Author : Jenny Fu
The UK Government has released a new updated version of the How to Rent guide. All private landlords must serve this updated version of the guide at the start of a tenancy, or when an existing tenancy is renewed.
The How to Rent guide is an online government document that offers advice to all tenants (current and prospective) on the rental process in the country. The How to Rent guide educates tenants about the legal obligations of the landlords and the tenant's rights and responsibilities.
It was some eight years ago that the How to Rent guide was introduced. Since then, the rules make it mandatory for landlords in England to provide the latest version of How to Rent: a checklist for Renting in England to their tenants. It must be provided when the first tenancy starts. Tenants must also be provided the guide on tenancy renewal if the guide's contents have been updated in the intervening period.
The guide forms part of the prescribed information landlords must issue to their tenants. If a landlord fails to issue the How to Rent Guide to their tenants, the landlord cannot implement the right to end a tenancy using Section 21 of The Housing Act 1988.
The guide has been updated to include some recent legal changes. These are
Carbon monoxide alarms must be fitted in every room with a fixed fuel-burning appliance.
EICRs must be provided to the tenants.
Tenants must be provided with smart meters.
The duty to provide tenants with smart meters may be somewhat problematic with utility companies still struggling to roll out the national upgrade. There is also the issue that many landlords have their smart meters locked away in meter cupboards which are not readily accessible to tenants in any event.
There is also a section in the guide on ensuring the property has been made convenient for disabled persons if the new tenant is moving in with a disability.
The guide also includes other minor revisions, such as changes to the Code of Practice on the Right to Rent Civil Penalty Scheme for landlords and their agents.
The previous version of the How to Rent guide was issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government on 21st July 2021. Here is a timeline of the updates issued to the How to Rent Guide over the years.
1. 10 June 2014 How to Rent guide first published.
2. 25 September 2014 Updated.
3. 1 October 2015 Updated.
4. 1 February 2016 Updated.
5. 17 January 2018 Removed reference to the 'London Rental Standard' in the renting 'Direct from the landlord' section.
6. 26 June 2018 Updated.
7. July 2018 The title of the guide was amended to How to rent: the checklist for renting in England added.
8. 31 May 2019 Updated following the Tenant Fees Act 2019/9.
9. 10 December 2020 Updated to include COVID-19, Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, and Tenant Fees Act.
Most agents don’t send hard copies of the How to Rent Guide to the tenants. Generally, they have it loaded into their IT systems and databases. This ensures that the guide is emailed out to tenants.
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