Landlords could be stopped from going ahead with a no reason eviction because the government is failing to tell them when a statutory guide they must give to tenants is updated.

Housing law demands that landlords supply the latest copy of the How To Rent guide at the start of a tenancy.

If they don’t provide the guide, the landlord cannot ask a tenant to leave with a Section 21 no reason eviction.

But lawyers have spotted that the government is making changes to the guide without logging the amendments on the web site, so no one knows which version of the document is the latest.

The web site had said the last amendment was on May 31 but has just been updated to say 7 August 2019, so any landlord downloading a copy on that date to give to a tenant is passing on an out-of-date document.

The guide is clearly marked ‘May 2019’ but was updated on June 3 and July 29, says property lawyer Giles Peaker of Anthony Gold Solicitors.

The first change altered a link on page 5 from ‘NALS’ to ‘SafeAgent’, while the second amended the wording on page 4 from ‘If you don’t have a guarantor, you can ask Shelter for help.’ to ‘…for advice.’

“ This really should not happen. While the changes are relatively minor tweaks, they are changes nonetheless,” said Giles Peaker.

“And as the statutory requirement is for the tenant to be provided with the version of the guide current at the time, silent changes obviously present problems – how many landlords and agents will be using the original 31 May version without knowing it has since been changed?

“While I would imagine a court would give a certain leeway in the circumstances, should it be raised, this is not an issue that should have arisen in the first place.”

Our Tenancy Builder has been updated with the current version of the How to Rent Guide.