Importance of How to Rent Guide

Providing tenants with a comprehensive guide is a crucial aspect of the lettings process and an essential step to ensure compliance.

The guide must be shared with tenants in England at the start of their new assured shorthold tenancy.

What does the guide contain?

The guide, issued by the UK Government in March 2023, covers various topics, including:

  • how to search for a new home

  • the necessary steps once a property is found

  • tenant rights and responsibilities during their tenancy

  • the process of terminating the tenancy agreement

This requirement is mandated by the Deregulation Act 2015. Landlords or letting agents can either provide a printed copy of the guide or send it via email with the tenant's consent.

What happens in the event of tenancy renewal?

When renewing or transitioning to a periodic tenancy, there is no need to provide the guide again unless an updated version has been issued since the original tenancy commenced.

Serving the guide at the wrong time

Failure to serve the guide to tenants at the appropriate time, or not providing it at all, can have implications when attempting to evict a tenant using a Section 21 notice.

It is necessary to supply a copy of the How to Rent guide before the tenant moves in, otherwise the notice cannot be served. However, the How to Rent guide process does not affect the issuance of a Section 8 notice.

Staying compliant

To ensure compliance with the How to Rent guide, landlords and letting agents can access the latest version on the UK Government's website, which also records any updates. Checking for changes since the guide was issued, especially during tenancy renewals, is essential. It is also advisable to download the most recent version from the government website and provide it to tenants at the beginning of each new tenancy.

Maintaining a paper or digital trail of documents received by tenants is crucial. Requesting tenants to sign a document acknowledging receipt and keeping track of email communications can help ensure a record of compliance.