‘How to rent’ Guide updated – important for all PRS landlords and tenants

A quick note to highlight that the MHCLG ‘How to rent’ booklet was updated on 17 January 2018. Apparently this was just to remove references to the ‘London Rental Standard’. However, this is still important.

For all new assured shorthold tenancies, the current How to Rent booklet must be provided to the tenant for any subsequent s.21 notice to be valid.  For any new ‘renewal’ tenancies, the How to Rent booklet does not need to be provided again unless it has been updated in the meantime. If it has been updated, the current version must be provided, otherwise a subsequent s.21 notice is not valid. See our section 21 flowchart for more detail on this.

The booklet and date has been added to the archive page here.

Landlords and agents need to get this right. For tenants and tenant advisors, check the edition of the booklet (hence the archive copies on this site).

It is very unlikely that this will be the last change this year. Keep an eye open for further updates

 

About Giles Peaker

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts, and still is Nearly Legal on Google +.
Posted in Assured Shorthold tenancy, Housing law - All, Possession and tagged .

25 Comments

  1. My tenant appreciated having his rent increased a little extra to account for my printing and delivery of this twaddle.

    Those who drafted it decided to put as much colour in the page backgrounds so as to spill an entire ink cartridge onto the paper. Goodbye environment.

    The legislators really want us to to spend time dealing with tripe, instead of offering a great, safe cost-effective service to our customers.

    Per Oliver Wendell Holmes — “Lawyers (and politicians) spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke.”
    While the rest of us suffer the consequences.

    • You do realise that this is about the only required document that can be provided electronically? You can email a PDF and that is fine.

  2. Not really. Firstly it would be a foolhardy landlord who served it by email. Second that can only be done if tenant and landlord agree that email is ok for service. And it would be an even more foolish landlord that agreed to that.

    Agree totally in the “tripe” and the harm to landlord and tenant
    is lawyers

  3. As you say Abel, twaddle, tripe and nonsense. The legal profession and the government are dragging us into their world of time wasting paper shuffling. Are they actually naïve enough to believe that tenants bother to read this booklet?

    • I’ve had enough of this tripe. The lawyers (generally and specifically) were complaining about the needless complexity of this even when the then Deregulation Bill was going through, and then again when the Regulations were issued. Search back on this site and you’ll find me raising it and complaining about it at the time, for instance. The ‘How to Rent’ booklet requirements were and are a wholly recipe for causing unnecessary and unintentional errors, and that is wholly the fault of the DCLG (as was).

      But instead, you come to a site run for free by a lawyer, to read a post providing you with vital information that was written by a lawyer, for free, and you (John, Barbara, Abel) proceed to talk crap about this being the fault of the lawyers. I can only presume this is because you are lazy, careless and thoughtless.

  4. I’m yet to meet a tenant who can remember whether or not they received a How to Rent booklet, let alone the other gumpf, sorry I mean prescribed information.

  5. What would the requirment be if the tenancy was not renewed and left on a periodic tenancy/currently on one?

    • Not a solicitor, but my take on this is that periodic is a “new tenancy” so booklet needs to be reissued if updated.

    • The statutory periodic counts as a ‘replacement tenancy’ under s.21(7) Housing Act 1988, so the same requirement would arise when the statutory periodic tenancy is created.

    • I am not trying to waste time by asking a further point, however thanks for the answers so far. You mention when the ‘periodic’ tenancy is created. However what about if it already is a periodic tenancy what then?

    • Already periodic when what?

      The new handbook (if there is one) only has to be provided at the start of a replacement tenancy. If a new handbook comes out during the course of a tenancy, it does not have to be provided then.

    • My understanding was that a after the fixed term ends a periodic tenancy starts and another one ‘periodic’ technically starts again every month if payment was due every month

      Eg if a tenancy that started in summer of october 2015 has been on a periodic since say last summer what document would need to be served the Jan 2018 or the april 16 one?

    • So in this case it would be the april 2016 document. Thanks for clearing it all up.

  6. “Search back on this site and you’ll find me raising it and complaining about it at the time, for instance.”

    OK;

    “By Giles Peaker | Published 14/09/2015

    But it is the ‘How to rent’ booklet provisions that seem most likely to cause long term chaos to me. The expectation that landlord (and agents) will check before the start of each replacement tenancy to see if the booklet has been updated since, oh, a year ago, strikes me as hopelessly optimistic.”

    A complaint in the strongest terms! That will have made those desk Johnnies at DCLG (as was), sit up and take notice.

    “But instead, you come to a site run for free by a lawyer, to read a post providing you with vital information that was written by a lawyer, for free”

    I’m filling up here, all this vital free stuff with no thought whatsoever of commercial gain.
    It warms my cockles no end.

    • Hi Chubby. Key people at DCLG (now MHCLG) read this blog. If we point out that something makes no practical or legal sense, then they see that. They may or may not do anything about it, but they read it.

      You, on the other hand, have done nothing. You can’t even criticise without looking like an entitled pillock. ‘Why haven’t been doing things on my behalf in exactly the way I want them done even though I can’t be arsed to do it myself?’ you cry, because someone else must be to blame.

      As it is my site, I think you can leave now.

  7. I can’t see why landlords don’t check. It seems to me that if landlords, of which i am one (a good one I hope), can’t be bothered to keep themselves updated with this information, then perhaps they are in the wrong business, and shouldn’t be allowed to serve s21 notices. With respect Giles, landlords don’t actually have to do a great deal, and it isn’t difficult. Presumably the purpose of having to serve the up to date booklet is to ensure tenants are aware of their new rights if changes are made to the law. I think that does serve a purpose. I’m not sure how else it could be done?

    • The booklet serves a purpose. The mechanism is ridiculous. What not just say ‘provide the latest edition on each tenancy renewal’? That would serve the same purpose. Why impose this ridiculous burden of ‘not having to unless it has been updated in the meantime’, which simply invites mistakes?

  8. Agreed it could be better drafted. Easily remedied as an issue by serving one anyway direct from the site at the commencement of each tenancy and at each renewal regardless but that means landlords having to think about it I guess. I feel though the issue is more one of a poor culture amongst some landlord who don’t take the obligations of being a landlord seriously enough, and of course a lack of enforcement of current regs anyway. Thanks for the site, very helpful.

  9. I agree Pete H, there are too many have-a-go landlords who bought a second home (or two), take money from people and expect them to leave when they go round to change the locks. If a landlord can’t be bothered to look up the regulations then what hope do we have for them following the legalities of them!

  10. Has there been any cases ( won or Lost ) where the Wrong version of H2R was served, or only one version served at start of Fixed term and an updated version Not served when Tenancy went Periodic ?

  11. Hi Giles,
    A question, You state
    “The statutory periodic counts as a ‘replacement tenancy’ under s.21(7) Housing Act 1988”
    Is that based on anything other than a straight forward reading of s.21(7)? I can see an SPT is not excluded from being a ‘replacement tenancy’ but cannot find anything to point me to say it is for certain.
    Thanks for this excellent resource.

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