenancy and previous version supplied to the tenant.

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    This content is correct at time of publication

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