Government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide: are you up-to-date with the changes?

Government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide: are you up-to-date with the changes?

The Government recently published a revised version of their guide ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’. The guide is part of the ‘prescribed information’ required to be given by a landlord to their tenant at the start of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). A landlord must supply the ‘current version’ of the guide to their tenants, either as a printed copy or if the tenant agrees by email as a pdf attachment.

On the back of changes to the Tenant Fees Act 2019, the new guide was published on 31 May 2019 and is an update over the last version which was issued mid-last year. It includes a link to the Government’s guidance around restrictions on letting agents and landlords charging tenants certain fees, and details of the new tenancy deposit cap.

The requirement for a landlord to give this ‘prescribed information’ is set out in the Deregulation Act 2015 and has applied to all new ASTs entered into since 1 October 2015. Under Section 21B of the Housing Act 1988 a landlord may not give a valid Section 21 Notice to terminate an AST when the landlord has not complied with this obligation.

While there is no obligation to provide any updated versions of the guide that are made during a tenancy, upon a new statutory continuation tenancy or new fixed term AST a landlord should make sure that the latest version is provided to the tenant.

The prescribed form (Form 6A) Section 21 Housing Act 1988 Notice has also been updated to reflect the Tenant Fees Act 2019 changes.