The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has published new ‘how to’ guides including the How to Rent Guide which must be provided to all new or renewing tenants in England.
Four ‘how to’ guides have been published:
The guides only apply to England.
How to rent
The guide must be provided to all new assured shorthold tenancies and renewals from 26 June 2018.
This is the second version this year and replaces the one published in January.
It’s quite a bit different in its style which now matches the other guides also published at the same time.
The guide is now in A4 size (before it was A5) so is now effectively more pages (with the previous guides we consolidated by putting two pages onto one A4 page).
After a bit of lobbying, the Guild finally has a mention in the guide! They regularly ask us for feedback on content which we duly reply to. They often used our suggestions so it was only fair we are also listed as a landlord association in our view.
There appears to be just one error that we’ve seen in the guide. It says that a “landlord must also provide [to a tenant] … A record of any electrical inspections.” This is not correct. If a property is an HMO, it must have an electrical inspection every 5 years but there’s no requirement to then provide the report to the tenant.
Otherwise, like other versions of the guide, it is quite informative and accurate (without being too legalistic). It is also quite fairly balanced in that tenant obligations are also set out just like landlord obligations are.
Our Tenancy Builder has been updated and includes this current version of the guide. If you have already prepared a draft agreement with the old guide, when you go back and edit the agreement to send you a non draft version, the new guide will be inserted.
Remember this guide must be provided to all new and renewing tenants. A failure to do so means a section 21 notice cannot be served until the guide has been provided. Giving it at the commencement of the tenancy is best because you can get the tenant to sign that it’s been received.
How to rent a safe home
This guide does not have to be given to tenants under any legislation.
It provides useful guidance in particular for prospective tenants on what to look for when deciding to take a home and in particular, looking out for safety.
The guide shows a sample gas safety record as well as information about electrics, smoke alarms and CO alarms.
How to let
The how to let guide is suitable for landlords and in particular prospective landlords intending to rent for the first time.
It has a good clear outline of core responsibilities and things to do.
A very useful guide to quickly summarise the duties of landlord.
How to lease
The how to lease guide is for current and prospective leaseholders in England.
It covers the core basics of leasehold law and is good advice for prospective purchasers and in particular what to look out for.