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What landlords need to know about the latest How to Rent guide (October 2023)

How to rent checklist issued 2 October 2023

This article explains what landlords need to know about the How to Rent guide, how and when to serve it, and why it’s important.

What is the How to Rent guide?

The How to Rent guide is a document published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities for tenants. It sets out the rights and obligations of both renters and landlords, whether or not they use letting agents. It’s a useful guide and explains their rights and responsibilities while they rent, and how the tenancy can be ended.

What’s the latest version of the last How to Rent guide?

A new version came out on 2 October 2023. Click here to download the October 2023 version of the How to Rent guide. This is the latest version.

When must landlords serve the guide?

Landlords must serve a copy of the latest How to Rent guide on their tenants before their tenancy starts. The guide also must be given to tenants when a tenancy is ‘renewed’. This means when the renters enter into another fixed term, or a fixed term becomes a statutory periodic tenancy.

Also, it’s good practice to provide it if the checklist is updated during a periodic tenancy. Click here for an explanation of periodic tenancies.

Why is the How to Rent guide important for landlords?

The How to Rent guide is a very important document as landlords (or their agents) must give an up-to-date version to renters at the start of a tenancy. The landlord can provide it to the renter either as a hard copy or, if the renter agrees, as a PDF by email.

If the renters don’t receive the How to Rent guide at the start or renewal of a tenancy, the landlord can’t serve a Section 21 Notice. However, it can be provided to the renters late, so long as it’s before the service of Section 21 notice.

What can landlords do to ensure they serve the right version?

The How to Rent guide is regularly updated and has had 15 editions since it was first published in 2014. The best way to make sure that the landlord (or agent ) serves the right edition is by checking this page on the government website for the latest version. It’s possible to look up the updates to see if it has changed since the tenant first signed their tenancy agreement.

Do keep a record of when you’ve sent new editions to your tenants so you have an audit trail in case you wish to serve a Section 21 notice. It’s best to ask them to sign a document to confirm receipt, but an acknowledgement by email is fine as well.

>> Related Post: How to serve a valid Section 21 no fault eviction notice

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