There is a new version of the MHCLG ‘How to Rent Guide’ out (apparently updated on 6 July 2018). Though according to MHCLG it dates from 26 June 2018. This is because there was a bit of a mess up with the previous version. (Update. During the course of this afternoon, after this post and others making a fuss, MHCLG have updated the page to show it was changed on 6 July, but not explained any of the things set out below.)
Our thanks to London Property Licensing (@lplicensing ) for spotting the previous problem and apparently causing the correction.
In short, the original 26 June 2018 guide was entitled “How to… Rent A guide for current and prospective tenants in the private rented sector in England” – which is a change from the previous “How to rent: The checklist for renting in England”. All well and good except that the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 are very precise on the ‘prescribed information’. The Regs refer to a “document entitled ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’, as published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, that has effect for the time being”.
There is obviously a risk that the re-titled How To Rent guide would be found not to be the guide required under the regulations.
So, the Guide has today been re-titled so that it is once again “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England”. The only problem is that the MHCLG page insists that this is the Guide from 26 June. It isn’t. What they should be saying is that anyone who provided a copy of the How to Rent Guide between 26 June 2018 and today should immediate provide a new copy of the version now up on the MHCLG site (because there is the risk that the original 26 June version would be found not to meet the requirements of the Regulations).
Also changed was a sub heading on page 6 that previously stated that landlords ‘must also provide you with’ a record of any electrical inspections. This was, for now, wrong in law, and has been changed to say ‘should provide you with’. Or at least it has in the PDF version. The HTML version still has ‘must’. So now the PDF and HTML versions are different…
New version and all the previous versions are on our ‘How to Rent’ archive page.
For a possible further hitch involving the AST regs, and the DCLG being no more (as it is now published by MHCLG), see this article. I’m not sure how far that goes, but it is another instance of the problems with overly specific regulations (as the AST Regs also have this big hitch come 1 October 2018).